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Six Rules for Learning at Home

1. Accessibility
Where are your books? Take them off the top shelf. Get them at eye level. Learn from the candy counters at the markets. This changes the perception that these things are not 'decorations' they are to be touched and opened. Imagine what can be learned with digital/online access?*
Where are your art supplies and paper? Get a cheap easel with cheap newsprint and stand it in the corner. Should I even ask where are your legos? Where is your play-doh? It could be messy -get over it! Have kid-friendly-sized tables and chairs where all this stuff could be used.

2. Passive Modeling
As an adult you are an example to all who live in your home. The learners in your care watch what you do. They learn that the things you do habitually and repetitively are important. If you, after a hard day's work come home and go straight for the TV or computer then that's what they percieve as being most important to you. I have had parents come to me and complain that their kids don't want to read or draw. They would rather play on the computer or watch TV. I ask them: "What are you doing everyday to reinforce/model this behavior? Do you spend a lot of time watching TV or using the computer in front of them?" Silence.
No wonder they are doing it. What would happen if you cracked a book infront of them? What if you took out a sheet of paper and wrote a story or drew a picture?

3. Active Modeling
This the different from passive modeling. In passive modeling, you don't speak a word. You don't actuvkey confront or engage the learner. On the other side, 'active modeling' is where you actively engage the leaner with opportunities. This can be very fruitful. When you are interacting with a learner and a question comes up, do you say, 'I don't know' and leave it at that? Can you say instead 'Let's find out.'? Now, perhaps the default habit is to go to the Internet. That's fine, but there are other healthy ways of finding out information: Ask an Expert. "I don't know but I bet uncle Larry knows! Let's call him!" Or, "Let's write a letter to so and so (the expert)". Or, (much more fun and engaging) "Let's go and try it out ourselves!" Experimentation. Experimentation gives birth to discovery. Which brings us to 'Special Projects'.

4. Special Projects
When you really plan ahead and research and discuss a problem that might have multiple steps, it is a 'special project'. Special projects are born out of real curiousity. They are not just checking for an answer on the internet or encyclopedia. Although, that could be the start of a special project. A simple and fruitful example is planting a seed and marking how it grows on a chart while caring for it. This is a long term one. Shorter projects for younger learners could be making lists for example. You can make a list for ANYTHING- shoes, tomatoes, toys, etc. Classifying and catagorizing and grouping are great projects for littler learners. There are books and teachers and friends that are great resources for the more complicated projects.

5. Aim High
This needs to be a pervasive attitude in your thoughts, speech and actions. Don't wait for second grade to teach multiplication. If the opportunity arises, give a mini lesson. If a learner talks about lightsabers, then ask them if they had to make one, what parts would it need? Take learners to local university public lectures on stuff. If it's a little too hard, don't fret. Sit in the back and quietly leave early. Try, though to have your learners meet the professor at the end. Have them interact and say thank you at least.

6. Ubiquity
Related to accesibility, all the things generated from the previous five things should be on display around the home. When going outside the home, bring blank notecards. Have your learners bring them and something to write with. Make this a habit. Young learners are naturally curious and need to feed and nurture this tendency. Unfortunately, we adults (with our zombie-like inattention) squash their efforts of discovery. Also, zombies are not really accepted members in society.

Posted via email from teacher's lore