Hands on History or Hands on Life
Many Homeschool Curriculum incorporates the hands on activities of cooking, dressing up and general creativity with a connection to a historical period or event. Though my children have at times enjoyed these hands on activities, as a whole they put undue stress on our family, which short changes the discipleship opportunities we have. We therefore tend to keep our learning short, based on reading books, talking and writing about issues and have mostly kept the creative side to everyday life skills.
To us it is more important that our children need know how to cook, not the foods of the ancient Greeks but food of today, and they need to be creative with modern skills and materials rather than mimic the creativity of the ancient Egyptians. Not to say we don't glean from these ancient peoples as many of the modern flavours and styles do originate from people of old but we don't focus on them in our study time. Most often then not, when these hands-on history activities take up so much of our day we don't have time for the relational building, mentoring that our children need and is our responsibility to provide.
Each of our children have different learning styles and it is believed that the children will learn their history better if they have a hands on activity associated with what they are reading. And no doubt this is true, but I encourage you, if these activities are taking up most of your day, or you find them stressful, there is another way.
Before we set out on any educational programme we need to know our purpose for using any curriculum. What do you want your children to learn? Is doing every hands on activity suggested necessary? How can you keep balance between study and every day life which is full of discipleship opportunities?
We try to make time for creativity every day in our home. Sometimes this is structured but mostly this time is Productive Free Time. It is during this time that the children are encouraged to pursue their own interests. It is during this time that I have found children dressing up and playing out the things they learn, it is during this time that the children dig deeper into the things we read about earlier in the day. But there are many days when the children participate in creative projects that have no connection with their formal studies but rather driven by their own gifts, talents and abilities.
Which ever way the children spend their Creative time they will be learning. The challenge though is not to fill their days with structured creativity leaving no room for them to life life and develop the skills so needed in today's world.
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