Phase 1: I restructured lesson plans to fit their passions.
For example, one child wants to be a pediatrician. We learn biology, Latin, business math, history of medicine, famous doctors, etc. She still has to learn everything else, but there is a focal point, not just casting a wide net and seeing what we catch.
Phase 2: Lots and lots of hands on activity.
One of my children wants to be an inventor. We supply magnatiles, erector sets, gears, tinker toys, etc. I decorate the area with blueprints, pictures of prototypes, and famous inventors. We read biographies and create timelines of when who invented what. We add episodes of Modern Marvels.
Then there are days I just supply raw materials and we see what they come up with. They enjoy the process of discovery, I enjoy cross curriculum teaching.
Phase 3: Don’t be afraid to get a little cray-c.
We did a unit lesson on eggs, when one of the kids was interested in farming. He still loves it. We learned the history, the science, the biology of eggs. We measured, we weighed, we tested the shells in various liquids. Then we went outside and played baseball substituting eggs for balls and a skillet for a bat. We call it egg splat now beat that. For extra fun, we hard boil some eggs and leave some raw.
Phase 4: Don’t throw the baby out with the bath water
We use curriculum. We use Math U See, Mystery of History, Abeka, BJU reading, Horizons, and the list goes on. I couldn’t use just one because my children’s learning styles are different, I didn’t find any one of them to be all inclusive or completely comprehensive, and it bored me to tears. So, I mixed, matched, modified, ripped out, added in and tweaked. And then I did it again, and again and again. My kids are living and breathing and their education should be too. Furthermore, there are concepts they master quickly and some that require more methodical repetition while avoiding boredom and disinterest. It’s a fine line. I received a great suggestion from Byrdseed via newsletter email. He suggested instead of just regular spelling drills, try foreign words that we use in English. It was a big hit! One of my children loves all things French. So that was where we began.
Ooh la la!
Phase 5: Get off your Gluteus Maximus
We got moving. Into every lesson I incorporate movement. Whether its counting out jumping jacks or jumping rope to skip counting or going outside to hunt for dinosaur (turkey) bones that I hid in the back yard. We’ve even converted the dining room table into a makeshift ping pong table.
There are numerous studies relating increased physical activity to increased cognitive function.
Besides all of that we don’t want to raise sedentary kids.
Phase 6: Keep it Fun
I believe with all my heart that God never intended for life to be dull, routine and boring. Or for kids to be dredging through old, stale curriculum and forced into endless cycles of pointless rote memorization. Or for children to be be taught what to think instead of how to think. I definitely don’t believe that God intended for humanity to stop having fun just because children become adults.
There is this massive, beautiful, intense, complex world that He created. He wants us to explore it, discover it and to experience it. He wants us to live. Education should be full of life!
Phase 7: Get out!!
Go do, experience, breath, observe, test, collect, run, jump, spin and twirl.
There are no limits to the field trips you can do. Local farms, libraries, book stores, observatories, museums, fire stations, police departments, dentists offices, universities, airports, caves, Lego Land, cereal factories, chocolate factories, etc. Mt Rushmore, Washington DC, the Grand Conyon, you get the picture.