Friday, October 24, 2003

A very important part of our homeschooling methods is a method we use to clear up misunderstood words.

Kids (and adults!) come across so many words that they don't really know the meanings of. I was taught to "guess" by looking at the word in context. Which is really a ridiculous way of learning things, I think. No wonder kids get confused!

Can you imagine how you'd feel if your child had to have an emergency appendectomy -- and the doctor "guessed" at the meanings of unfamiliar words in his medical studies? You'd expect that doctor to be incompetent, make mistakes, and be a bit confused.

Generally what happens when kids get too many misunderstood words in their studies, is they'll lose interest. They simply don't want to study the material anymore. That has happened a few times with my kids - so we'll go back to where they were doing well, and look for words they didn't understand.

One time my 8 year old son was reading in a new science book. I came to check on him, and the book was on the floor and he was draped across the sofa, saying, "oh, I hate this book!" I tried to talk to him to find out what happened, but he was just moaning as if in physical agony.

It was pretty funny, but only because I knew exactly what had happened. He'd gone past a word - or symbol - he didn't understand.

So, I asked him where he was last doing well. And we found what wasn't understood, pretty quickly. It was quotation marks! They were used in a way he was unfamiliar with (not quoting someone, but for stress.) So, we got out the kids' dictionary, it was well defined there, and we defined "quotation marks".

He went back to studying, quite cheerfully, and within a few days he finished the entire book and did all the assignments in it.

This was a book that was supposed to take an entire year for an 8-year-old to complete, but he finished it in less than 8 days.

That's why we use the Study Technology, developed by L. Ron Hubbard!