Why do we complicate things? I have recently gone back to the simple lesson plans that have worked for me in the past. (No idea why I left them!!)
- I read
- They narrate (Tell back what they’ve heard / learnt)
- We talk – discuss what they’re interested in and then possibly I talk about what was important to me
- They record – generally this means they write a notebook page though it could be something more creative or more of a long term project. It may also include further research and discussion if the student digs deeper.
This works for all our subjects – Bible, History, and Science especially.
Keeping our lessons simple reduces prep time though it doesn’t eliminate it completely. Before we sit down to study something there has to be a reason why we are doing this. If we don’t have a good purpose then our lessons will just be ‘filling the bucket’ with information instead of inspiring our children towards wisdom, knowledge and understanding. I have three main goals that cover all our lessons:
- To understand God’s perspective on all that we learn, to learn to think from a Biblical perspective (creating a Biblical world view)
- To increase in knowledge and understanding about our world (general knowledge)
- To increase our ability to learn – this includes learning and improving the skills of reading, writing, asking questions and communicating to others
My preparation time reflects these goals. These are general and broad goals that cover either a week’s study, or more likely the whole book/unit. For example we are just starting a study on the Byzantine Empire.
My broad goals for this study are:
- To learn about a period of history and in particular church history
- To learn about the role (and separation of) Church and State
- To learn about different religions (Islam) and compare with Christianity
- To learn more about Turkey (ancient and modern)
As far as learning skills goals go, each of my children are at different places
- Goals for Naomi: research, summarising, creative notebook pages using Creative Memories Storybook Creator (lifting her standard from the bare minimum to reflect her true abilities)
- Goals for Daniel: research, writing 3 sentences in own words (using key word outlines – IEW), creating notebook pages on Microsoft Word
We will cover these objectives over a period of 3 weeks while we read a selection of books from the library though my base resource is Learning Through History magazine – Byzantine Empire.
I don’t create specific lessons to cover the above objectives but rather they are there as key thoughts that I want to make sure we cover in our discussions. As we read, think and discuss we will not only cover these key thoughts but many more subjects as well. I suspect as we read about the Byzantine Empire we will look at the geography of Turkey, Constantine, the beginnings of Constantinople, significant buildings such as Hagia Sophia, the Crusades, and religious art. This is the beauty of simple lesson plans; we have the freedom to talk about the things the kids are curious about or interested in and yet at the same time talk about the things that are important to our family.
Do you know why you are teaching the lessons you have planned?
Have you complicated things or are you enjoying the simplicity of learning with your children?