This is a guest blog post from TheDigitalTutor.com.
How do you “cover the bases” for all of the academic subjects when homeschooling? This is a question that often concerns new homeschooling parents. The public schools create an artificial learning environment, where knowledge is divided into categories called “subjects,” and students study a little bit about each of these subjects every day. Veteran homeschoolers generally agree that this method is incredibly inefficient, and that students learn better and retain more if they study in a more integrated fashion and stay focused on a lesson until they master it, without jumping around from topic to topic. After all, one of the reasons we are homeschooling is because we do not like the results the public schools are producing; so shouldn’t we be wary of replicating their methodologies?
How does learning take place in real life? Let’s say you wanted to teach someone how to build a house. If you use the traditional public school method, this is what it would look like. At 8:00 we would go out and begin surveying the lot. By 9:00 we would have only set up the transit and shot an elevation, but now it’s time to study excavation, so we put away our transit, crank up the bulldozer and spend the next hour pushing dirt around. We don’t know where we should be excavating, but hey, it’s 9:00, so we’re going to excavate! But then at 10:00 it’s time to study foundations, so we shut off the bulldozer, pick a spot, build some forms, and start pouring some concrete. But at 11:00, we have to stop studying foundations and start studying framing, so we go ahead and begin building a floor system – right on top of the wet concrete! Why? Because it’s 11:00 – it’s time to study framing!
Do you see how silly it is to say that the best way to learn is to spend your days studying bits and pieces of disjointed subjects? Don’t do that to your child! Whatever you’re going to teach, stick with one thing until he masters it, then move on to the next thing.
But I have had some parents object and say, “But the law says I must teach Language Arts, and Math, and all these other subjects.” Yes it does, but that does not mean you have to teach them all on the same day! For example, in Georgia, the law states:
|Each school day must consist of four and one-half hours.|
It then goes on to state that parents must provide:
|A basic academic educational program that includes, but is not limited to, reading, language arts, math, social studies, and science.|
So does this mean that each school day must include all of these academic subjects? Certainly not! It only states that the overall academic program must include teaching in each of these subjects. So technically, you can teach your kids anything you want, all year long, and on the last day of your schooling, teach an hour long class in each of these subjects. This would be in compliance with the law! Now I certainly am not suggesting that this is what you should do. I’m merely trying to help you understand that compliance with the law is easy. Give your children a real life education, and you won’t have any trouble complying with the law.
Using a prepared curriculum is a great way to make sure you’ve got the bases covered for the academic subjects. But do not be totally tied to a curriculum! You are HOMESCHOOLING, so there is no schedule you have to keep, your child can work at the speed he is most comfortable maintaining, and you can work on a particular lesson/skill set as long as necessary for him to succeed. We love computers for the grunt work of going over the basics, which is why we developed TheDigitalTutor software. The auto-tutor feature methodically carries your student at his own speed in every subject area, and requires him to complete an entire lesson in one subject before moving on to another subject. It keeps records for you and produces report cards and transcripts so you can both know and prove that the basics are being covered. This can free up your valuable time so you can teach your child the truly important things that can only be taught through your companionship with him.
So don’t make the mistake of trying to bring the school into your home. Help your child change the oil in the car. Plant a garden with him. Paint the bathroom. Visit a dairy farm and milk some cows together. Live an exciting life with your child, and then when you’re busy doing things that cannot include your child, that’s the time when his curriculum can teach him basic academics.
Captain Bret is a film producer and the creator of TheDigitalTutor computerized curriculum. Search “Captain Bret” on YouTube to find his video channel, and visit TheDigitalTutor.com for more information about the Great Teachers of the World.