Wednesday, June 18, 2008

A Thomas Jefferson Education - Part III

My heart really sank when I read this list of negative traits that occur in students who are forced to learn something. I noticed far too many of them in a lot of my children. Here goes, hope you do better than I did:

When forced to learn, the author says, children will:
~ Do the bare minimum
~ Learn that learning means pleasing the authority figure
~ Learn that learning, schooling and studying are no fun
~ Learn that playing is when you don't have to learn
~ Think that to be a good student they have to study somebody else's interests
~ Think that their own interests must be pursued on their own time and that they aren't as valuable as the accepted topics of study
~ Realize that if nobody is making them study, they would rather be entertained than learn

Instead, Mr. Van DeMille suggests that we should redo our methods of teaching so that we can inspire our children to learn things that interest them and then they will actually learn more. Here is his list of lessons learned by the person who is inspired to get a great education:

~ There is so much to learn and it is so exciting
~ Learning is more fun than almost anything
~ I can learn on my own, in a group, or with help from a teacher or parent
~ All I need is a book and I can learn
~ In fact, I can learn even without a book
~ I love learning!
~ If I do more than is assigned, I'll learn more and have more fun.
~ My thoughts and ideas are as valuable as anybody else's. (pp. 42-43)

I would love to have my children think that learning is fun on a REGULAR basis, not just once in awhile. I can say that since we have been doing more unit studies and have moved away from the workbook approach, I am seeing a bit more enthusiasm. I am finding that it is hard at this point to keep them motivated to seek out learning. If they happen to stumble across it, that seems to be okay, but not too many of them are actively seeking out learning situations. There have been many years of bad habits, so I guess I cannot expect them to disappear instantly.

Tomorrow I would like to summarize for you the five falsehoods that the author sees in our country regarding education. He believes that they have been brought about by the fact that American's have been moving away from books and getting most of their learning from TV and the internet. It is a fascinating essay!

God Bless!