One of the biggest influences in our homeschool has been educator Ruth Beechick. I dipped into her books regularly. In particular:
I first of all think Ruth Beechick is about heart. So it is first about training our children’s hearts towards family and the Lord. This means that relationship issues come first even for highschool students. This includes character training, sibling issues, obedience / initiative issues, spiritual learning, etc. This means some days we don’t do academic studies.
The other thing that I believe Ruth Beechick is all about is individualized education. But she also puts family first. This is where we have to live by principle not by rule. What is best going to suit the child, what is best going to suit the family. These things are considered when we look at Math, Science, History and Language Arts.
Here are some of the Ruth Beechick principles that I see in our family (written in my words or how we interpret what I’ve read of Ruth Beechick’s):
- Learning from real life experiences – if this type of opportunity presents itself we don’t get to the formal book type learning
- We read, we talk, we write
- Life opportunities (for math, for thinking, for language development, for science)This means cooking, cleaning, reading newspaper, talking and meeting people, following interests, flowing with family needs etc…
- Use hands on manipulatives (most of our hands on experiences are from life not generated craft experiences)
- Children write regularly but it is about stuff they have heard or thought about (discussed) not from their imagination.
- No grades – move onto the next thing after they have achieved one thing
- Grammar is learnt as needed and used, so too is formal writing structures (consequently much later in life than a school counterpart).
- Refer to “What does God say” when debating or thinking through a topic
- We don’t necessarily do a unit study together, though we share with each other – through conversations what we are learning. Some of the family members will join up to study a topic together. We all study Bible together.
If these ideas intrigue you – then I can encourage you full heartedly to check out Ruth Beechick. The way she looks at education and encourages learning is very helpful to homeschoolers.
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