I graduated from law school on May 15th. I am about to give birth. So naturally, I decided that I needed to sign up for some online courses. Did you know that Barnes & Noble has free online courses? Here is a link to the B&N "University." You have to sign up for an account, and then you can select "Browse Courses." I suppose the catch is that they assign books to read in conjunction with taking the course, and they hope you buy from them. But you can buy the books from where you want, or check them out from the library. So I signed up for "Homeschooling Your Children," and guess who the instructor is? Linda Dobson! One of the leading writers on homeschooling today. The course is supposed to last for four weeks. There are eight lessons, and you can do them at your own pace. Since I'm about to pop any day now, I've been trying to get through them rather quickly. I have one lesson left.
I know that you might be wondering what the point of my reviewing the course is, if it's too late to sign up. Well, I heard from some reputable sources that the course is actually offered a few times per year, so you may be able to sign up at some point in the future.
I honestly did not think I would learn so much from this course, because I've been studying homeschooling for a while and am quite a know-it-all. But the activities that Linda had us do really made me think about all sorts of aspects of homeschooling that I had not considered. I have developed my educational philosophy through an activity in this course. Want to hear it?
A Well-Educated Person:
-Sees learning to be intertwined with everyday life;
-Is a confident and independent thinker;
-Is resourceful in finding information that she seeks;
-Is academically, emotionally, socially, and mentally prepared for life as an adult, whether that life include college, work, or starting a family of her own;
-Possesses knowledge and understanding about her community and about the world around her;
-Has an understanding about social injustice and has the character to become an activist where she sees a need.
It might change a bit as I think about it more, but I went from nothing to that, so I'm happy with the progress.
All the relevant homeschooling topics were covered in the course, like socialization, money, the law, networking, the usual.
We discussed what we actually learned in school, and how much of it we use in our adult lives. We discussed the things that we wanted for our children in life. We basically made a list, and then checked off whether these things could be achieved in public school, private school, and homeschool. It was a real eye-opener. I honestly felt that none of the things that I want for my children can be achieved in a school setting.
We discussed how to become a learning family, how to make learning a way of life. That's the goal, right? It's the name of this blog!
We discussed intelligences and learning styles. I learned through my own observations that Tania has a combination of intelligences: linguistic, logical-mathematical, interpersonal. The types of intelligences are from a book called "Frames of Mind: The Theory of Multiple Intelligences," by Howard Gardner. Basically, I concluded that Tania has a typical learning style that schools cater to, but that because of this, she can be ignored by teachers who need to focus on teaching other students. I am not saying that the other students do not deserve the attention that they get, but I just feel like as soon as Tania gets to a level that is "good enough," she is left alone. She deserves more than she gets in a traditional school setting.
We discussed how to help our children to love learning. I learned a lot about just letting her be, letting her play, letting her be a child.
The course has really been great, and I learned more than I ever thought I could. I guess I learned the most about myself as a learner and about Tania as a learner. It has been as eye-opening experience.
I also am really excited to take more B&N courses. I signed up for "Becoming Human: The Story of Evolution," which is taught by Ken Mowbray, a paleoanthropologist (whew!) and Curatorial Associate for Physical Anthropology at the American Museum of Natural History in NYC. I went to a Fundamental Baptist boarding school for high school, so I actually never learned about evolution. I am really excited to learn about it now. It starts July 10th.