What is pedagogy?
Many discussions of pedagogy make the mistake of seeing it as primarily being about teaching...Pedagogy needs to be explored through the thinking and practice of those educators who look to accompany learners; care for and about them; and bring learning into life.
On August 31st. I purchased what I knew would be a basic 6th grade curriculum bundle package covering English Language Arts, Math, Science and Social Studies. Just when I thought my journey had gotten a little bit smoother, I found errors in the curriculum. Everywhere I've looked IE: Teachers Pay Teachers, Educents, etc. the curricula promoted is "standards-based" which I found to be incredibly frustrating since that is the very reason I took my daughter out of public school. We want to learn; not memorize standards or rubrics to "pass" assessments.
After two weeks, I contacted the Educents folks who sell (not create) the curricula sources and they were very good about refunding my money and due to all the errors I'd found; they let me keep the PDF. I am still using it as a compass (if you will) or outline of subject areas. Some of the content I simply just ignore because the text is "disjointed" information geared towards test-prep or, I draw personal connections to the topic and together Nani and I give form to the topic. I have to layer and augment with real-life experiential content. The interesting thing is, I am developing a keener ability to identify when we are learning and when we are just memorizing facts.
I want to first of all thank Kristina Brooke of "For The Love of Education" a secular homeschooling mom for extending her hand when I needed some guidance and enriching our lives with hers. Kristina shared a wonderful reading list for our Literature, Writing and Reading studies which I will share more about later.
Many thanks to Stephanie Parrish, an awesome Science teacher out of VA who has taken her pedagogy online via Youtube. Nani and I love her Metric System Conversions method; look her up if you're interested.
|Unraveling Claire of the Sea Light's Plot|
|Understanding Main Characters|
So far, Nani and I have gotten our groove for Literature. Among the seven books Nani has read in the past two months I chose Edwidge Dandicat's latest work: Claire of the Sea Light to begin our study of the four elements of fiction. This week we dissected the four characteristics of the plot: exposition, complication, climax, resolution. I have to say studying Literature together with my child is like having cake (without the calories & guilt) - it is one of the coolest, most invigorating, youthful things I have ever done. I love the art of storytelling. Claire of the Sea Light was not on the actual book list; I actually chose it by mistake. I was suppose to chose Eight Days: A Story of Haiti by Dandicat but, when we were looking up her bio, her latest work (Sea Light) came up and the librarian said "Oh, we have that one...would you like it?" I got caught up and said "yes."
The takeaway here: just because an author writes one book suitable for a sixth grader doesn't mean all her works are, so make sure before hand, by either reading the book itself or a review of the work. Claire of the Sea Light is an amazing work however it was too "mature" in some of the topics covered. For instance, one of the characters is raped; it just wasn't something I wanted my 11 year old to read (this year). Not withstanding Nani did read the book and dissecting it together resulted in a sharpening of her comprehension skills.
My elementary, middle and high school experience with math was horrific. I was told "you're not good at math; you are a good reader". Math is not one dimensional; it is a left-side and right-side function. For instance, when braiding, jumping rope, singing, playing music or sewing, the left and right side of your brain works together performing in exactly the same way it does when you are doing math therefore you are inherently good at math if you can do any of these. That said, I have always been very insecure around numbers. Taking on homeschooling I knew I would have to confront this fear of - "not being good at math." I figured I should be okay in facilitating 6th grade curriculum to my 11 year old then, I found errors. Needless to say, I panicked for a second. But, I did not allow myself to be defeated by what I knew to be irrational fear. I simply decided to seek assistance and make our math learning real-life experiential.
So for example, when we did our lesson on Estimating Whole Numbers I used our grocery store receipts to bring our personal connection and reality to the math. This was so much fun with the Metric System because we love to bake and Nani loves to sew. As you can see in the picture below we used a Cupcake recipe to practice our metric conversions. So, our learning does not stop when the lesson is completed but, we implement it in our everyday life.
|Nani's Vanilla Cupcake Recipe Conversions|
|Lunar & Solar Eclipses Presentation by Springfield Stars Club|
|Using my phone to photograph our 1st Lunar Eclipse through Telescope|
|Springfield Science Museum Slide Show|
|Libby, Nani & Delia|