#homeschooljourney #building #education
Kids are still asking that same question that I asked when I was in school. “Why do I need to know how to do this?” Since I have been homeschooling I have been consciously taking advantage of the opportunity to answer the “why” question as much as possible. It can be challenging sometimes, but nevertheless I commit to seeking and articulating solid answers. Teaching with the building model in mind helps keep lessons organized. The approach also answers those “why” questions through physical application as well as spoken articulation.
Foundation Pieces & the Problem Today
Today, kids must learn more, and learn at a faster rate. I was reading an article on Scholastic.com that talked about how kindergarten is different than it was twenty years ago. Kindergarten today is more like the first grade of yesteryear. In my volunteer days just 4 years ago working with the first graders, there were some that still had not reached required landmarks like counting to one hundred or able to read all their kindergarten sight words. These kids were flagged for extra help, and were considered behind.
Play time as a technique for learning, an important part of the building approach, has been lost in our approach to education for some time now. Good old-fashioned play time, which used to be what kindergarten was back in the day, was a good learning tool. It provided interaction with other kids, and hands on learning with different objects. There was time to explore and problem solve. New topics could be integrated easily without the realization that another level was just built. It also lessened the pressure of school as a performance assessment, and learning as a means to categorize kids as deficient or proficient.
The Need for Building & Learning as Progression
Since the educational system is moving kids through core topics at a faster rate, building is really important. We as teachers and parent-teachers have to know what the foundation pieces are and be creative teaching them while staying on course with the rest of the educational world.
Teaching kids to build as they learn is not a new concept. Building has to start at the foundation level. Think about where reading and math begins. The child has to first recognize letters and numbers before they can do anything with them. If your child is over five years old, they have acquired a foundation for core topics.
When teaching something new, we have to think about where it fits on the foundation. Let us stick with the same example of a child recognizing letters and numbers. After the initial knowledge, the child learns that those letters have sounds, and the numbers have a certain values.
Kids need help making connections between what they already know and things they are learning. Making connections is still considered building. It may require a review of what they already know. Then, what they are currently learning can connect with it. The “why do I have to know this” question can be answered while making connections. Some things are need-to-know before moving on to the next task. Like knowing the sounds of letters before reading a word, or knowing that numbers have quantity before adding or subtracting them. Helping with making those connections will open up meaning for your child, and communicate learning as a progression. You don’t just learn something and that’s it. You build on it.
The reward is progress. When your child can make the connections and see the value of learning, you have accomplished the mission of building. But, don’t stop there, continue to build and enjoy the fruits. On the building path, your child will continue to make progress throughout their educational journey.
Like I said before, our kids these days are tracked into a structure requiring learning at a faster pace. Take the time to slow down just a moment. Review and reflect on what they are learning. Make sure the connections between current knowledge and new knowledge are being made too. Assessments and tests to verify their knowledge are part of the process, but knowing why is important too. Happy Building!