"In Geography, one of the topics I covered was global phenomena and it dealt with a variety of things such as the plight of refugees. This brought to my attention how many refugees there are here and across the world seeking a safe place to live. This made me realize how grateful I am for having a place to call my home. Irrespective of what culture, race, or country we come from, we all want the same things in life like safety, love and acceptance. This made me think that all current affairs around the world have a ripple effect, like throwing a pebble in a pond. If something happens in one country, although it is far away from your own country, you may still be affected by it."
Friday, September 18, 2015
In education, learning about one topic has a ripple effect across all spheres of knowledge.
As advocates of unschooling, we don't push students to learn specific subjects separately from each other. The underlying assumption in unschooling is that nothing exists in a vacuum, and when you set out to learn one thing you end up learning many different "subjects" along the way. One of our students was learning about Geography and along with studying where in the world things are, she also studied what is happening in those places. Here is what she had to say about what she learned along the way.
For a teenager to view current affairs worldwide as having a ripple effect that eventually effects her is an incredible insight to have. She learned so much more than where a country is in the world, or any other bland facts about it. She really delved into what is going on with people in other places. Even when the situations there aren't very pretty.
She's had a profound realization of unity in the world. Everywhere in the world, people want the same basic things. Perhaps that realization will also lead to an understanding that what she herself does also has a ripple effect around the world. As Mother Theresa said "I alone cannot change the world, but I can cast a stone across the waters to create many ripples."
Friday, September 11, 2015
There is an active and growing population of families choosing to opt out of the Romanian school system. We are thrilled to be able to support families all around the world with making the educational choice that best suits them. We thought it would be fun to give you a glimpse into what homeschooling looks like for this family in Romania. Here's an excerpt from their year-end report.
"I’m very happy with the progress he’s made with his Reading skills. For the moment, he reads in Romanian, very well for his age, but he can also manage short simple English sentences.
There’s not much to say about Writing skills, as he cannot be bothered with it. He knows how to write, but has no need to do so, apart for the occasional birthday card. Obviously, he types anything he needs to for his games.
English is another subject where there’s been great progress, mainly due to the fact that in the past few months he has discovered YouTube and he spends hours watching videos of his favorite games. I’d never have thought it possible to learn English this way, but he has become quite confident and he talks in English a lot. Amazingly, he’s started to speak Romanian with an English accent! I’ve downloaded some school books to use next year, so he can learn some basic grammar rules (which I’m sure he’ll find quite boring).
Mathematics is the only subject where we tried to go by the book and he’s made his way through several books of additions/subtractions, which he can do quite easily, so he has acquired more than the skills required for 1st grade. We also tried multiplication and division, but we have to work on this part next year. (We also use several Internet sites for Math).
For the past year, Science studies consisted mainly of a Chemistry/Physics class he was enrolled in. It’s a government subsidized learning center for kids, which offers a lot of different classes. The Chemistry class was quite hard, covering stuff that school children only learn in 5th grade and beyond, but everything is explained in simple terms with lots of fun experiments, to make science appealing to seven years old kids. And we had a final test, too, which he passed. So we’re good, as far as Science is concerned.
At the same center, he took a very interesting course combining History and Crafts. They studied mostly Ancient History and at each lesson they also crafted some object relevant for that particular period, a cardboard Roman shield, an Egyptian pyramid and so on. We also read several books concerning Ancient History, some of them in English. So that’s Social Studies for us.
He also studied French at the center, but I cannot really say that he’s learned much. A few words, some songs and not much else. We’ll probably have to find some other program, something more fun. Anyway, these classes have been very useful as they gave him some sort of going to school experience and he got to make some friends, temporary, as most friends are at this age. It also helped me put my mind at ease on the controversial subject of socializing and HS."
Jacqueline ~ Romania
There is a mother who is a homeschooling advocate in Romania through her blog, and who is our local contact for our Romanian families. You can visit her blog here http://www.homeschooling.urbankid.ro/
For our native Romanian readers, here is the year-end report in the Romanian language.
"Sper ca ai avut un an (scolar) bun. Noi cu siguranta am avut. Iata, pe scurt, ce a invatat baiatul meu, P., in primul lui an de homeschooling.
In esenta, s-a descurcat de minune. Noi nu folosim vreo programa anume, dar incerc sa acoperim cumva toate materiile relevante. (Am oroare de programe scolare ca urmare a experientei avute cu fata, care a fost timp de opt ani in invatamintul public si a avut de invatat pe de rost tone de lucruri inutile, din categoria celor pe care le uiti de indata ce ai luat nota la materia respectiva).
Revenind la baiatul cel mic, ma bucur sa-ti spun ca a facut progrese majore la citit. La ora actuala, citeste in romana foarte bine pentru varsta lui, dar se descurca si sa citeasca propozitii mai simple in engleza.
Despre scris nu prea am ce sa spun, pentru ca nu prea il intereseaza subiectul. Stie sa scrie, dar nu prea are nevoie sa o faca, doar cite o felicitare ocazional. Evident, se descurca sa tasteze orice are nevoie la jocurile lui.
Engleza este o alta materie la care a inregistrat mari progrese, mai ales datorita faptului ca in ultimele luni a descoperit YouTube si petrece ore in sir uitindu-se la materiale video despre jocurile lui favorite. Nu mi-as fi imaginat vreodata ca este posibil sa inveti engleza in acest mod, dar fapt este ca a prins curaj si vorbeste mult in engleza. Cel mai uimitor este faptul ca inceput sa vorbeasca si romaneste cu accent englezesc! Am descarcat recent o serie de manual de engleza pe care intentionez sa le parcurgem in noul an scolar, astfel incit sa poate invata si ceva reguli de gramatica, desi sunt sigura ca o sa i se para tare plictisitoare.
Matematica este singura materie pe care am incercat sa o studiem ca la carte si am parcurs impreuna mai multe culegeri cu adunari si scaderi, pe care le rezolva cu usurinta, astfel ca este deja peste nivelul cerut la clasa intii. Am incercat si ceva inmultiri si impartiri, dar este un subiect asupra caruia va trebui sa insistam anul urmator. (De asemenea, folosim si diverse site-uri de Internet pentru matematica. )
La capitolul stiinte, anul trecut baiatul a fost inscris la un curs de chimie/fizica organizat la Palatul Copiilor, unde sunt o multime de cursuri interesante. Cursul de chimie a fost unul foarte serios, cu materie pe care la scoala copiii o parcurg abia in clasa a 5a sau dupa, dar totul le era explicat in termeni simpli, cu multe experimente distractive, astfel incit lectiile sa fie atractive pentru copii de sapte ani. Am avut si un test final, pe care P. l-a trecut cu bine. Asa ca stam bine la capitolul stiinte.
Tot la Palatul Copiilor, P. a fost inscris si la un curs care imbina istoria cu lucrul manual. Au studiat cu precadere istoria antica si la fiecare lectie copiii realizau si un obiect relevant pentru perioada studiata, un scut roman din carton, o piramida egipteana si asa mai departe. Am citit, de asemenea, mai multe carti despre antichitate, unele in engleza. In acest fel am acoperit noi stiinte sociale.
In acelasi loc, a mers si la curs de franceza, dar n-as putea spune ca a invatat foarte mult. O serie de cuvinte, ceva cintecele si cam atit. Cred ca va trebui sa cautam un alt program de limbi straine, ceva mai distractiv.
In tot cazul, cursurile acestea au fost foarte utile pentru ca i-au oferit copilului un fel de experienta a mersului la scoala si si-a facut si ceva prieteni, temporari, asa cum sunt toti prietenii la aceasta virsta. In plus, asta m-a ajutat si pe mine sa-mi domolesc temerile referitoare la controversatul subiect al socializarii copiilor care practica homeschooling."
Jacqueline ~ Romania
Friday, September 4, 2015
Now we get to hear directly from the son of last week's homeschooling mom about why school was so miserable for him, and how homeschooling has changed his perspective on life. Enjoy part 2 of this story! (If you missed his Mom's point of view in part 1, you can read it here.)
Entering the tenth grade was supposed to be a restart from the last year, in which I barely managed to pull through with less than stellar marks. But my public school career was completely unsalvageable by the second semester. Sometime around the end of seventh grade, I began to lose interest in doing the assignments and projects the administration required everyone to complete for good grades. The assignments were unoriginal, tedious, and seemed, for the most part, unnecessary to normal life. While the actual subject matter was quite interesting to me, the excessive, unnecessary assignments ruined any hope of enjoying classes. Eventually I stopped doing the assignments flat out, partially to spite the authority the school had over the student body. My faltering grades lead to daily screaming matches with my family over what could possibly be wrong with me. I was failing half my classes by the end of the semester while my parents were freaking out about my future. I decided that leaving public school would be the best course of action, as I would not be forced to follow the same path as every other teenager, and could study whatever subject I wanted without the school’s overlords pressuring me to do only as they wished.
The end of the first semester marked the end of my public school career. I could finally relax, learn what I wanted at my pace, and not worry about tests and projects failing my education. This second start with homeschooling felt like a breath of fresh air after my dreadful high school experience. I was homeschooled before entering public schools in the third grade, but this time it felt better. The first time I had no frame of reference to determine whether I enjoyed or not, so it felt much better to start homeschooling knowing how public schools worked and how unhealthy it could be. My previous experience with homeschooling may very well have helped lead me to the many problems I had with public schools and their authority.
~ Vincent, Colorado