I’m back from a wonderful weekend away at the Midwest Homeschool Convention. I have been to homeschool conventions in the past, but this was my first time at Midwest and it was enormous. I met some of my homeschool support system from the internet, including ladies from Homeschool Share and 8 ladies and a gent from TOS Homeschool Crew. I wandered the vendor hall, bought the curriculum materials on my list and the extras I found – all while staying at my budget.
I also attended 7 workshops and took pages of notes. My three favorite workshops were:
- Teaching Boys and Other Children Who Would Rather Make Forts All Day by Andrew Pudewa
- Mastery Learning, Ability Development, and Individualized Education by Andrew Pudewa
- Rebuilding a Culture of Virtuous Boyhood by Doug Phillips
Instead of trying to transcribe my more than 10 pages of notes here, I will share a few of the things that really stood out in my mind from these 3 workshops.
1. Boys and girls really are different. God made them that way, and our culture tries to make us forget that. Our job is to grow boys into men and girls into women by inspiring them with godly examples in their parents and others we allow to mentor them. Boys should dress like boys/men, while girls should dress like girls/women. Boys need to be about their father’s work, while little girls need to be learning their mother’s work. Yes – we are talking traditional, God-ordained roles! It’s time to fix what our culture has broken.
2. The power of repetition only works if we use it properly. Called mastery learning, it involves the right environment (saturated with what we want a child to learn), the right period/age (the younger a person is the easier it is to master skills and knowledge), the right teacher (a parent who can offer time + love), and the right method.
The method was really what stood out to me. You learn something until it becomes easy (mastered), then continue daily practice in that thing while adding the next thing. For example, a child may learn to recite one scripture, math fact family, or poem. We will use math facts, beginning with addition/subtraction families. Once the +1/-1 facts are mastered they keep reciting that every day and start to learn the next fact family, the 2’s. When the +2/-2 facts are mastered the 3’s are added to the daily recitation. Every single day the child is repeating all 3. Continue this way for months on end, until the addition and subtraction facts are all mastered.
When you hit the point where this daily practice takes a long, long time begin a new set of mastery items. In our example we would start learning multiplication/division fact families. We start with 1’s and keep repeating them daily until we’ve learned them completely. The old math facts are split in half and the child practices half each day. That means on Monday they may recite the +/- 1’s, 2’s, 3’s, 4’s, and 5’s after practicing the multiplication/division family. Tuesday while doing the daily multiplication/division family the child also recites the +/- 6’s, 7’s, 8’s, and 9’s.
Each new multiplication/division fact family will be practiced daily for months on end, while the addition/subtraction fact families are practiced 1/2 at a time over 2 days. When this practice once again becomes very long start practicing the +/- facts over the course of 3 days instead of 2, the multiplication/division facts in half over 2 days, and something new all together every single day.
Okay, there is so much more I could tell about, but I need to go get things planned for this week!