Thursday, September 26, 2013

Homeschooling: Do You Ask Your Kids What They Want to Learn?

When it was decided that we were going to homeschool our 16 and 10 year old boys, I already had a plan in my head of what I thought we should do.  However, I know that having your kids "buy in" to what you are doing is, of course, a big plus. Before we officially started our homeschool year, I asked both boys to take some time to compose a list of all the things that they wanted to learn.  To be truthful, I wasn't sure that this would work, because I was convinced that my ten year old would write a list of Star Wars activities and my 16 year old would write, well -- nothing.

Be careful what you wish for.

My youngest son's list was called, "6 Things I want to Learn" and was heavily illustrated with pencil drawing:

1.  How to play the cello
2.  How to make Lego movies
3.  The Revolutionary and Civil Wars
4.  How to be a Lego Artist
5.  How to be a soldier
6.  The Old Times (where he added drawings of figures representing medival characters)

Joshua is thrilled to be studying the Civil War right now, and he is developing his Lego Artist skills in a free class at called: Lego Club for Homeschoolers with a different theme each month, taught by moderator and teacher Roni Bergerson of Eastern Wind Academy and Outside the Brick.  In October, Josh will be doing a build about Ancient Rome, using LEGOS he already has in his stash.

We are also doing research about purchasing a cello and doing lessons, but in the meantime, he has been learning about classical music and composers on websites such as Classics for Kids and Making Music Fun.

Next on the list will be downloading the LEGO Movie Maker app for my iPad. This should be fun and creative way for Josh to incorporate story writing and development along with his desire to make movies and use LEGOS.

My teenager also spent spent time making a list, which had many interesting topics:
  • 20th century America
  • American government / economics
  • 20th century China
  • Japanese government / economics
  • Geography of Asia
  • Zoology
  • Botany
  • Astronomy
  • Properties of elements
  • Marine Biology
  • Anatomy
  • cooking
  • Psychology of teenage children 
  • Teaching strategies
  • Japanese language / handwriting
  • Music Appreciation
  • Art Appreciation
  • Read several classics
Yes, he really had "psychology of teenage children" on his list! 

My son is technically a Junior, so he has his work cut out for him if he wants to accomplish this list!  His desire is to be a teacher and eventually teach in Japan.  He has already taught himself a lot of the Japanese language and writing, and trips to the used book store always include a purchase of some book on Asian culture.  Thankfully, he is a voracious reader, so many of these topics can be covered by furnishing him with books to study.

For his homeschooling, I will be spending a lot of time reading the ebooks by Lee Binz, and visiting her website, The Homescholar!  She has so many good ideas to implement.  

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