Friday, August 13, 2010

More Education, Less Workbooks.

The kids just had their exams again. It was definitely a week of NO STRESS. Can you imagine that? Exams are on and the kids go about their usual business. To them, there really is no difference whether they are having exams or not. Me? I've learned to chill too. So far, they've been doing quite well. I haven't had an opportunity yet to say "I told you so". Therefore, I'm not going to worry about their exams anymore.

In fact, hounding them on exam results is the last thing I want to do. I already know that their school exam results is not an indicator of their intelligence or whether they are increasing in knowledge and skills. Yet, there is a little "kiasu-ism" in me that want to see my children top their classes. I'm trying hard to get away from that kind of thinking.

And so, I'm going to change my homeschooling strategy. Errr... actually its more like semi-homeschooling. Since the kids started to get older, I've not been doing much reading with them. I make sure they read books, but I haven't been spending that much time sitting and reading the books with them. When I do have my "semi-homeschool" time with them, it has been getting them to do workbooks. Obviously, they are not very enthusiastic when I say it's time for mommy's school. So after some contemplation, homeschool time with the kids now mean "let's read and discuss".

There are several benefits to having less workbooks and more reading:
  • No pressure on the kids. It doesn't feel like "work" which is a taboo word for them.
  • Can be on any subject, not just what the school wants them to learn. They can have better general knowledge this way.
  • More enjoyable learning. Less stressed out mommy which leads to less stressed out kids, which leads to love for learning.
  • Kids will have a wider vocabulary.
  • You can encourage your children's interest.
  • Practical learning.
My daughter K loves to learn about countries. So today, I sat down with K and went through a brochure about holidaying in Australia. As a follow up activity, I asked her to write me an essay on where she would like to go in Australia and why. You know what? There was no whining and no complains. If you know my girl, she is a major whiner. After dinner, she and her brother went upstairs to their room. I thought they were either playing or bumming around. To my surprise, I opened their door to see my son reading and my daughter writing her essay. Whoa! I thought aliens had taken over their bodies or something.

Anyway, it just goes to show how our approach in teaching them can make a big difference in their education. The workbooks? Well, there are still quite a few on the shelves and they will still have to do them. But it will be more like practice sessions. I will let them do however many (or few) pages they like. I won't really emphasize on it anymore.

Well, just thought I'd share a little bit of how my homeschooling (oops, semi-homeschooling) was coming along. Next on my list is to enroll in a beading/jewelry making class with my girl.
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