Thursday, August 03, 2006

To read and think over

This Week in Education hosts the 78th Carnival of Education, and it looks like there's a lot here this week. What would Charlotte Mason think of a "School of Rock approach to education?" (Is working on a class software project enough to educate young consciences in wisdom, or is it too utilitarian? Does it touch what Ruth Beechick calls the "heart" side of education?)

Scheiss Weekly has a few things to say to homeschooling parents who don't want their progeny to have to suffer through all those boring classes that they don't think they ever used. The guest blogger at Edspresso looks at students as customers (rather than as one of many ingredients in a final product). (Is that a good analogy or does it also miss the mark?) Don't miss Rebecca's comment, about the lack of what she calls "discrete chunks" in education. Here's a sample:
But what if the customer wants the information parceled out in discrete and sequential chunks, removed from the larger context? For instance, one of my children is at soccer camp this week, and I am fully expecting that the cost of this camp will include passing, dribbling, and shooting drills removed from the context of a soccer game. I'd be really upset if the camp was all games from beginning to end. Another child takes piano lessons, and I am fully expecting that the cost of the lessons will include his instructor asking him to isolate and practice every measure in a piece of music that causes him trouble. I'd be really upset if he was told to only play pieces from beginning to end, no matter how many notes he dropped or where the rhythm went. How can we expect him to know the joy of playing in time with a group of fellow musicians? Yet another child of mine just got a skateboard, and he is happily practicing over and over again how to balance going forward on the level, before he tries turning left or right or going uphill or downhill. It's only natural for him to start out that way. (from Rebecca's comment on the post Serving the Customer)
(I think what Rebecca's talking about would fit into the idea that "Education is a discipline." CM also referred to the "disciplinary subjects" which were the ones that required the kind of systematic, bit-upon-bit work Rebecca describes.)

Not in the carnival, but also worth reading: Ann Voskamp's August column in Christian Women Online, Habits and Horizons: Blazing New Trails. If your kids are enjoying holidays a little too much and you hate having to grapple with setting up good school-year habits all in the same week as getting into new books and finding the map you stored that goes with this year's history--go read Ann's wise words. (Not all homeschoolers are even on holidays right now--some people are just finishing a school year and some have already started the next. I know more than one family that starts their "new year" every January. But this is still good advice for whenever good routines need to be re-established.)


Krakovianka said...

More on the context idea:

The children working on "out of context skills" do know the context in which the skills will be applied. They already have a mental picture of what a soccer game is like, or how the piece of music should sound. If the whole is understood, individual parts can be learned or studied "out of context" much more profitably.

Not sure if that's germaine to the original post, because I haven't read it, but it's what occurred to me as I read yours. :-)

Mama Squirrel said...

Sometimes Charlotte Mason had children learn from parts to whole, though. Like making "pothooks" before they learned to form complete letters in handwriting. But in that case I guess you could say that they knew what the letters looked like in the first place (although when you're young, you don't always see how the parts relate to the whole).

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