Real Life Education

I have been rethinking how to approach our children's education. This rethinking is occurring in a much broader consideration of my philosophy of education. One of the main questions that must be answered is this: How do we learn? I have come to some conclusions based on my own experience with education. I was in school for about thirty years straight! I have also taught a variety of children, high school students, college students, and adults for almost twenty years now. My conclusion is that people learn and retain information and skills best when they are directly related to real life situations. Unfortunately, most education in our nation (both secular and religious) is attempted in a classroom/textbook setting. There is certainly a place for classrooms and textbooks. But this is only sometimes necessary and is only a fraction of the learning process.

Here is one small example. When Bethany learns math, she is required to do exercise after exercise of particular types of problems in order to learn how to solve them. I suppose there is some value in this. But when I give her the  job of keeping track of the finances related to caring for our chickens, our egg consumption, and our egg sales, she has a totally different motivation to do math. When she is allowed to prepare a dish for the family, she is doing math as well. In these situations math isn't just for practice, it is a means to an end that has real results.

I am going to seek more and more to integrate education with real life. I hope this will minimize "school" time, increase motivation, learning, and retention, and increase real contributions to our family life.