Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Producers or Consumers? part two

In my last post I mentioned our notebooks. In this post I would like to tell you a little more about our notebooks. When we are studying a particular subject the children make a notebook that will contain all of their “paperwork” which may include copywork, vocabulary, Bible verses, coloring pages, diagrams, maps, drawings, stories or reports. The bulk of our school day may be spent adding to these notebooks. However, our purpose is not just to fill the notebooks but to encourage the children to make the information on the topic their own.

In past years I found it easy to print out encyclopedia entries on people, places and events to add to these notebooks and also used lots of other online printables. I soon realized that doing this was not adding to the children’s knowledge and was defeating the purpose of teaching them to produce their own books and becoming “experts” on the topic through their study. If you look at what we now include you can see how easily we can cover so many subject areas just through our time spent in notebooking. Handwriting, vocabulary, reading, history or science, writing, research, art, Bible and so much more go into producing these notebooks which become treasures in time.

This year my oldest son has been increasingly interested in learning about photography and videography. God sometimes provides wonderful opportunities for His children and my son is now working with his father on The Homeschool Channel which is providing him a wonderful opportunity for hands-on learning all about photography and videography. For the next couple of years this son will be working on notebooks on these two topics as he encounters opportunities to learn from others and as he learns on his own. My hope is that he will be able to turn his notebook into an e-book and share what he learns with others. We are very excited to see how this endeavor turns out!

Raising children can be a messy job, but even more so if you are raising producers. If you can imagine 4-5 children spread out with notebooks, drawing supplies, papers, books, scissors, glue and whatever else they may need to work on their notebooks. You know the old adage, “A messy desk is the sign of a genius”? Well, sometimes a messy house can be the sign of many producers at work. Not only can our “school” time be messy, but so can all of our other activities. Some of my children play the piano and the violin which results in music scattered over the piano, violins out and the music that is being produced can sometimes create an audio “mess”, especially if there is more than one musician playing at a time. My children love to draw, paint, build, and create with the many items stored in our arts and crafts cabinet. A daughter may decide to make homemade bread, cookies or dessert when the mood strikes (and thankfully that is often!)

I have been encouraged to teach my children this way through the writings of Marilyn Howshall, Ruth Beechick, Cindy Rushton, Tina Farewell and Jessica Hulcy. What are some ways that you are raising your children to be producers? I would love to see some of your ideas.

1 comment:

Cardamom said...

Well, I can't really take the time to tell you how we do things here, but just wanted to share that it looks a lot like what you do! We have piano players, artists, people who take apart computers and phones just to put them back together again, bakers - it's a joy. Thanks for this post as it's too easy sometimes to think in a box, even if you usually like staying out of the box! :-) Would be nice if we lived closer!

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