Kids Learn By Doing

Every child is going to learn differently.  All children use their senses to help them to explore the world and learn many different things, but each child uses this sensory input a bit differently as they process the information.

Most childrAnother Hatchett Job, adopt, adoptive family, adoptive parents, love, creative commonsen rely heavily on visual input.  Some rely heavily on auditory input.  It helps these children to hear about what they are learning as much or possibly more so than just seeing the topic or reading about it.  During the infant and toddler years, children put things into their mouths as part of their explorations.  For some students, adding experience through taste helps them to learn.  Other students need kinesthetic input to enhance their learning.  And to top it all off, most children use all of these sensory inputs to greater or lesser degrees than others.

The schools are supposed to take care of all of this educational stuff, right?  As a former educator, I strongly disagree.  Regardless of whether your child attends a formal school or is homeschooled, the parents lead the way when it comes to education.  Parents who value education and who love to learn will often have children who are more amenable to taking advantage of their education.  Parents who abdicate all responsibility for their child and his or her studies will likely (but not always) raise more lackadaisical students.

Parents need to understand that learning is not limited to a classroom setting.  Learning is just a part of living and exploring as we live our lives.  Learning is an active endeavor.  Some things may be learned passively, but the lessons that tend to stick with us into our adult lives tend to be made more memorable by our active participation in them.

So, how can parents possibly wade through the myriad of possibilities and know how to help their children learn?  It’s actually a bit simpler than you may think.  Another Hatchett Job, adopt, adoptive family, adoptive parents, love, creative commons

All children require some of each of these inputs as they learn, barring a major disability.  The key is to maximize the ones that your student enjoys while making sure they all get a little time at the educational party.

How?  Just follow the five senses for starters.  Here are some examples of things that parents can do with children of all ages to help foster learning by using the senses.

Sight.  This is easy.  Look at what you are learning.  Are there illustrations in a book?  Can you go outside and identify types of leaves or plants?  Can your toddler name the animals in a picture or in a field or petting zoo?

Hearing.  Read to your child.  Read with your child.  Let your child read to you.  Take turns reading.  Even when you are doing the reading, you are hearing your own voice say the words.  For many learners, this stimulates the formation of memory better than other sensory inputs.  Listen to music and learn about composers.  Learn to play an instrument.  Learn how to distinguish bird songs.  Encourage young children to play with the classic See ‘N Say toys to hear sounds and identify what made each sound.

Taste.  There is a great reason that many teachers let students add a cooking component to a lesson, particularly in Geography classes.  Getting the sample the cuisines of another culture is a fantastic way to explore another culture.  When you go on vacation to the coast, does your family try the local ‘catch of the day’?  Do you sample regional dishes and discuss why certain ingredients may be typical of that area’s dishes?  Nothing helps you remember a historic sugar plantation better than the taste from chewing on a piece of sugar cane.

Another Hatchett Job blog, Jan Hatchett, Home Economics, Home Ec, cooking, breadmaking, messy homeschooler, homeschooling, education, learning, hands on
Home Ec is hard work! Photo by Jan Hatchett

Touch.  Children who rely heavily on touch often use movement (kinesthetics) to learn.  Tap a surface as you count with your child.  Let your child feel items that are related to the location you are visiting or a lesson in school.  Learning about Scotland, feel woolen fabric or even pet a lamb at a petting zoo while talking about where wool comes from and how it is processed.  Use manipulatives with math that the child can touch and handle.  Get outside and dig in the dirt to plant flowers or make rubbings of tree bark or leaves.  It’s okay to get dirty.  In some circles, a little dirt is much appreciated!

Smell.  Even been near a paper mill?  Particularly before the EPA regulated emissions, those were some stinky places!  Once you have experienced that sulphurous smell, you will never forget it.   The olfactory glands in our brains are located very near our memory centers.  This is why certain smells can evoke memories with shocking clarity.  The smell of theater popcorn or cookies baking in Grandma’s kitchen help us to recall information.  Students use this, too.  How many 40-somethings remember the smell of mimeograph fluid on school handouts?

Of course, this is not a definitive listing of methods for enhancing education, but it is a good start to encourage inquisitiveness and observation about the world around us while using the senses.  Learning is an active process, so get away from the television and cell phones and start interacting with the people and places nearby.

How do you use your senses to learn?

Till next time,

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Why Homeschool? Because Life is an Educational Opportunity!

Question mark, thinker, Another Hatchett Job blog, homeschool, education, questions, Creative CommonsMy parents were absolutely fantastic when it came to education, but they probably didn’t think of themselves that way.  School breaks often meant camping or summer trips to Ohio or New Hampshire to see family.  On the way, though, there were all sorts of stops to look around, to read Historical Road Markers and if you didn’t have time to read one, my Dad would take a picture of it in hopes of being able to read it after he got our film developed!

As a kid, totally unrelated to school, I saw forts, lighthouses, Navy Bases, historical boats, submarines (this was pre-9-11, by the way and my Dad is a Navy vet), historical recreations of early settlements, museums, the Smithsonian, the founding documents for our nation, indian reservations, mountains, rivers, lakes, ponds, streams, “Alpine” villages, Appalachia, festivals which showed “pioneering” skills like blacksmithing, leatherworking, tanning, soapmaking, open fire cooking, quilting, and many others.  And, for every thing I remember from our trips, I am sure that I am forgetting several others.

In addition to the waypoints and destinations of our trips, we did light hiking (I was a club-footed kids with orthotics, so heavy duty hiking was out), in all kinds of terrains, went swimming, fishing, and just hung around outside.  As a young teen, we would take a hammock and Mom and I would take turns laying in the hammock, reading books for fun and alternating time with Dad.  Those were the best times!    Sometimes we met other family members and after dinner, would play softball together, letting the littlest members win.  My cousin and I swam and used a zip line to enter a lake.  We learned to make fires.  We lived with germs and survived (although I did go to Mercy Hospital in Pennsylvania at 12 years old after sand fleas bit my face in the night while camping.  My face swelled up and I couldn’t open my eyes).

And I learned something on every single trip!  One year, my uncle showed me how to find lady slippers, the only native orchid in North America, which are endangered.  A lovely native American at a reservation in North America liked that my hair was braided like hers.  Mom and Dad took a picture of us together and she took time to tell me about her family’s history and the crafts that they made.  And who could forget the never ending line of Historical Place Markers!  I laugh about it, especially the pictures of them.  But, to this day, I stop and read as many as I personally can.  My latest find was of a gorgeous old covered bridge in the backwoods of middle Georgia, constructed with pegs by a freed slave.  So, many years later, I am still learning from their example.Another Hatchett Job blog, horses, therapeutic riding, Creative Commons attribution

Now, it’s my kids who are rolling their eyes at me for reading these signs, but I know that they are learning, just as I did.  Today, oldest son and I met the farrier at the horse farm where DS 17 does therapeutic riding.  We learned about horse anatomy, those hooves and how to care for them, and about the skills needed for the job.  We learned that my son is actually too big in stature to comfortably work with horse hooves, but the farrier thinks that he would be a natural at Equine Massage.  I wasn’t raised around horses, so I had never heard of this.  Now, we have a new career path to explore that my son ( who is Autistic/Asperger’s syndrome) is excited about!  He isn’t going to attend college, but he might be able to apprentice and work toward certification in a field that would keep him near his beloved horse friends.

Another Hatchett Job blog, Creative Commons attribution, bird banding, baby birds, ornithologistYounger son likes to help (and is getting pretty proficient at it) Ornithologists (or bird nerds, as we affectionately call them) to do bird banding for migratory research studies.  He wants to be a wildlife biologist and he loves the opportunity to learn about and appropriately handle wild animals.  He got a taste for this type of work (and connections to eventually bird band) when both boys and hubby would take classes together on weekends at a wildlife management area that is about an hour away.  They took classes like bird identification, butterfly identification, dragonfly identification, frog and reptile identification, and general entymology identification.  These classes were aimed at kids and often involved a bit of slogging around in the shallows of a pond or marshy area.  My boys have loved being outside and the learning can kind of sneak up on them while they are having fun.

Even watching a documentary on some topic of interest with Mom and Dad can spur conversation and help develop an interest!  Homeschoolers often worry that they aren’t providing kids with enough opportunity to learn, but by creating an atmosphere where parents and kids are constantly learning new information and sharing with each other, these families are flinging open the doors to genuine and memorable learning.

I can’t remember worksheets that I completed in school, but I remember vividly putting my hands on the bullet holes in an old log fort in the North Georgia Mountains and learning about the battles that happened there and the lives that were lost.  And, I was a public school kid.  My parents just liked to learn things and took me along for the ride.  I wish more parents would do the same.  They supplemented my education while supplementing their own.  I hope my own kids are benefitting in much the same way.

Homeschooling is a lifestyle of learning, but every parent can help their child to continue learning and to love the acquisition of new information, regardless of how their children receive their formal education.  Unfortunately, in recent years, fewer families are doing these things with their children that aren’t homeschooling.  I worked in both public and private high schools for years and saw first hand that too many parents often completely abdicate any responsibility toward educating their children in academics, character, or even common sense.  Personally, as a homeschooling mama and a professional educator, I would challenge everyone to take one weekend a month to learn something different with your children.  Try a new recipe and learn about the country where this dish is commonly served.  Go on a field trip to a State Park or historic site and walk around.  Go for a long walk and really look at the flowers, trees, leaves, etc.  Before you know it, you will find yourself becoming an educator as well!

How do you encourage learning in your home?

Thanks for stopping by for this series, as this is the last article in the Why Homeschool? series, I hope you will check out any articles you may have missed.  More articles on homeschooling, frugal living, quilting, and life in general will be coming out weekly!

Why We Homeschool

Why Homeschool?  Appropriate Socialization

Why Homeschool?  Academic Excellence

Why Homeschool?  School Safety

Why Homeschool?  Child Led Learning

Why Homeschool?  Field Trips

Why Homeschool?  Learning Styles & Multiple Intelligences

Why Homeschool?  Religon

Why Homeschool?  Life Long Learners

Till next time,

Another Hatchett Job blog, signature, Jan Hatchett

Why Homeschool? Life Long Learners

Whew!  Thank goodness that is over.  I will never have to think again as long as I live.

Another Hatchett Job blog, Creative Commons, textbooks, homeschoolIs it me, or do those words make most of us cringe when we think of a high school graduate saying them?  Why is that?

From my perspective, I would want that young man or lady to know that life is just beginning and that there will always be new information to be learned.  If nothing else, your silly smart phone will upgrade and you will have to learn how to use the new features, every year or so!  There are hobbies to learn, books to read, documentaries to peruse, parenting information to be needed, blogs to read, world events to stay on top of.  I can’t imagine thinking that it would be so cool to NOT cool.

I would want to scream at them at the top of my lungs, “ONCE YOU SIT DOWN IN THAT RECLINER AND GIVE UP YOU ARE GOING TO SPIRAL TOWARD DEATH.  MAYBE NOT A PHYSICAL DEATH JUST YET, BUT DEATH NONETHELESS.  YOU WILL DULL YOUR SPIRIT, DAMAGE YOUR INTELLECT, BE MORE PRONE TO DEMENTIA AND BE A BORING PERSON TO BE AROUND.”  Ahem.  There.  I feel a little bit better now.

Take a moment and think about all of the people you have known in your life.  Who seems the most vibrant to you?  I’d be willing to bet that your thoughts gravitate toward those who are lively, interesting, have hobbies, know trivia, are “sharp as a tack” so to speak.  Now, not everyone is blessed with high intellect, but those people who are interested in things and get involved in that interest are just more interesting people.  They have more to talk about, to share, and to learn–maybe from you!  Those sad individuals who sank into a sofa or recliner, staring aimlessly into a screen and scrolling channels have given up on exploring new horizons and they (I am only speaking from my personal observations) tend to be depressed and unhappy.  They don’t pursue relationships and are lonely because others don’t seem to want to spend time with them.  They seem to fall into ill health and it perpetuates that cycle of misery.Another Hatchett Job blog, tv, television, boob tube, screen time,

But, put a good book in the hand of someone and they can experience a time of escape.  They can get “out of themselves” and think about something else for awhile.  It’s good medicine for the soul to have an interest.

Plus, if you love learning, you will NEVER be bored.  You will always have new avenues to explore, new people to meet, possibly new business ideas or promotions to pursue.  So, why do we accept an educational system that isn’t geared toward an absolute love of learning and exploring new ideas?   Why do we settle for disgruntled students, overworked and underpaid teachers, and standardized testing instead of genuine exploration?  One of the major strengths of homeschooling families is that they love to learn together.  They have learned the power of helping a student “find out” and learning alongside them.  They have learned that they are positively re-energized by a good field trip and that if the kids can actually learn without feeling tied to a book and paper, they may actually be retaining more information overall.  When the parents think learning something new is cool, it is not much of a stretch for that attitude to be contagious.  And that kind of contagion can really shape this world we live in for the better.

Are your kids becoming life long learners? 

For more of this series:

Why We Homeschool

Why Homeschool?  Appropriate Socialization

Why Homeschool?  Academic Excellence

Why Homeschool?  Field Trips

Why Homeschool?  School Safety

Why Homeschool?  Learning Styles & Multiple Intelligences

Why Homeschool?  Child Led Learning

Why Homeschool?  Religon

Till next time,

Another Hatchett Job blog, signature, Jan Hatchett

Why Homeschool? Religon

Another Hatchett Job blog, Creative CommonsFull disclosure:  I am a Christian and I do believe that I need to expose my children to Christian ideals, etc., but I am not a big fan of Christian textbooks.  I personally prefer to use secular textbooks and insert any religous information that I feel necessary as I teach.  Most Christian based textbooks tend to lean heavily on the traditions of one or more of the mainline denominations and as we are non-denominational, they don’t really apply to our worldview.  However, each family should do as it sees fit.

I really hesitated to write this post.  I don’t talk about my religon online much.  I also don’t talk politics online much.  I just don’t see the point of arguing about things and that seems to be exactly what happens with either of these subjects.  Like most parents, I teach my children what my husband and I believe.  Unlike some parents, we DO tend to discuss other points of views and other cultures.  We have decided to present all of the information to our kids and allow them to make their own decisions.  Our decision to homeschool wasn’t based primarily on religion.  We tended to look at academic rigor and proper socialization as the primary factors that brought us to homeschool.  But, for other families, this was a primary consideration and it is for these families that I decided to include this topic.

Our youngest son is really interested in philosophy and politics and world events so this is easy to digest for him.  When world events involve different countries, we can discuss the major Right or Wrong? Creative Commons, Another Hatchett Job blog, homeschooling, education, learning, curriculum, questionsreligons and philosophies of the area and how they might be affecting the events that are unfolding.  We also discuss how our beliefs (our personal bias) might affect how we view them also.  However, our oldest son is special needs and while he understands some of the information, he isn’t interested and he balks at the discussions.  His world is very black and white.  There is no room for nuance in his understanding.  So we give him as much as he can handle.  Wish we could do more, but all we can do is expose him to the information and hope it sinks in.

But, our personal beliefs aside, many families have chosen to homeschool for religous reasons.  In fact, during the 1980s one of the first families to formally homeschool did so because they wanted to include religous education in their children’s school day.  They were Muslim.  Many families, representing a myriad of religous and non-religous groups have chosen the homeschooling lifestyle.  Honestly, I can’t criticize any of them.  They are following their own consciences and doing what they feel is best for their families.  More power to ’em!

Another Hatchett Job blog, Religon, Homeschooling, Learning, Education, CurriculumThe media may portray homeschoolers as slack-jawed, ignorant, inbred fools, but truthfully, there are literally thousands of families from every socio-economic group and demographic homeschooling these days.  You are almost as likely to find a college educated teacher at home teaching her own children or holding a class or two weekly through a homeschool co-op situation as you will find teaching in a private school.

If you are considering homeschooling and religion is a strong factor for you, remember to evaluate curriculums for both academic rigor as well as religious adherence.  There are some out there that can do both, but you have to be picky and persistent to find them.  Or, you can use secular textbooks (check for textbook depositories in the White Pages) and discuss applicable religious views when they come up.  Either way, be sure to create balance in your child’s studies through including religon, academics, problem solving, time out of doors, socialization, and creativity minded opportunities.

Is religon a primary reason that your famly homeschools?

For more articles in this series:

Why We Homeschool

Why Homeschool?  Academic Excellence

Why Homeschool?  Appropriate Socialization

Why Homeschool?  Child Led Learning

Why Homeschool?  School Safety

Why Homeschool?  Field Trips

Why Homeschool?  Learning Styles & Multiple Intelligences

Why Homeschool?  Life Long Learning

Till next time,

Another Hatchett Job blog, signature, Jan Hatchett

Why Homeschool? Learning Styles & Multiple Intelligences

Question mark, thinker, Another Hatchett Job blog, homeschool, education, questions, Creative CommonsWould you expect a child who has a profound vision loss to obtain information only by reading and looking at pictures?

Of course you wouldn’t.  In the last couple of decades, we have learned so much about how people learn and how the brains of different individuals actually processes information and learns.  Because not everyone learns in the same way, we can tailor our teaching methods to each particular learner.  With hundreds of kids this can seem daunting, but when teaching your own children, you are working with fewer students and can really approach each child through his or her strengths.

Among the major learning styles are:

Visual–  Most people learn through visual input.  Our brains are largely tuned to process visual information that we receive on a daily basis.  Reading, examining charts, driving, riding a bike are all activities where we receive visual input.

Auditory–  Some learners remember what they hear better and more rapidly than what they see.  These learners love books on tape, listening to music, going to plays or movies and other multimedia events.  Often these students do well repeating what the teacher has said (to help set the information in memory), singing or rapping materials (facts, multiplication tables, etc).   Sometimes, these students play an instrument or sing well. Encouraging these students to read aloud to themselves often helps retention.

Kinetic/kinesthetic–have you ever noticed that toddlers love to sing songs with lots of motions attached to them?  Movement and muscle memory can play a part in making learning stick into the long term memory.  Some, but not all, really fidgety kids fall into this category.   These kids excel when moving while reciting information.  My oldest son learned spelling words while we marched around the house!  The marching set a rhythm that helped him to remember things more readily.  He didn’t always need to use this technique, but it helped for a couple of years while he learned “how” to learn spelling words.   Hands on activities and crafts that are directly related to a lesson work well for this learning style.  Science labs are great, also.

Please note that with the exception of having a profound sensory loss (deafness, blindness, immobility), everyone has the ability to learn through these avenues.  However, we all have a preference as to how we receive information and how it is easiest for us to learn.  When you figure out how your child learns easiest, you can rely a bit more heavily on that method of presenting information, while still including the other two.

Multiple Intelligences:  In the 1980s, Howard Gardner began to look at how the individual learner actually processed information.  What he developed from his research is a scale of “intelligences” that everyone has to some degree or another.  These multiple intelligences and their various strengths and weaknesses in each student help us to understand how he/she processes information and puts it into long term memory (which is the ultimate goal in teaching and learning).  If you would like a much better explanation of multiple intelligences than I can provide, click here for a great overview.

Linguistic— the ability to use words to communicate.Another Hatchett Job blog, Creative Commons, alphabet, homeschool

Logical/Mathematical—  the ability to use logic and mathematics.

Spatial—  the ability to understand and use the knowledge of how one “fits” in the world and the space around an object.

Bodily/Kinesthetic—  the ability to use one’s hands or whole body to express themselves.

Musical—  the ability to use music to express themselves.  Also, can discriminate between types readily.

Interpersonal—  the ability to determine and ascertain the moods, feelings, and motivations of others.

Intrapersonal—  the ability to know one’s self and to be able to use that information to adapt.

Naturalist-–  the ability and understanding of the natural world and animal behavior.

Existential (or Spiritual)*–  the ability to engage in and pursue the spiritual or mystical nature of man.

*this is currently being explored for becoming a full “intelligence” by Howard Gardner, originator of the Multiple Intelligences.

Now, everyone has all of the intelligences but most people are much stronger in one or two areas than in the others.  Often, we can use one strength to help a student improve in another area.  For example, my youngest son is the “Naturalist” to a T!  He isn’t crazy about some of the other areas, but you can’t be a Naturalist inside, so he gets to work on his Spatial, Body/Kinesthetic, and sometimes Existential skills without any additional effort on his part.  We could also read field guides to facilitate reading or books about adventures in the great out of doors.   We can look at charts and graphs to explain migratory bird patterns, or frog habitats and work out the statistics to help with math skills.  By linking ideas to what he is naturally strong at, he improves multiple areas at once, while enjoying the process.  It is a totally win-win scenario!

This topic is so broad that there is no way that I can do it justice in a single blog post, but wonderful sites abound and can be accessed by a simple Google search.

How do you use brain based learning techniques in your homeschool?

For more on this series:

Why We Homeschool

Why Homeschool?  Academic Excellence

Why Homeschool?  Appropriate Socialization

Why Homeschool?  Child Led Learning

Why Homeschool?  Field Trips

Why Homeschool?  School Safety

Why Homeschool?  Learning Styles & Multiple Intelligences

Why Homeschool?  Religon

Why Hoemschool?  Child Led Learning

Till next time,

Another Hatchett Job blog, signature, Jan Hatchett

Why Homeschool? Field Trips

Another Hatchett Job blog, baseball field, experiential learning, hands on learning, field trips, homeschooling, education, creative commonsWhat’s more fun, reading about baseball in an encyclopedia or sitting in left field with friends, straining to catch a foul ball?

Would your child rather read agriculture records or hold a baby seedling in your hands?

Sometimes, the world becomes much more memorable when a student can immerse him or herself into learning–to really jump in with both feet and explore.  Even if it is a topic that your student isn’t totally thrilled with, being on site and truly experiencing something in the real world can be very rewarding, helping a child (or teacher) to enjoy the subject more fully than they expected.

A lot of traditional learning is largely visual and partly auditory.  Field trips expand on these typical learning styles and add texture, dimension, taste, and other more subtle cues to help make learning memorable.  Often a single hands on experience through field trips can make lasting memories and spur future interests.

To love dinosaurs is pretty typical for children, but it becomes absolutely surreal to stand next to a fossilized skeleton of a T-Rex!  My youngest son loved that the paving stones at the Fernbank Museum of Natural Sciences in Atlanta had pterodactyl footprints embedded in the stones.  On his first visit (about age 7) he didn’t know whether to look up or down.  He didn’t want to miss a thing!

My oldest son loves horses and each week when we go to take riding lessons at the Calvin Center in Hampton, Georgia, it is like another field trip to him.  He learns something more about his beloved horse friends and their personalities, their health, and riding skills each week.  He is considering pursuing an apprenticeship to be a farrier.  And all this started as a field trip because he was interested in horses.  He would even muck stalls while talking to the horses than read a book any day!

For years, I have taken groups of young adults to the New American Shakespeare Tavern in Atlanta (no booze for teachers or students).  Even a movie adaptation of a play is a pale comparison to the complexities of watching a story unfold around you on stage.  Occasionally, the kids have even gotten to speak with one of the actors after the show.  We have had groups volunteer to hand out playbills and develop a deep and abiding love for theater.  Even better, from an adults perspective, they even tried the wonderful British foods that were catered in and lived without pizza, burgers, and fries, if only for a single night.

Not everyone can pursue the trips we were able to make in Georgia, but wonderful opportunities abound in every area!  There are fun things happening everywhere if we only open up our eyes to find them.Another Hatchett Job blog, field trip, homeschooling, education, experiential learning, hands on learning, creative commons

My friend Alison, is going with friends to a museum where her kids will learn while completing a scavenger hunt she made from information online.  Isn’t that a great idea?

Most cities have museums, puppetry theaters, community theaters, ballet, modern dance, various theater groups, murder mystery dinner theater, botanical gardens, petting zoos, military, naval or aircraft displays, historical, religous, and cultural attractions.

Look for National and State Parks, recreation areas, historical locations with tours, pick your own farms, Presidential libraries or birthplaces, places where movies were filmed, places where television or movies are currently being filmed (it’s interesting how these movies and shows are made), firestations, television and radio stations, restaurants (can sometimes tour the kitchen in off hours), and police stations.  There is lots to learn in any workplace!

Never overlook an opportunity to volunteer when planning your field trips.  Sometimes a lifetime of helping others can be fostered in one outing.  Consider food banks, soup kitchens, helping to clean up a neighbor’s yard, rake leaves for someone who is ill, plant flowers, donate items to a shelter, fix meals on a holiday through a local church or other organization.  Learning is often getting to know yourself and others.

Younger kids often enjoy very hands on, tactile environments (but gauge your own children, everyone is different) and concrete ideas.  Older students begin to look in depth at more abstract concepts.  So, a trip that you make with younger kids is often even better when revisited a few years later.  For example, there is an Air Force museum a couple of hours away from us.  It is a wonderful, free tour with a great picnic grounds and military museum.  My husband’s father served in the Air Force, so we do have a family connection that helps the kids be interested in what the Air Force is and what it does.  The first time we went, the boys were in awe of the size of the planes and we took pictures of them beside the planes for scale.  My oldest was fascinated to feel the treads on a tank.  It was an amazing experience for them.  A few years later, they were more interested in the museum displays, particularly the ones that told of how prisoners of war were treated on both sides of many different conflicts.  This visit brought up some very profound questions from them like, “why do countries go to war,” “how does a war end,” and “is it moral to treat others like these POWs were treated?”  The same exact trip, but seen through more mature eyes.  Some day, when they take their own children, perhaps it will speak to them from even deeper perspectives.

I have found that for my kids, the learning that happens when they aren’t trying to “learn” something is often what sticks with them the longest!  Plus, homeschoolers do need to have some fun now and again!

What is your favorite field trip memory?

To explore other parts of this series on homeschooling, click the following links:

Why We Homeschool

Why Homeschool?  Academic Excellence

Why Homeschool?  Appropriate Socialization

Why Homeschool?  Child Led Learning

Why Homeschool?  School Safety

Why Homeschool?  Learning Styles & Multiple Intelligences

Why Homeschool?  Religon

Why Homeschool?  Life Long Learners

Till next time,

Another Hatchett Job blog, signature, Jan Hatchett

Why Homeschool? School Safety

Slow School Zone, School Safety, Another Hatchett Job blog, homeschool, education, safety, creative commonsThere was a time when it was incomprehensible that a child would be targeted for deliberate violence in one of our public schools.  Unfortunately, that day has long passed.

We think of school shootings and violence as a largely modern phenomenon, but a brief Google search showed that Pontiac’s Rebellion School Massacre occured in 1764.  Seventeen-sixty four.  Let that sink in for a moment.

When I first saw learned of this incident, I was flabbergasted.  However, in a sickening way, it kind of makes sense.  Most parents consider their children their most precious and valuable assets.  Many would gladly give their lives to protect their children and this attitude is exactly what makes schools such good targets for madmen and terrorists!  There is simply no better way to hurt a community than to attack it’s most vulnerable and innocent members.

It makes me shudder to think how fortunate we are to have not had more violence toward such easy targets.

Some schools names are permanently enshrined in our collective consciousness:  Columbine High School, the Amish School in Nickel Mines, Pennsylvania, Heritage High School (Conyers, Georgia), Virginia Tech, and others.  However, take a look at this list.  I don’t generally like to use Wikipedia for a source, but I find that they tend to run complete lists to use as a jumping off point for research.  By my count there have been roughly 280 school shootings in the United States.  That doesn’t include issues with fighting, bullying or other weapons, such as knives, etc.

Woah, Nellie.Another Hatchett Job blog, creative commons, school safety, homeschooling, education, bullying

One of the greatest advantages in safety that homeschooling allows is that it disperses the children to multiple locations, with many having only a few children, not hundreds in one location.  Even when we attend co-op classes, there are generally fewer than 20 kids around and lots of parents around to keep an eye on them.  We also don’t have a sign out that announces that children are meeting there during the week.  We stay pretty low key.

Fewer kids and families that know one another (and are aware of each other’s family situations) helps to keep our little group of kids a pretty non-exciting target.   The fact that our group of families are pretty security conscious and includes a law enforcement officer is helpful also.  That being said, no situation is perfect.  We will always have to keep our eyes open collectively–just in case.  But, we are comfortable and willing to do that.

But, what about bullying?  As a former public and private school teacher, I can tell you that it is rampant and can get completely out of hand.  Often administrators and teachers feel absolutely hamstrung by parents who don’t believe that their children could ever misbehave.  Even those who try to handle it cannot be everywhere.  However, many teachers are so overwhelmed or burnt out that they don’t even try.  Bullying is just a part and parcel of our out of whack culture that praises the violent and obscene instead of character and morals.

Another Hatchett Job blog, creative commons, bullying, homeschool, learning, education, school safetyMy kid was bullied in a school that I taught at and was physically at every day.  My kid was blamed for having lashed out after being repeatedly bullied by a kid who was a known bully.  Even though I was there, watching and monitoring kids all day long, my kid was targeted.

For my family, that was the last straw.  It is just not acceptable that my children face bullying during the school day.  It’s not acceptable that schools don’t do enough to stop it–to call students and their parents out on the carpet when it occurs.  Our society and our schools talk a good game, but where are the results.  How many teens have to commit suicide before we do something radical?

Please don’t think that I am totally down on public and private schools.  As far as school safety, they are usually working quite hard to guarantee every child’s safety.  But, on the subject of bullying, I don’t think they are making any difference.  That’s just my opinion and it’s okay to disagree with me.  I am not bashing any family who chooses not to homeschool.  Every family has different needs at different times in their lives.  I don’t judge.

But, I keep my children in an environment that I have more control over.

Does School Safety influence your decisions toward education?

To see other posts in this series:

Why We Homeschool

Why Homeschool?  Academic Excellence

Why Homeschool?  Appropriate Socialization

Why Homeschool?  Child Led Learning

Why Homeschool?  Field Trips

Why Homeschool?  Learning Styles & Multiple Intelligences

Why Homeschool?  Religon

Why Homeschool?  Life Long Learners

 

Till next time,

Another Hatchett Job blog, signature, Jan Hatchett