Thursday, November 18, 2010

My teaching philosophy

So far,  Elliot is responding to our home school with great enthusiasm and a happy attitude.  Because he loves it so far, a part of me wants to get everything "right," and is intimidated when thinking about the long road ahead.  Will he learn all he needs to know?  Home school experts claim that one of the first steps to success is to develop a personal teaching philosophy.

The following is subject to change as I gain experience.  For now, this is what I believe:

The driving force behind my teaching philosophy is love.  I love to teach and learn.  I love my son.  I care about his mind, his spirit and his healthy body.  I believe in our ability to provide a great education from home.  I believe learning happens through trial and error and by learning to ask questions, and questions on top of questions.  I believe we learn through writing, which forces us to imagine and construct thought.  I believe in practice, repetition and reaching for big goals.  I believe in the practice of silence for inner understanding.
I believe that much of what we learn comes to us indirectly and from hands on experience.  Children learn by doing.  They also learn from their peers and their loved ones.

Ensuring that Elliot has regular interaction with other children is one of the big issues we face. I am confident that our home will be filled with friends and that he will continue to be invited to participate in his friend's lives as time goes forward. In the few days before starting our school, I worried he would feel the absence of his public school classmates.  I wondered if a cloud of loneliness would hang over our heads.   So far, that has not happened.  In fact, one day this week he said, "I hope I never have to go back to those bunch of tattle talers".
Perhaps the unexpected delight of being in a classroom of one can be explained by Sociologist Elise Boulding, author of A Small Plot of Heaven.  She writes,

  "It is possible to drown children and adults in a constant flow of stimuli, forcing them to spend so much energy responding to the outside world that inward life and the creative imagination which flowers from it becomes stunted or atrophied."

  After discussing the benefits of solitude for children, she goes on to ask,

"what is happening to our children as a result of the fact that their time is so heavily scheduled both in and out of school, and even increasingly in summer---that once golden time of inner ripening for the child...dare we leave space of time?  Dare we have faith in the workings of the spirit-illuminated intellect?"

 Elliot builds a labyrinth as part of a lesson on the ancient Minoan Civilization.

Elliot makes his first stop motion animation short film.

And so we're moving forward in this new decision with joy.  Our sweet boy is hugging us more.  There seems to be a shift taking place within me as I reconstruct my role from mom to "teacher mom." 

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