Monday, February 11, 2013

Favorite Subject: Do I have to pick just one?

Normally I'm a very decisive person.  Ask me my favorite ice cream flavor, my favorite pizza topping, my favorite color and I can answer instantly.  Yet when I stopped to consider my favorite subject to teach...well that's like asking me to pick my favorite child.  No, it's harder because I only have one child but you get my drift.  So bear with me while I go through a typical day of school and see if I can't come up with something.  We always start the day with....


For the last two years our main Bible study has been Kay Arthur's Discover 4 Yourself series.  Schnickelfritz likes it because he's given permission to color in his Bible.  I love it because I can see some really intelligent thinking going on in that little mind.  Ken Ham of Answers in Genesis says one of the reasons kids leave the faith when they get to college is because they've only been fed a diet of Bible stories: Jonah and the Whale, David and Goliath, Zacchaeus the Wee Little Man.   How can they defend their faiths when confronted by evolutionist science teachers or belligerent philosophy professors?  When we studied Genesis, Schnickelfritz learned that Cain's wife must have been one of his sisters (the Bible says he lived for 930 years and had other sons and daughters).  More impressive to me was our study of Daniel.  Through inductive reasoning he was able to recognize the four-headed leopard in Daniel 7 and the four-horned goat in Daniel 8 were representing the same kingdom but the Little Horn in Dan 7 represented a different leader than the Small Horn in Dan 8.  Before I started homeschooling, I'd have never thought a nine year old could grasp such difficult prophecy but I saw it happening before my eyes!.

So I love Bible, but is it my favorite?  Better look at some more subjects first...


I'll be honest and say this was my least favorite subject in school.  Your typical textbook condenses a person's lifetime into a paragraph at best.  It seemed like and endless list of facts to be memorized for a test: name, date, name, battle, general, name, date.  After the test there was nothing about a list that would make me want to save it for future reference so I'd flush it all out to make room for the next chapter's test.

When we studied Missouri history I used a fellow home schooling mom's self published book A Guide to Studying Missouri History Through Literature.  No more short paragraphs packed with facts but very dry to read. As we read each living book we became engrossed in the characters.  The Explorations of Pere Marquette tells the story of the French priest who discovered the Mississippi and Missouri rivers (and as a bonus it's a very God-honoring story).  A Boy for a Man's Job is the story of a 13 year old boy who led the party that founded the city of St. Louis.  How's that for a story to inspire my own young man that even the young can do great things.  Of course, the best part of Missouri history was getting to go visit the places where it actually happened.  We love events with re-enactors who are passionate about their history and willing to share what they know. It's so much more captivating than touring a museum or historic home filled with items we mustn't touch.

A front row seat at the Battle of Wilson's Creek

This year we've been using Mystery of History ...because we're not reading whole books we can cover time much more quickly and yet  each chapter is an in depth study of one person or one event.  We've turned our hallway into a giant timeline and we're able to see how events on different continents are chronologically related.  And I've supplemented our study with a great new lapbook/notebook product from Homeschool in the Woods called Project Passport but you'll have to read about that here because I need to keep searching for my favorite subject. 


I loved science when I was in school, in fact I was the physics teacher's aid my junior year and wrote his tests for him.  The best part are the experiments and hands-on activities.  And our main curriculum, Apologia's Exploring Creation series is loaded with them.  We've had plenty over the years from our paper clip model of the relative distance of planets to our Skittle Scavenger hunt to demonstrate how some creatures use camouflage to avoid being eaten.  In fact I went a little overboard on that last one psyching the kids up that they were Skittle predators on this timed search through a box of multi-colored paper.  One girl started popping them in her mouth as fast as she found them and I was yelling "Wait, we need to count them first!" (Incidentally, the TOS crew is currently reviewing Apologia's elementary science books so you may want to check that out.)

One of our favorite resources is Disney's Science of Imagineering DVD series.  What could be better for a kid than using amusement park rides to demonstrate physics concepts.  After Schnickelfritz and I went through them all I ended up using them to teach a co-op class last fall.We made electric circuits with food, transferred energy from basketballs to tennis balls, (and launched them way into the air), did our own version of jerking a tablecloth off without disturbing the place settings (Newton's first law of motion). 


Okay this definitely wasn't my favorite subject as a student.  I was one of the last ones picked for dodge ball or kickball...and don't even mention rope climbing, I couldn't make it five feet off the ground.  But now we can pick our favorite activities and count it as PE time.  Schnickelfritz and I both take karate.  He's actually a purple belt and mine's yellow so he's been able to teach me for a change.  Our other favorite thing is the monthly orienteering events in our neck of the woods.  Of course I'm not really teaching here, just participating so let's continue our search for favorite subject that I teach.


Math is a subject that came easy to me and comes easy to my son.  Often we see it more as a puzzle to solve rather than a lesson to learn.  This was especially true when I cut out shapes to represent the variables to solve for the unknowns in our Balance Bender math.

 We use math to play some of our favorite games...Muggins for example.  My son has an interest in magic tricks and there are a lot that involve math to appear to read minds or manipulate the outcomes.  (You can read more in my post It's Math-magical). 

Well I'm not getting any closer to determining a favorite subject.  I always thought learning was fun and I'm trying to get my son to feel the same way.  Games, field trips, videos, living books, whatever it takes.  If we're both enjoying what we're doing then it's one of our favorite subjects. 

Of course you're encouraged to check out some other blogs from other Crew members who may not be as indecisive as I am.

1 comment:

A Learning Journey said...

Fellow crew member stopping by to follow your blog and read your blog cruise post. I had a hard time choosing just one subject too. I ended up choosing two subjects. Pleas estop by my blog to read about what subjects we enjoy most. It looks like you do have loads of fun teaching. Have a great day!

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