Sunday, June 26, 2016

Dispelling the Educational Myth of the FLY-Over

A Fly-Over. 
You know, you do it once to check things out-you are not really committed and then you move on. 

There's a myth in the field of education that suggests if you cover an idea, topic or subject once the student should get it. Yeah, it's bad pedagogy all the way around.

I often hear two things
1. Queries about what curriculum to use for a specific grade/subject area.
2. How knowledgeable our kids are in a few specific areas, specifically history.

To the first question I want to explain that lasagna learning, i.e.  layer upon layer, is much more effective than hitting something once and expecting the kids to own it. Repetition is the mother of learning, after all. For most of us, we need to read, memorize, review, rinse, repeat. And then maybe repeat some more.

My kids are rock-solid in history because we often do a couple of history programs at once, along with excellent historical fiction, a timeline, movies and field trips. We layer- a lot- year after year. We did U.S. History (again) 2 years ago (in addition to a couple of other "histories"). This past year Cub delved deep in to America History, the Founding Fathers and source docs all related to the Republic and surrounding the issues of "Freedom." This summer we are going to back to the east coast (do you hear my inner happy dance about the deciduous trees we will soon be surrounded by?!) where our history loving posse will reveal in all manner of historical places, re-enactments, and sites.

Back to the regularly heard comments: Yes, you should focus on multum non multa- not many things (multa) but much (multum). Don't get buried in curriculum and choices but do layer and layer some more so that your students experience a rich and varied taste of the chosen subject matter. Take the long view- You CAN do more than 1 history a year. You CAN do more than 1 grammar program. You CAN pick and choose pieces from various publishers that you like. You can simply focus on skills work, like memorizing and a timeline and copywork. Take time to lay down a solid foundation and then intentionally build on it, and then build on it some more.

For instance, we are using Henle Latin as our Latin spine. I also have Visual Latin -which is great for short snippet lessons to get clear about what we are learning in Henle AND First/ Second Form Latin- which hits verbs first, while Henle goes after nouns. So, there's cross-over and in that, we are building a greater understanding all the way around. However, less is often more, so if you totally get Latin (which is skill versus content based) with one program, just use that one program. But for content based subjects (Bible/ Theology, History, some Science, Literature) wide and varied builds copiousness.

So, don't get tied down to the idea that a student will "get" something just because they've seen it once, And do get ahold of the fact that repetition, in various forms, will allow long-term memory to take place. The once-over is great for over-view, but often far too simplistic for true long-term memory learning.

@Golden Grasses 2008-2013. All photographs, artwork and text are the property of the owner unless otherwise stated. Don't miss a thing! Subscribe to Golden Grasses and get our articles right to your inbox!

No comments:

Post a Comment

Don't miss a thing! Subscribe to Golden Grasses and get our articles right to your inbox!