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A Moment with The Homeschool Minute ~ Raising Real Men – Hal & Melanie Young

by / Saturday, 28 September 2013 / Published in Blog, Weekly Newsletter-The Homeschool Minute
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Raising Real Men    

Hands-on learning is what your children are doing when you think you’re missing school! No, seriously. We used to be very concerned if our children fell behind a day or two because we took a field trip. Melanie remembers nagging the children to do their math on the way or trying to keep them awake to do school on the way home. Then we began to notice something very interesting:
The things we talked about on field trips were the things they remembered! I could talk all day long about the Southern battles of the Revolutionary War, but when we walked across the fields at Cowpens, talking about what happened there, they would never forget it.

Similarly, the weeks we took “off” to do hands-on activities became the weeks they talked about later. For many years, if the children stayed on track with their “conventional” lessons, we’d take a week off school every few months to do projects. Our adult children still talk about some of those activities from ten or fifteen years ago, like the time we made Roman helmets out of milk jugs–what fun!

So, what’s up with that? Of course it’s more fun to make a paper-mâché helmet than to do a math lesson, but does it really make a difference in learning? What’s the point of hands-on learning anyway?

Hands-on learning is simply any educational activity which lets you engage the senses as a part of the learning experience. The interesting thing is that there is growing evidence that it makes learning a lot more effective! It seems our brains take it more seriously when we use several inputs to learn something, and even more seriously when we use our new knowledge to do something.

Do you know what that means? It means that when our little boys use their LEGOs to build a model of the Battle of Thermopylae Pass and then tell their daddy all about it, they are probably going to remember it a lot longer than if they just listened to a lecture about it.

We’ve seen it happen time and time again right before our eyes with our boys. It’s convinced us that while there’s a lot of value in textbooks and workbooks, we weren’t being slack to use our freedom as homeschoolers to do lots and lots of field trips, activities, and projects. In fact, we were giving our children the very best, the most lasting kind of education.

Interested in doing more of that in your school? Look for our article in The Old Schoolhouse® Magazine’s upcoming annual print issue, Learning That Lasts!

Yours in the battle,

Hal and Melanie

If you would like to hear us speak in person, now is the time to let the conference near you know it! Send them to halandmelanie.com for more information. In the meantime, you can stream our new radio show, Making Biblical Family Life Practical, starting September 30th at 9pm Eastern!

 

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