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Edification — n 1. improvement, instruction, or enlightenment, esp when morally or spiritually uplifting

Smiling, nodding, teaching. Loving!

Tag Archives: Laying tracks

Big thanks to the friend who hooked us up with this link! There is a short commercial before the feed comes on.

I keep forgetting about this website, which is dumb because the boys love it! They are more than happy to give up their morning TV show to watch this instead. I’m going to make a note of it and we will start checking on these guys every morning while I get breakfast together.

Some questions I asked Mowgli this morning about the video (preschool Socratic method!):

  • Where do Eagles live?
  • Why do birds like to live in nests?
  • How do they get so high up?
  • Are these birds vegetarians or carnivores? [He knows the difference from dinosaur National Geographic movies]
  • How do you know they are carnivores?
  • Why is he sitting on his babies?
  • Where do you think the Momma eagle is?
  • Why can’t baby eagle birds go get their own food?
  • Why did the Daddy eagle act that way when the motorcycle went by?

So on and so forth, you get the idea. We just did this as I went about my business in the kitchen. All very casual.

A couple things are happening in a scene like this. First, the boys are feeling a connection to nature even though we can not actually be out in it exploring with all our senses on this particular day. Secondly, by reaching into his brain for the answers to the questions (as opposed to being given a list of facts from me), Mowgli is forming dendrites. These are the fundamental building blocks for the all-important cerebral pathways through which true learning takes place. Dendrites are literally the SPARK of knowledge, and they are the scientific basis for the somewhat abstract sapient objectives parents and educators tend to have.

All of that to say, remember that the internet can be a positive platform for learning. You can combine almost anything with open-ended questions to get a conversation going, spark an interest and get synapses firing up a storm!


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What is the point of a homeschool preschool?

A simple internet search (or actual, real life conversation among mothers) will quickly reveal that many  people take a firm stand on this issue on opposite ends of the spectrum. For some the answer is so obvious as to render the question itself unnecessary. For others, the idea of a homeschool preschool is so utterly useless, they can’t fathom its value.

I fall in the middle. To my mind, the question is a valid one. Just as some parents struggle with whether or not their three and four year old children should go to a daycare or a proper preschool, so it follows that stay-at-homers will want to lay a bit of thought on whether they should do preschool lessons at home.

The answer will largely depend on your future plans. If your child will be attending public kindergarten, much of what you might desire to teach him at home will be redundantly expounded upon in K. But if you have a plan in place for K homeschooling, I think it can only be beneficial to start “laying tracks” as soon as you and your child are ready.

There are many variations on Charlotte Mason’s laying tracks concept from different educators. The basic concept is that children must be given a solid foundation on which to build in any particular subject. Once the tracks are laid, it is easier for the child to continue down the line than to stray from it.

Without a foundation– getting down to the bare bones of an issue– the child will become lost trying to hack his way through random bits of information that he can not conceptually assimilate.

It is not reasonable to preschool homeschool to force children to do things before they are ready. There is abundant scientific research dispelling the (American and British) myth that when it comes to education, the earlier you start the better off your kids are. It is simply untrue and it’s a shame that homeschoolers, who wield complete control over the information available to their children, feel compelled to force their youngest pupils into very unnatural rhythms of learning that usually backfire later in life.

If a four year old child picks up reading on her own, that is fabulous. But it isn’t sensible to administer formal reading lessons to a child so young. The same goes for all the subjects. Enjoying books about children in colonial America is one thing. Drilling history facts into the head of  a three or four (or five or six, for that matter) year old is asinine at best, and cruel in the sense that it does a great disservice to the trusting child.

So, I do not choose to homeschool preschool to give my children an imaginary advantage over other children. I choose to HSPS to deliberately lay tracks. It is my aim to give them a thorough foundation so that they may proceed from this time with  hearts and minds wholly (albeit  without conscious thought) open to the learning opportunities they will encounter throughout their lives.

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