Saturday, November 23, 2013

Combination Curriculum: Unschooling and Classical

Although I haven't been posting on this blog like I should be, we've still been homeschooling. We probably haven't made as much progress as I would have liked, but we've also been doing a combination of unschooling and our current curriculum.

I've recently been taking a number of different classes online at Coursera such as Human Physiology, and a course on the Upper Limb. Sam has become fascinated by my classes, which lead me to try a course of unschooling with her and let her take the class with me. She even started her own notebook.

Sam's notebook for our class "The Upper Limb"

Now I know what you're thinking. 

This class is too advanced for her, she should be doing something easier and more her level. But here's the thing. She wants to learn this stuff. The other work I've given her bores her to tears and she fights me tooth and nail when I ask her to finish it. But if I ask her to sit with me and take this course, I get her asking me if she can draw the diagram on the screen:

Same drew this diagram and I did the labeling for it.
She's really excited about learning this stuff, and who am I to tell her no? How many seven year olds can tell you the meaning of medial, lateral, distal, proximal, ventral, dorsal, abduction and adduction?

We actually had this discussion with Greg's parents when they rudely showed up on our doorstep completely unannounced (and interrupting one of these lectures I might add). His mother didn't see the point in teaching Sam this kind of thing. But she also didn't realize that Sam is only seven and already knows how to add and subtract three digits (like 150-139).

But that is the point of unschooling. It's education that is guided by the child, and if Sam wants to learn about the upper arm with me, then that's what she's going to learn. I want her to enjoy learning, not dread it like Greg and I did when we were in school.

But these lecture do more than just teach her about the upper limb. They get her to work on her writing skills:

Her writing is actually getting better. At least it's legible now.
It's also working on her spelling, and most importantly her reading skills. Each lecture has a series of quiz questions throughout the lecture, and Sam loves reading all the questions out loud and then choosing an answer.

She's also learning about note-taking because she sees the notes I'm taking, and I help her write her own notes. I'm teaching her how to study too.

So I have no problem with Sam taking these courses with me, and surprisingly, she understands most of it. Whatever she doesn't understand, I explain.

Wait till you see how I'm getting Sam to read!

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