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“They cram to pass, and not to know, they do pass, and they don’t know.” California Bar Exam anyone?

I am about half way through A Home Education, and I thought I’d share some of the more salient points that I’ve recently come across.

“You want a child to remember? Then secure his whole attention, the fixed gaze of his mind, as it were, upon the fact to be remembered; then he will have it: by a sort of photographic (!) process, that fact or idea is ‘taken’ by his brain, and when he is an old man, perhaps, the memory of it will flash across him.”

“you must not only fix his attention upon each new lesson, but each must be so linked into the last that it is impossible for him to recall one without the other following in its train.”

The mother “must ask herself seriously,
Why must the children learn at all?
What should they learn?
How should they learn it?”

Wonderful wonderful recap of her main ideas:

-children’s lessons should provide mental material for their growth
– should exercise the several powers of their minds
– should furnish them with fruitful ideas, and
– should afford them knowledge, really valuable for its own sake, accurate and interesting, of the kind that the child may recall as a man with profit and pleasure

1. Knowledge most valuable to the child is that which he gets with his own eyes and ears and fingers (under direction) in the open air.
2. That the claims of the schoolroom should not be allowed to encroach on the child’s right to long hours daily for exercise and investigation.
3. That the child should be taken daily, if possible, to scenes–moor or meadow, park, common, or shore–where he may find new things to examine, and so add to his store of real knowledge. That the child’s observation should be directed to flower or boulder, bird or tree; that in fact, he should be employed in gathering the common information which is the basis of scientific knowledge.
4. That play, vigorous healthful play, is, in turn, fully as important as lessons, and regards both bodily health and brain-power.
5. That the child, though under supervision, should be left much to himself–both that he may work in his own way on the ideas that he receives, and also that he may be the more open to natural influences.
6. That the happiness of the child is the condition of his progress; that his lessons should be joyful, and that occasions of friction in the schoolroom are greatly to be deprecated.

Here’s somewhat of a photo dump of things we’ve been up to “outdoors” lately. We even saw rock formations made from the ocean floor, and talked about what coyotes might like to eat, based on one of our outings.

Also, one of the most exciting aspects to me, is that we picked up some tree and plant guides, so I can guide the girls to start identifying plants. Hopefully more will come of that soon, and we can get a copy of our own to bring out “into the field.”

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The next part of the books discusses academics–what should be taught and how. While I have touched on this a bit in prior posts, I am excited to get the information directly from the source. I will keep you all posted!

If you can’t wait, here’s a great wiki entry about her and her teaching philosophy.

P.S. Damn I am lucky to live in this state!

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