Hands-on learning: Inspiring your kiddos

Today is the final day of the 5 Days of Teaching Creatively Blog Hop. I hope you’re having fun and being inspired by all of the wonderful blog articles posted this week. I know I am! Today’s theme for the hop is Hands-On Projects!

My friend, Kelli, is taking the reins for me again today. I don’t know anyone who has a more hands-on homeschool, so I just knew that she needed to write this post. I hope you enjoy hearing more about her homeschool. Be sure to stop by and visit her blog — Adventurez in Childrearing.

Taking a hands-on approach to learning in our homeschool has made all the difference in the world for our three boys. They love getting out to explore the world around them, and it inspires them to want to learn more.

We spend time reading aloud about various topics such as wildlife and history, and then seek out a way to enjoy a more in-depth study by visiting an aquarium, zoo, or history museum.

It’s a great way for me to gauge what information the boys are retaining from our reading as well as to help review the information and move it to a more permanent section of their memory. By reading and hearing the information, then experiencing the ideals with the senses through various forms of stimuli we help move what they are learning into the brains long term memory.

Although it makes for an extra fun and memorable time, you don’t always have to take a field trip in order to enjoy the hands on style of learning. Nature walks in the neighborhood or in your own yard provide ample opportunity to explore nature and learn about God’s creation.

We made a homemade science kit with recyclable items from around the house, that the boys use regularly. They collect samples of dead bugs, grass, flowers, and leaves and wrap them in clear packing tape to make their own slides. They pin their samples to a piece of Styrofoam using toothpicks, which is a much safer alternative for kids than sharp pins. They use inexpensive office supplies to label their specimens and draw pictures and record information about what they see in a notebook.

They are learning about the scientific method, gathering, collecting, and recording scientific data, and having a whole lot of fun. We purchased an inexpensive microscope for them to use, and pick up magnifying glasses for them to use, from the dollar store.

It isn’t difficult to look up the names and information on each specimen online, but we are also teaching them to use the dictionary and field guides to find flora and fauna they are interested in learning about. If they were simply being lectured to, and quizzed on the information – they would remember it for a while (at least probably long enough to pass the test) but by exploring the world around them in such a hands-on style they retain the information for a much longer period of time as it is now stored in their long term memory.

This style of learning can work for any subject. For instance, if your child is not interested in math, but loves Lego’s – why not use them to create math problems? It is simple to learn to count by 2’s, 3’s and so forth using Lego’s or other toys they love. Addition, subtraction and fractions become much more than random numbers when they are experienced in such a hands-on fashion. The child not only enjoys what they are doing and remembers more, but it builds self-esteem as concepts that had once been foreign and confusing become clear.

Hands-on learning will inspire your child and help create a love for learning that will follow them throughout their lifetime.

Kelli Becton – If you had told Kelli a few years ago that she would be a homeschool mother for her three active boys, she would have thought you mad. After a busy, yet successful career in Real Estate was side-tracked by the economy she found myself doing just that. She was fortunate enough to have the opportunity to write (professionally) about adventures with her kids via a “things to do” sort of local column and fell in love with writing and photography. She has been blessed with the worlds greatest husband and although life is a bit crazy- God has her right where He wants her- and she couldn’t be happier about it! You can find Kelli blogging about her family’s homeschool adventures at Homeschooling Adventurez.

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