Wednesday, May 20, 2009
My Kids Love Experiential Learning
One benefit of homeschooling is having more control over a child's time, meaning, having more freedom and flexibility.
Homeschooled children can do things that schooled kids just don't have time to do. One thing homeschooled children have is more opportunities for experiential learning.
Some towns rave that their fifth graders do "Nature's Classroom" for one week in fifth grade. Sadly that is the only time the students get any real experiential learning in their thirteen years in public school.
I am happy that my children can do a once a week experiential nature class (science). Yes it is a bit of a drive. Yes it costs money for tuition and gasoline. Yes it means they are not home to do homeschooling lessons that day. Yes the program is great. Yes the program is imperfect. Yes there are sometimes problems with the program, most usually with new teachers.
It is hard to capture in a photo but I did it this time. I caught the pure joy in my older son's face. This was the end of six hours hiking in the woods and swimming (with clothes on) in what they call the "beaver bog".
Yes we have deer ticks in Connecticut. Yes my children get ticks while in this class. Yes my children have had Lyme Disease.
Before this program began we did family nature walks and hikes but my kids were a little afraid of bugs (especially bees) and they knew nothing of native plants or edibles (gag at the thought!) and they preferred pool swimming to lake-beach swimming. After enrolling in the program they learned about plants and trees and bugs and birds. They are not afraid of dirt or mud or slogging through a swamp or standing on a beaver dam or squeamish about having a leech on them or swimming in a river. They haul rocks and logs, help build shelters and dig rocks from stream beds (although they still don't like to put their clothes in the hamper or make their beds at home).
The benefits of this program outweigh the negative's.
My kids love this class. I hope it remains a good program and we are able to continue having them partcipate in it.