I love maps. Maybe it’s the visual and tactile learner in me. Maybe it’s the unexplored possibilities of a map, the roads not taken. Perhaps it’s the interconnections a map shows between every place and every one. I just don’t get that sense of the Whole with GPS.
This weekend I was driving through Indiana, enjoying the mellowness of rainy days with unhurried schedules. I realized I’d taken the wrong exit for Highway 31. I discovered Peru, Indiana, is the birthplace of Cole Porter; but, I wasn’t headed toward Indianapolis. I stopped, pulled out my trusty AAA map and found a connecting road. The road was barely more than a paved path and curved through fields of sprouting wheat and Spring puddles. It was a leisurely trip and made more connections than just getting me to Highway 31, fresh air filled with mist and new growth. I wondered if a GPS would have the same sense of adventure.
Our lives now are so compartmentalized and digitized that we rely heavily on other voices to direct our ways. Sometimes it’s the most expedient and concise thing to do. But if you are not an audio learner, you can be lost. Yes, Lost with GPS!
Most people only remember seven per cent of what they hear. So if you rely on the GPS voice to direct your travel, will you arrive at your destination seven per cent of the time? Will you be lost or confused ninety-three per cent of your life’s travel.
What does this have to do with anything, especially learning? Homeschool curricula come in many formats, and it’s important to know what matches your child’s learning. If you are an audio learner, or think it’s wonderful to have books on tape; it may not be the best match for your child. I talked with a young lady who told me her homeschool curricula was on CD’s, and she listened to them for several hours every day. That was her homeschooling. Indeed, I watched her throughout the homeschool conference sitting on the floor, headphones in place for hours. It kept her quiet and tethered to one spot. But I wondered where is the wonder?
The best part of homeschooling children is the time you spend with them, asking questions and listening to what they say. Really listening as a child learns is amazing. You can see them thinking as they formulate ideas and put these together to make connections. I couldn’t do this if I relied on a digital voice to provide the lessons.
Whether your child is an audio, visual, or tactual learner, life requires we absorb information from all methods. The more senses we involve in learning, the stronger the learning and the greater the retention. One of my favorite movies is Akeelah and the Bee, where Akeelah jumps rope as she’s spelling. The cadence, rhythm and body movement anchored the learning and helped her win the State Spelling Bee.
Curricula should provide learning though all senses. It’s one reason I admire Nancy Larson so much. Her science lessons incorporate all the learning styles, so that every child learns, remembers, and achieves. Homeschool parents talk about how the Science Program improves the confidence of their children, because it’s written so that everyone succeeds. Let’s see: there’s multiple learning styles, activities, study skills, reading, and confidence building, all interconnected to help children learn serious science content. Sounds like a good map to stay on the path.