I have always had a disinclination to follow a prescribed method. Especially when it came to a creative pursuit. Which may be the reason I struggle so much with following basic recipes – it just seems too easy and not enough fun. Which also incidentally is why I don’t like to bake. It’s a little too perfect. Pinterest boards do the same to me – yes, it’s fun to recreate something I have found online and I’ve learned some wonderful things with Pinterest, but for me, the real fun is in letting what you have learned inspire you to put it together differently.
When I am learning or teaching, I want to hear the sound of things clicking into place, the aha! moment, the spark, that feeling of being awed – that is what I’m after. If that moment does not come often, I tend to get bored and exhausted.
Which is why we study history and science the way we do. For our family, homeschooling is a predominantly creative pursuit.
However, even with creative pursuits, the basics have to be grasped. If you want things to fit together, there still have to be things to be put together in the first place. Just as I would have no business playing with recipes if I didn’t know what the different flavors were doing, there is still a basic level of knowledge necessary to get to the next level. So I do emphasize reading, writing and math, but history and science, ah, those are fun.
We begin anywhere we want to. That’s the most important thing and the most freeing. We do not follow a curriculum, so to speak. However, I do love Easy Peasy Homeschool as a guide; it is completely online and free. We start there and then segue as much as we want.
For me, the segues are what make history fun, because it is when the most connections are made with what we have already learned.
I will also pick up books from the library – and not just from the children’s section, mind you – with lots of pictures for the children to thumb through. Since we are currently studying Ancient Egypt, I browsed and brought home two thick coffee table books about Egypt. The kids looked through them and asked me questions about whatever they saw. Since they’re still reading at a very basic level, I quickly read the blurb under the pictures and gave them the details. I was learning right along with them.
When there is a documentary or movie that relates to what we’re studying, we will watch it. The different perspectives on the same issue do not bother me and I will occasionally stop the movie we are watching to discuss it, ask questions, cure falsehood with truth and remove false information that is often presented.
I firmly believe this is a good way for the children to learn that not everything they see on the screen or read in a book is true. Discernment is the best safeguard to revisionism of any kind.
Learning history in this way, besides giving all of us a spectacular education while saving money, (no curriculum to buy! Yay!) also leaves us free to pull information from different subjects, which is one of the best ways to learn. Why do we feel the need to break things up into compartments for the children? History for us overflows and enriches Bible study, geography, and science quite often. Not to mention art and music. There’s truly no greater joy that seeing my children make those connections and make the subject their own.