Friday, November 20, 2015

Rethinking Your Educational Methods: Conversation

"He gives snow like wool; He scatters the frost like ashes."-Psalm 147:16

I battle it.  I am sure we all battle it, that traditional "right" way of educating our children.  But my heart tells me, that is not the only way.  

A few mornings ago, we woke up and there was frost on the ground.  It was so cold.  The temperature had fallen below freezing overnight, and so now the ground was frosty-white. It was a great homeschool opportunity.

I immediately called my kids attention to the frost on the ground.  My little guy was the one most interested, so we began talking about the frost on the ground.  I asked him questions like,  "Wonder what the temperature is?" and "Where did the frost come from?" and "Wonder how long it will take it to go away?"

We observed frost on the neighbor's ball in their yard.  We went outside to check the temperature on the outdoor thermometer. (It was 38 degrees at 8:17.)  My phone said it was 30 degrees, which was below freezing at the time.

We breathed out into the air and looked at our frosty breath.  That was a fun activity.  There was so much learning taking place, in a short amount of time, just because I started a conversation about the frost on the ground.

Conversation is a great way to teach your children.  You, as the parent, become a facilitator of learning.  The children are active participants.  It is not just you giving them new information, and them memorizing.  It is active learning.  Wheels are turning.  The information is being assimilated into what they already know.

Conversation is also a great way to assess children.  If they can answer questions through conversation, you can find out what they know, instead of giving a written test.  Conversation is a great tool in education.

As you go about your day to day activities, look for opportunities to have conversations with your children.  Ask questions about the weather.  What do they see outside today?  Do you hear the wind? Did you hear that bird (or those birds) tweeting?  What kind of birds do you see?  How many birds do you see?  You can cover many subject areas, such as math and science, in a short amount of time, and it can be easy and fun!

If you have a child with special needs, narrate your day.  Talk all the time about everything.  You could also add an American Sign Language component to your narration.

Even if the dialogue is one-sided at the moment, just start talking  It will awaken your children's senses to the world around them, and engage them in new learning experiences.

Many blessings as your learn new and creative ways to educate your children!


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