I know I’ve raved about homeschool on this blog since day one. I’ve told you why I love it, how I love it, and why I think it’s what’s best for my kids. I’ve told you my reasons for pulling my littles from public school, and that it never occurred to me that I could do so with Big, though I ardently wish it had. Well, this week has given me the proof I needed to validate all that raving, and it’s all because of trivial pursuit.
We love board games in this house, as you may have figured out by now. We are huge proponents of family game night, and it can pop up any day of the week, usually several times. We are fortunate that every one of us truly likes every one of the other family members, and we spend more time together than any other family I know. Playing, laughing, cooking together, rambling around the farm… We’d rather be with each other than anybody.
Board games are great fun, but they are also great learning tools. My personal favorites are those that involve truly using your brain–brain skill–like Scrabble, Cranium, and trivia games. I kid you not, I have six different versions of trivial pursuit on our board game shelf, 2 versions of Cranium, and several other trivia games to boot. Even so, I never thought about how trivia games could show me just how much my littles are learning in homeschool until my beautiful husband picked up a video game this week that has several board games on it–Scrabble, Monopoly, Risk, and Trivial Pursuit.
Now I don’t usually play video games. But this is Trivial Pursuit!
So we sat down two nights in a row to play. Here’s what I learned:
- My littles are Wicked Smart.
- Littlest knows just as much about the world as Middle and Big.
- It’s starting to really be a challenge to beat them.
- I am super-competitive when it comes to showing off my brain skill. (Okay, so that was the one bad thing.)
Playing a hardcore game of Trivial Pursuit with them was not only fun, it gave me a chance to see what they know outside the classroom setting. It was like giving them a test. And they aced it, with flying colors.
See, one of the reasons I am unhappy with the current public school system is the constant cramming of facts for test prep that leaves kids so full they can’t possibly remember it all long-term. There is a lack of substance in the current system that wasn’t there when I was in school 640 years ago. So I approach homeschool from that angle. You may remember that I had planned this year to be a series of geography unit studies about Asia and Africa. Because I didn’t want my littles to just memorize a bunch of maps. I wanted them to learn about each country as they learned its place in the world so they would have more of a point of reference than just boundary lines on paper. I want them to remember this stuff, not forget it in 3 years. You may also remember that I almost chucked the whole thing because the planning process (coupled with my crazed perfectionism) was arduous at best. Then we studied China according to the plan, and the Littles loved it so much I decided to keep going. Well, here we are a couple of weeks into the new semester and we’re still studying Asia. I had begun to panic, trying to figure out when in the hell we were going to be able to move on to Africa.
Then it hit me.
We so do not have to do Africa this year. I can relax and enjoy Teaching Them Everything about Asia, because we will still be homeschooling next year, and that will be the time for Africa. So I can relax and Teach Them Everything about that, too. It was an epiphany. I hate to admit it, but I was kind of trying to cram. I learned this week why I have to stop myself from doing that.
Those games of Trivial Pursuit showed me that my Littles are truly learning from me. They are retaining information from as far back their first year of homeschool, and I mean information their dad and oldest brother didn’t even know. They were kicking ass and taking names at Trivial Pursuit–in every topic.
I was one proud mama.
Here’s the thing. Homeschooling gives us a chance to use literature, projects, field trips, and other out-of-the-box teaching tools to help our littles Truly Learn every subject they take on. It gives us a chance to teach them at a higher level than public school would, or to slow down and make sure they have really grasped a concept before moving on. My crush on this experience gets stronger every day, but never so much as when I see the proof of its benefits.
And I don’t even have to give them a test.
What about you? What evidence have you seen that homeschooling is working well for your kids? I’d love to hear all about it.
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