As a classic overachiever, I sometimes struggle with keeping my children’s education simple. As much as I’d like to cram as much knowledge into their heads as I can, I know that they do not need to know everything about everything in order to master basic skills and succeed in life.
Here are some ways I keep things simple around our house:
- Remember that man’s chief end is to glorify God and enjoy Him forever (Westminster Shorter Catechism Q1);
- Remember Proverbs 1:7: The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge: but fools despise wisdom and instruction;
- Remember to smell the roses and enjoy the simple things in life; and
- Remember it is better to know one thing very well than many things poorly.
Using the Robinson Curriculum helps me keep things simple. Students using the curriculum learn primarily by reading books, so their formal learning is limited by the number of books they can read in a certain year. I reckon a parent could try to cover a multitude of different subjects during reading time; however, as Dr. Robinson has said, “There is only so much time in the day.” Sticking strictly with the Robinson Curriculum‘s selections, a student might learn a lot about the arctic but not so much about South American rainforests. That’s okay — unless a child has a great need to learn in-depth about rainforests, in which case a parent could substitute books on rainforests for the Curriculum’s books about the arctic. Flexibility is one of the beauties of the Robinson Curriculum.
Here are some other simple ideas for educating children that were recently posted around the web:
Here’s an ideal curriculum:
- Copy from the Bible, length of passage according to age. Copy poetry. Copy old books.
- Hang out with adults. A lot. Especially wise ones.
- Read. Then tell someone about what you read.
- Write. Write letters, write on a blog, write to the newspaper, write in a journal. Especially write a thank you letter once a week. Have someone edit for grammar and punctuation. Use a thesaurus. Learn a new word and tell your family about it at dinner.
- Write more. Take a few sentences from your local newspaper and rewrite them using half the words. Learn to say things concisely, without using extra words.
- Watch videos about how things are made. Or about cooking. Or about things you like. Read books about the same things.
- Find someone doing what you love and ask to watch or help them.
- Learn how to do something new.
- Ask questions. Do puzzles. Listen to sermons. Play Scrabble, Moneywise, Monopoly and other learning games.
- When you read about a country, go to the map and find it.
- Start a business. Start a blog. Find ways to make money.
Here’s my ideal curriculum for a kid:
- Do one creative thing a week (write, paint, etc.). The brain needs the exercise.
- Read one book a week (if you are interested).
- Rip apart whatever the headline is of the Monday morning New York Times and explain why it’s misinformation. (Or pick The Washington Post. Whatever newspaper you want. They are all the same.)
- And then do whatever interests you via free courses all over the Internet. Coursera is my favorite—history, engineering, whatever interests you only)
- Be healthy in all the ways I describe.
PE: A sport or exercise they like, plus, make sure that they can swim.
Bible: Bible Stories to theological interests they develop. Catechism.
English: Get them to be good readers, spellers, writers.
Foreign Language: Pick one, hopefully one they like. Let them learn others if they have an affinity for it.
Math: Start at the beginning and see how far they go.
Science: Age-appropriate science textbooks, until like Jr. High and High School, when they can do specific texts for physical science, biology, chemistry
History: Start with story-based U.S. History, don’t neglect the historical aspects of Scripture, and go into world history maybe 6th grade. A state history course is good about fourth grade. Do a good tough U.S. History in 7-8th grade, and a good comprehensive World History during the high school years. One year of church history is very useful.
Art: Some basic art curricula, and Art History is a good approach in the later years.
Music: Get them singing or to learn an instrument.
(Miss Marple, comment #4)
How do you keep things simple in your homeschool?