Thursday, April 9, 2009

When to Teach Non-Skill Based Subjects?

First, to define the skill-based subjects, they are:

penmanship--print, cursive and typing
language arts--phonics, Latin (grammar, derivatives), composition (writing, spelling, and applied grammar, research)
mathematics

These subjects are the focus of our homeschool and we do them every school day because they are things that you need to learn how to do but once you know them you can really learn how to do just about anything else.

The other subjects that many people want to teach include: history, science, nature studies, modern foreign languages, music, art, etc. And I see a lot of questions about how to fit it all in. Most of these subjects really do not need to be taught formally and many of them are best learned informally.

When to teach non-skill based subjects:

history--you can read books at bedtime or do this 1-3 times a week or just work on fun history projects as they come up.

science--during the days you do not have history you can do projects or read about ideas.

nature studies--send you children outdoors to play. Keep butterfly nets, bug boxes, magnifying glasses, and field guides on hand for them to use on their own. Take them to the park, formal gardens, the woods, the lake, etc. This is just something they do on their own.

modern foreign languages--watch DVDs in the language, read books, get some CD-Rom games or a program and let them play with it. Let it be fun and a hobby. Worry about true study in high school.

art--let them have free access to art supplies so that they can create when the bug strikes them. Don't worry about the mess just clean it up knowing that your children are learning to be creative. Once they are old enough visit an art museum, or go to the local art fair or craft fair. Look at books about artists as a fun bedtime thing, check out DVDs about artists and let your child watch it.

music--you may want to do lessons if your goal is for your child to learn how to play. This means you will need to set aside time to practice each day. For all other music study, just play music and a great variety of it. Play everything, sing songs together, have fun, be silly. Play with instruments and watch DVDs about composers and then listen to their music in the car as you are running errands. Enjoy it.

Basically, a lot of these content subjects that people stress over teaching can really just be experienced through living life in the elementary school years. Check out books, DVDs, Cd's, go places and just have fun together and talk about things.

Do you have a great idea on how to learn about a content subject through life experiences?

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