What Does It Take to Have a Good Education?

This is a question I have been pondering much lately. If you have read my blog for very long or my previous blog at Homeschool Blogger, you will know that my philosophy of education has changed quite a bit since I first began homeschooling.

As an early homeschooler, I was very much a “textbook” type. We were going to sit at desks (or at least the table) and do school for a prescribed number of hours each day. We were going to complete x number of pages in the workbook. And, heaven forbid we might have any of those dreaded “gaps” in our learning. I read many books to tell me what my K5- first grade children should know. I even went on our school districts website to print out a complete scope and sequence for elementary school aged children.

But, I have come full circle, and I now find myself teaching my children with one of my first loves- real books. Because, I am more and more convinced that reading is the key to education. I mean, who needs to worry about gaps, if you can go and read and learn anything you need. And what is more exciting and stimulating to learning than a really good book?

Yes, I will admit that a certain level of mathematics ability is necessary to learn to get along in the world. And there is a certain body of knowledge that people are expected to have in order to be considered “well-educated” in our culture. And I do teach those things. We study math and grammar and learn certain geographical and historical and scientific facts that my children probably need to know to function in society. But, they are learning so much from real books.

Currently, we are reading Sign of the Beaver. We are discovering so much more about American Indians than I could have taught them from a textbook, and they are actually excited about it. Every day they want to read more and not stop. They are also learning about and wanting to read Robinson Crusoe (which Matt, a character in the story is reading to his Indian friend). We are reading The Story of the World Volume One. Never has history been so exciting- even for me. And I can’t wait until we reach the next chapter because we’re going to talk about the Greeks, and I have a copy of The Children’s Homer.

We are also, for fun, reading Martin the Warrior, and we have all developed a love for the Redwall novels. This is our second to read aloud, and we are listening to one from the library’s audio books online.

We went to the museum today and walked through the rooms. Not a room went by without one or the other of the children commenting on things we were seeing and relating it to something we had read. Even the little girls, who just listen occasionally to our novel reading, can recall bits and pieces of the stories we are reading and relate them to things we see.

If my children can learn to love reading, can see the many places a good book can take them, can read and learn for themselves, I believe they will be well-educated.

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