Diana's Homeschool Blog

Welcome to my homeschool blog, which offers insights into loving learning, loving your family, loving history, loving homeschooling, and enjoying your life! With your cup of coffee in hand, take a break to laugh with me, to have your heart refreshed, to be reminded of how cool your kids really are, and to consider the amazing adventure of being a homeschool mom. AND, if you are interested in the History Revealed curriculum, be sure to check out my Teaching Tips!

Artificial Homeschool Curriculum?

Artificial Homeschool Curriculum?

 

Here's a homeschool riddle for you: How are a muffin and a curriculum alike?

Answer: Whether or not we devour it!!

The story

Some years ago, I was asked to make muffins in a hurry by my mother, using a store-bought mix she handed to me. Since I enjoy cooking, I was glad to help her out. Unfortunately, I licked the spoon when it was over.

Mistake. The taste was awful!

The contrast

A few days later, I was to speak to a group of homeschoolers, so I decided to create a taste test in order to highlight the connection between muffins and curriculum.

I made a batch of store-bought blueberry muffin mix (with artificial blueberries), and a batch of homemade blueberry muffins (with fresh blueberries). The assembled folks got to sample a bit of each, and were then asked to comment on the flavors. Would you be surprised to hear that they each loved the homemade muffins (eagerly eating every morsel), and wouldn’t even finish half of the artificial-blueberry-store-mix muffin?

Why is that not a surprise? Obviously, nothing can compare with fresh, quality ingredients.

Quality in, quality out.

The same is true in education. To see this for yourself, try this experiment:

Offer a child a worksheet on bears from a textbook you know is boring, and watch his level of enthusiasm. Did it drop like a brick?

Then offer the same child a trip to the zoo to see bears. What happens to enthusiasm in the second scenario? It skyrockets, doesn’t it? 

"Mom!! Those are BEARS!! Look at them!!! Wow, they are AMAZING!!"

I know what you’re thinking:

“No way!  I can’t entertain my kids all day long.”

“No one taught me that way, and I did pretty well.”

“The real world isn’t like that, and they better learn now that life is boring.”

“How on earth would I keep up that kind of schedule?“

"How on earth would I teach all the subjects?”

“How on earth would we get anything else (like laundry) done?”

Did I miss your comment??? Though most of you wish that it were possible to give your kids fresh, quality ingredients in their education, you may have resigned yourselves to the necessity of an artificial, boring, standard curriculum.

But—what if it were possible?

Suspend your arguments for a moment and ask, “How much more would my kids enjoy learning if it were fresh and interesting (like making muffins with real blueberries)?"

Then ask yourself, “Could my kids enjoy learning if we tailored it to their particular tastes and interests (like making muffins with apples instead of blueberries)?"

If you are willing—for the sake of a satisfying educational experience—to break out of the box, then join me next time for Part 2, where I'll offer some guidelines and suggestions on how to evaluate whether your homeschool curriculum is artificial or fresh.

Slight adjustments, not major overhauls.

Btw, I don't subscribe to the you-have-to-do-it-all-by-yourself style of homeschooling—where you need three Ph.D’s to create detailed lesson plans for self-designed curriculum for every child, printed on your own printing press with paper you made yourself—in order to give them a “fresh” quality in their learning. Instead, I am talking about making some slight adjustments that could have your children eagerly asking, “Mom, is it time for school yet?”

Teaching Tip 7 — Comprehension
Teaching Tip 6 — Storytelling
 

Comments 5

Guest - Heather Dubay on Tuesday, 10 March 2015 16:04

Yes, please! My husband and i were just talking about this last night. I am eagerly awaiting your next post!

Yes, please! My husband and i were just talking about this last night. I am eagerly awaiting your next post!
Guest - Carla Marvin on Thursday, 12 March 2015 05:16

Our homeschool is fun a lot of the time, but there seem to be days when I wonder if he is even interested at all. It's been really hard since he started ABA Therapy and we had to change our schedule and even cut out some of the fun extras because he is way too tired to do more than just a little bit each day.

Our homeschool is fun a lot of the time, but there seem to be days when I wonder if he is even interested at all. It's been really hard since he started ABA Therapy and we had to change our schedule and even cut out some of the fun extras because he is way too tired to do more than just a little bit each day.
Guest - dianawaring on Thursday, 12 March 2015 17:41

Ah, Carla. . . We do the best that we can, don't we? One of the most wonderful things about homeschooling is the way we can tailor it to the needs of our children and to specific situations. And, you are such an example of that!

Ah, Carla. . . We do the best that we can, don't we? One of the most wonderful things about homeschooling is the way we can tailor it to the needs of our children and to specific situations. And, you are such an example of that!
Guest - Mari Swindley on Thursday, 12 March 2015 22:49

Great article. I have 1 of my 5 who is very hard to pin down on 'what I like' - to do or learn about etc. But I thought back to when he's been most enthusiastic - in Wellington, when we got to see Dr Who Spectacular, we went next door to the Marine & Land museum. He loved it - even running around & having a go on the exhibits. I realised he's like that at zoo's, museums, anything out of the house where he can 'do' - doesn't seem to matter even what it is he gets to do. As long as he doesn't have to read or write, he becomes animated. Believe me, that is so far from normal for him at home. So, when we move, our first year is going to be on the road as much as possible, taking in all the sights Canterbury has to offer. :)

Great article. I have 1 of my 5 who is very hard to pin down on 'what I like' - to do or learn about etc. But I thought back to when he's been most enthusiastic - in Wellington, when we got to see Dr Who Spectacular, we went next door to the Marine & Land museum. He loved it - even running around & having a go on the exhibits. I realised he's like that at zoo's, museums, anything out of the house where he can 'do' - doesn't seem to matter even what it is he gets to do. As long as he doesn't have to read or write, he becomes animated. Believe me, that is so far from normal for him at home. So, when we move, our first year is going to be on the road as much as possible, taking in all the sights Canterbury has to offer. :)

[…] Last week, I shared the story of making blueberry muffins two different ways. . . And then compared that to homeschool curriculum. (Read it here.) […]

[…] Last week, I shared the story of making blueberry muffins two different ways. . . And then compared that to homeschool curriculum. (Read it here.) […]
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