Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Learning History for Catholic Homeschoolers or Anyone Else

Wrapping Things Up

Well, a good way to wrap up this little series of posts is to talk about ways to wrap up a history study.

There are a few fun ways to take all that information and excitement and turn it into something cohesive.  I'll loosely put them under the heading of Projects, but they can vary in form.  We've often had some sort of public display of our writing, things we've made or sharing of one kind or another.  We've had poetry recitations, Medieval Faire, Roman Museum, we've gone on amazing field trips, talked to amazing people.

Sometimes we get others involved in a project, such as providing a booth at our faire, displaying types of food, or some other aspect of Medieval life.  They learn something, we benefit from their knowledge.  The possibilities are endless.

Public "events" of what we've been learning, where we invite friends, grandparents, neighbours to participate are really motivating for the kids.  They have worked for weeks with me to pull the event together.  We start by brainstorming to determine what we might like to do, what kinds of writing or handiwork or presentation might be fun and interesting.  Everyone takes on a role, from the youngest, drawing sword upon endless sword for the "weaponry" display, to single paragraph descriptions of life in a medieval village, to high school writing projects or presentations on the influential saints of the era.

Each person, regardless of age or ability works on their areas of particular interest, and all the others benefit from the sharing of that individual's knowledge.  We have created elaborate examples of food, clothing, toys, re-enactments of games and battles, examples of literature, craftsmanship and inventions.

Our projects have usually ended up as a large scrapbook of everything we worked to present on the day of the event, the photos, maps, writing and artwork.  For families disinclined to do something like have ten or fifty or seventy five people over for an event, the book could be the end project, simply an amazing scrapbook of all that was learned and enjoyed.  The book becomes a history or something the family has done, as well as a tool for learning for the future, a record of education, and a project to be shared with others.  

Friday, September 5, 2014

Teaching History Organically: What Does It Look Like?

Well.  It looks an awful lot like they way adults discuss and discover.  It looks a lot like formation.

We read together.  We ask questions, we get out books and find answers, the encyclopedias, the catechism, other resource books that we have from the library or that we have purchased because of what we are studying.  We hash things out.  We share what we have learned with Dad when he gets home.

Sometimes it goes off on a tangent.  It looks like a sustainable approach to home education.  It looks like raising kids who can think.  It looks like family centered learning.  It looks like AWESOME.

It looks like THIS.