Tuesday, February 19, 2013

The Importance of Pedagogy Part II

I wrote this very long response on a homeschooling forum when someone asked about incorporating various philosophies into their homeschool. I have also just finished reading, "So Good They Can't Ignore You" which is so invigorating I don't know if I'll be able to sleep tonight. More on that  once I process it a bit more.

I've been reading and studying education and homeschooling since the early 90's when I wrote a Master's thesis on "Why Parent's Homeschool." I continue to read about learning and education, philosophies, pedagogy's, methods, programs, memory, neurology, as does my dh. We do operate from a pedagogy based on a synthesis of what we have learned/know/ continue to learn and our experiences with effective education, our values, hopes, dreams, mission and experience as students ourselves, along with the learning styles/personalities of our children. We have a clearly defined pedagogy. As I've written before, this has saved us hundreds (maybe more) dollars in wasted curriculum, hours of my time searching for "the right thing" and frustration wondering why my kids aren't happy with the curriculum and ed experiences we have chosen to invest our time and money in. A pedagogy is a time, money and sanity saver.

Honestly, the more I learn, the more I teach, the more I understand about brain function, the more I "get" what effective education is and does and affords a person, the better teacher I am, the more developed my pedagogy is. And here's the deal. There IS effective education and there is ineffective education. As much as I love and value literature, I believe that many of the lit based curriculum's are short changing your student. Why? because they are heavy on overview and light on long term memorization. Lots of folks want to argue that learning dates, places, times, etc is fluff. But the real deal is that if you can train your kids brain to retain, it does. Not only that, they have more complex neural pathways and so stuff connects more readily, building even more complex pathways, etc.etc. If we teach them how to learn, and not just to memorize to the test, long term amazing stuff happens. Also, when you challenge your kids and require them to work hard, they get how to work hard.

CM is so magnetic - I agree- we value and incorporate nature studies and habits, along with art studies. Unschooling seems so natural. But of course. There is nothing more natural than letting your kids be themselves and enjoy their excitement and enthusiasm. Classical is great at skill building- hard work but very effective when actually done. I get what you are saying. I appreciate it. I see the value is a plethora of pedagogy's. (see here and here) But here's what I have come to after 22 years of doing this. Your kids needs skills. They will be competing globally for jobs. We are a soft culture. We don't value skills the way we used to. Our kids have great self esteem but don't know that much compared to other big dogs on the block. (see 2 million minutes and Fared Zakara's Post American World) So, while I want and encourage them to have great life experiences and do lots of unique and interesting things, (I am a findcoolthings4mykids2dofool) I value skill building under girded by a faith based system of understanding the world (Christian).

I just finished reading "So Good They Can't Ignore You." An excellent apologetic for Skill driven learning/work vs. a passion driven philosophy of study/work (which might not seem to answer your question, but take a look at it-- it just might).


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