Are you thinking… ?? What?? I know it sounds off the wall, but what I really mean is that we must teach our children the meaning, and the usefulness of math, language, science, and history… while we are teaching them. Research has shown that education today is very disjointed. High school students can add, subtract, divide, and multiply but when asked a word problem evoking a practical situation…only 70% can apply the math to a real life situation. Then when asked a question that would result in 1/2 or a 1/4 of a person… only 33% of students realized that the answer would need to be a whole number.
…There is obviously a disconnect somewhere…
I believe it is the fact that so much learning today is solely text book oriented. What happened to learning while working and doing? Remember the days when young girls practiced fractional math while baking a double batch of something? Or young men helped dad build a shed and measured and cut and planned the dimensions. In pushing for test scores, and specific subject performance… we have left out the common sense equation in education.
Good news… homeschoolers have a wide open opportunity to make their child’s education apply to real life. For example, when you begin teaching your preschooler math it shouldn’t start with a text book or flashcards. It should start with games. “Can you get momma 5 apples for this pie?” or “Can you divide your candy in half and give half of it to your sister?” They must see the numbers and their meaning in a concrete form before they begin formal instruction. Yet, this doesn’t negate using flashcards and drilling the facts after they have the understanding. Before children can move into higher math they must be able to rattle off their elementary math facts without hesitation.
This is the foundation of education that lends to common sense. Children can see “why” they are learning math, science, and history when they see how it helps them and affects their daily life.