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Learning is More Important than Teaching

learning is more important than teaching


As homeschool parents, our goal is NOT to teach; our goal is for the kids to LEARN. I could have taught my kids "at grade level" and they wouldn't have learned a thing. Instead, I gave them curriculum at their ability level, and then they had to learn what they didn't already know. I believe that older teens MUST learn how to teach themselves. If our children go to college, they will be expected to learn all the textbook material on their own. College lectures are most often supplemental to the textbook - not the same content. If our children don't go to college, they will still have to teach themselves computer skills, online banking, or how to buy a car.

My kids taught themselves advanced math (pre-calculus) and calculus. They taught themselves physics. I know they learned the material because I gave them the tests. I didn't know what the calculus symbols meant, but I knew my kids' answers matched the answers on the key! I could have taught them biology and chemistry (because I'm an RN and I know that stuff) but they taught themselves instead. It worked out better for us when they taught themselves, and I just checked up on them from time to time. Alex taught himself economics, doing graduate level work in economic thought (we were later told by his Colege professor) while he was still in high school. He even taught himself psychology and business law, and earned fabulous grades on the college level CLEP exams in these subjects.

Here's my point: a child will teach themselves subjects they are interested in. It works out great for a kid who is working on an intensely academic, college prep curriculum as well as a kid who is in a relaxed homeschool environment. Learning is more important than teaching. I have seen SO many notes addressed to me about "getting it all done" that I just want to put in a plug for prayer and quiet time. I found that when I was consistent in adding them to my day that I could "get it all done." When I wasn't consistent, I got frustrated; either I was expecting too much, or was frustrated too easily. When I spent time with God, things went more smoothly in our homeschool. Do you think learning is more important than teaching? Please share in the comments!

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signature Please note: This post was originally published in November, 2007 and has been updated for accuracy and comprehensiveness.
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Comments 50

Guest - Helen on Saturday, 16 May 2009 14:43

Lee,

I agree that students need to be able to digest the material from the textbooks to some extent on their own, but college profs actually explain a lot of what is in the textbook. The best methodology for college is: read ahead, then you are better prepared to understand the lecture, then review your notes and read ahead for the next lecture.

I think the sciences are particularly important in this way. Having a "teaching" format for them means that the students get a better chance to discuss and get a deeper understanding of the material. When I don't "teach" it to them myself, I don't have the context to have that kind of intelligent discussion that they need.

Lee, I agree that students need to be able to digest the material from the textbooks to some extent on their own, but college profs actually explain a lot of what is in the textbook. The best methodology for college is: read ahead, then you are better prepared to understand the lecture, then review your notes and read ahead for the next lecture. I think the sciences are particularly important in this way. Having a "teaching" format for them means that the students get a better chance to discuss and get a deeper understanding of the material. When I don't "teach" it to them myself, I don't have the context to have that kind of intelligent discussion that they need.
Guest - Lee (website) on Tuesday, 12 May 2009 15:08

Dear Mary,
Big hugs to you! I'm glad it helped!
Blessings,
Lee

Dear Mary, Big hugs to you! I'm glad it helped! Blessings, Lee
Guest - Mary on Tuesday, 12 May 2009 14:47

Thank you for that message. I needed that today. Sometimes I do get frustrated, lost, and intimidated by all the things on the list for a homeschooling mom of kids of many ages. I just need to step back and remember to be consistent with my prayer and personal preparation time, and all things will fall into place. I need to nurture my faith! Thanks for reminding me of that.

I appreciate your messages of wisdom and encouragement.

Thank you for that message. I needed that today. Sometimes I do get frustrated, lost, and intimidated by all the things on the list for a homeschooling mom of kids of many ages. I just need to step back and remember to be consistent with my prayer and personal preparation time, and all things will fall into place. I need to nurture my faith! Thanks for reminding me of that. I appreciate your messages of wisdom and encouragement.
Guest - Lee (website) on Monday, 11 August 2008 05:30

Dear Michelle,
This post was written almost a year ago, and I'm SO glad that it helped you today! My husband and I were talking about this topic just this weekend, at the convention. One "expert" was saying that you should never show your children the answer key. Huh??? That's how my kids learned physics, Latin, calculus - and went on to engineering school! We simply could NOT have done it without that strategy!

Do what works, Michelle! Do what works!

Blessings,
Lee

Dear Michelle, This post was written almost a year ago, and I'm SO glad that it helped you today! My husband and I were talking about this topic just this weekend, at the convention. One "expert" was saying that you should never show your children the answer key. Huh??? That's how my kids learned physics, Latin, calculus - and went on to engineering school! We simply could NOT have done it without that strategy! Do what works, Michelle! Do what works! Blessings, Lee
Guest - MIchelle on Monday, 11 August 2008 04:57

WOW! that gave me a breath of fresh air...I haven't been teaching math for a long time and was letting them "learn" it on their own....They have always tested well. Now as two of my children are in High School the pressure is ON! And this little blog helped me to breath easy...

WOW! that gave me a breath of fresh air...I haven't been teaching math for a long time and was letting them "learn" it on their own....They have always tested well. Now as two of my children are in High School the pressure is ON! And this little blog helped me to breath easy...
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