Child vs. Lesson Plan

My youngest nephew is seven, and a very bright child. He loves science, and keeps busy at home with educational toys that would bore or overwhelm many boys his age.

Up until recently, he did very well in school. But his second-grade teacher expects her students to sit quietly and read; she thinks he has a problem with this so she’s been sending notes home about it, which is upsetting him and his mother.

As I said, he’s seven and he’s a boy. Sitting quietly and reading is not his natural behavior. I’m not saying he shouldn’t learn this, but I’m sad that his current inability in this area is affecting his grades.

But that’s school. The teacher plans a learning experience for the entire class; those who can’t do what she says will be graded down.

Don’t think this only happens in school. When I was homeschooling, especially at the beginning, there were times when I found “the perfect curriculum” at a homeschool convention, brought it home, made lesson plans using it, and watched my children for signs of “delight-directed learning” or whatever the catchphrase was on the cover….but was disappointed to see none of that on their faces. That’s when I realized that they didn’t do well with the curriculum. I had to learn that children learn best when the subject is presented in a way that works for them…..which may not be the way that works best for the teacher.

Ultimately, gearing materials toward the child’s interests, intelligence level and developmental stage is what works. Successful homeschooling parents learn to do that for their children. Teachers, even very good teachers, can try to do that but how do you accommodate the needs of 30 children from a variety of backgrounds? You can’t.

That’s why homeschooling is so successful, especially once we stop trying to be a school and concentrate instead on giving each of our children what they need at a particular point in time.

Homeschooling for Free

It kind of alarms me that some homeschooling parents have a huge desire to homeschool their children for free or as little cost as possible.

I get that they’re trying to stretch a buck; aren’t we all these days? But the determination to homeschool for free (particularly at the high school level) seems a little short-sighted. In answer to such parents’ enthusiasm, all sorts of online businesses have now popped up offering “free homeschool curriculum,” but much of what they offer is worth about what you pay for it.

I won’t name sites, but I’ve clicked on the links people share in response to forum requests for “free homeschooling links,” and as far as I can tell these sites are light on substance and heavy on online advertising. The more people they attract, the more attractive they become to advertisers. Seems like that’s the reason for their existence.

That doesn’t mean that good homeschooling resources have to cost a fortune. There are many great resources available online that are no- or low-cost. If parents try looking for quality resources first and then find the low-cost options among them, instead of just looking for “FREE!”,  they might be pleasantly surprised.

Here are a few sites with resources that are high-quality and free:

Classic literature and history: Project Gutenberg

Free classic literature for Amazon Kindle (List 1 and List 2)

(How to read Kindle books on your PC for free)

Upper level math, science and history videos

Do you have others to add to this list? Please share the links in your comment—thanks!  :) 

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