4 Ways to Avoid Homeschool Animal School- do you use any of these ideas?
This week's topic is gifts/talents/career exploration. So, I pulled up a classic post that says it well. Join us!
Homeschoolers remember the story of the Animal School:
Once upon a time, the animals got together to form a school so that all their offspring would be well educated. First, they set standards so that all the students would receive a uniform, quality education. Then they set up their programs: flight class, climbing class, running class, singing class.
The animal parents were soon dismayed to find out that their beloved child was struggling in some classes and met qualifications for an IEP. The school psychologist informed:
-the eagle parents that while their eaglet had some hope of improvement in singing class with more tutoring, he was experiencing a statistically significant level of disability in running and climbing
-the deer parents that their fawn was struggling in all areas except running (an area he appeared to have some mastery)
-the cheetah parents that their cub had difficulty waiting on the rest of the students in running class and would need special compensations in singing and flying
All children have areas that are weaknesses. It could be spelling or math or art or attention or coordination. While we all have to work to make certain our homeschoolers learn to conquer, cope, or compensate for those weaknesses, we would do well to avoid making the weaknesses the main focus of our attention.
Instead, it is wise for homeschooling parents to help their child discover and develop his/her strengths and giftings.
So avoid having your own animal school by:
1) Enrich your child's experiences with creative, out-of-the box field trips
In my 20+ years of homeschooling, my kids and I (and usually our co-op or support group) have taken field trips to historic sites, wastewater treatment plants, plays, dress rehearsals for operettas, museums, dams, apple farms, state parks, beaches, big cities, re-enactments, concerts, film festivals and more. Some grossed the kids out, others were ho-hum, but some inspired my kids to explore more.
2) Study something unusual
If you only cover the 3R's, you may miss a gifting in your child that is waiting to be developed. My oldest son discovered his love of philosophy from a workbook his grandmother sent him, my 3rd son discovered his love of filmmaking as he watch a gazillion historical-fiction films with his history-buff next oldest brother, my second son and daughter learned to love cooking from my friend, Lois, who taught them the ropes in co-op.
3) Explore any interest
If a child expresses an interest or shows a gifting in any area, make the development of the interest/gift part of your homeschool curriculum. When in high school, my daughter developed a passion for photography, we had her take classes at the local community college. My son who loves making music (well, ALL my kids love to make music), develops that gift by playing in 2 praise bands, singing in homeschool choir, playing with his friends and siblings, and taking courses like History of Rock.
As your child explores, he'll probably discard some interests (mine discarded karate) and gradually clarify what he/she wants to do. These clarified gifts and interests may lead to career choices. Better to explore many things ahead of time than to send them off to college clueless.
4) Do some active Career Exploration
I have my high schoolers do my Career Exploration Workbook and (free) Career Exploration Questionnaire.
I developed these years ago based on my work as a counselor (I do a fair amount of career counseling). I wanted my kids to have a Godly look at gifts, talents, experiences, values, and interests- and seeking God's will and direction. These are the topics I included in the workbook.
It seems to me that kids make the best choices about college major and/or career if they understand what God has put inside them, how to value their experiences, how to seek His guidance, and how to choose priorities. Career Exploration Workbook and Career Exploration Questionnaire help a high schooler do this.