Saturday, June 28, 2008

No Textbooks!?!?!?

A little over a year ago, a friend was telling me that her daughters were having a hard time with history. "They just don't seem to retain anything," she explained. Then she asked, "What history textbook do you use?" I stopped and thought for a moment. It was a quick moment. However, in that moment, all the resources I use reeled through my head. I then answered, "None." She actually looked shocked. "None!?" I went on to explain that we use the library as our primary resource for history and science. Then the next question came, "How do you know you aren't missing anything?" I answered with another question, "How much do you remember from your textbooks in school? Do you remember how dry and boring they were?" Then I asked, "Do you remember any books you read as a kid?" Of course she did.
I do evaluations for homeschoolers in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. Every year, I have a new homeschooler who feels they didn't cover art or music. I love talking with them and helping them to remember shows or other experiences that would be considered art and music (or whatever other subject they think they missed). I also get phone calls from new homeschool moms who are panicing and asking me which curriculum (or workbook) they should have their preschooler or kindergartener in. My reply is always, "None." With children that age, you should take out the play dough or the building blocks and let them play. Take them on walks and let them explore. Talk to them about all that you do and encourage them to talk to you. That is how they will learn best.
Not all learning comes from a text book. As a matter of fact, most learning doesn't come from textbooks. Life is learning.
This morning, I was sent this link for 100+ Resources for Teaching Without Textbooks. It has so many good resources.
As a side note: I do use textbooks for Math. Our family uses the Math U See materials. That only takes 15 to 20 minutes a day and it works well for us. Along with this, I also give my kids some real life experiences with math at as young an age as possible. They include (but are not limited to):
  • Cooking using recipes. Sometimes we double or half a recipe and they have to do the math.
  • When we go to the bank, they are not allowed a lollipop unless they have a deposit. They also have to fill out their own deposit slips.
  • When at the store, I'll ask them to tell me how much change I should get back. Then I have them count it to make sure it is correct.

These are just a few ideas and as I read others' blogs, I get so many more.

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