A Better Way To Homeschool: Learning From The Past
The card catalog has been replaced by our online library systems. There was a day when you could walk up to a cabinet filled with actual drawers holding small cards in alphabetical order. The cards were created as a trilogy, where the information listed was rearranged according to the categories of Author, Subject, and Title. When looking up a certain book you could physically walk up to a drawer, open it, and flip back through the cards until the exact book was identified. From that point you would hand write the information necessary to help you locate the book on the library’s shelves.
Antiquated, I know, but relevant as we look to homeschooling our children. We cannot allow our minds to be trapped back in the era of the card catalog, for that is certainly completely irrelevant to our children. If our kids actually walk into a library, they will walk up to a computer to complete their search. With a few swift key strokes, they will have the appropriate information right before their eyes.
While we can appreciate how far we have come, our kids are miles ahead of us. They are born into this technology driven world. They think its normal to watch a television show and watch a person pop up in the corner and tell them some fact about he character that is performing the show, the actor, or the location. They are not annoyed by the “pop up’s” on the computer screen as they search for information; in fact they absorb 12 times the information in one 15 minute sitting that we ever could. (I made up the 12 times, but you know what I mean)
Our card catalog mind wants to physically touch, smell, and see our one piece of information. Their computer savvy mind wants to scan through the 3.2 million search engine results, filter for the top 4 relevant sites, and laugh at the funny pop-up. They are being programmed to soak up information like a sponge.
So how is this relevant to homeschooling.
Besides the obvious “we shouldn’t try to teach them about how to find a book through a card catalog” we should embrace this information driven world while teaching our kids to focus.
The challenge with a our new world is that our kids can quickly acclimate to this alternate universe. They can believe that its OK to buy a movie ticket while texting their friends simultaneously, or sit at the dinner table and be watching a YouTube video and chatting as they eat and communicate with the people sitting at the same table.
As homeschoolers in the new millennium we must learn from the past. We need to teach our kids to categorize their technology filled world into a few essentially vital categories: people, relationships, knowledge, and entertainment.
If our kids can recognize that everything fits into one of those categories, then they can be taught to prioritize them.
People first, knowledge, entertainment, and so on.
While we cannot change the world to look like it did when we stood in a library at age 12, we can teach our kids to treat this new world with the proper perspective. We need to teach our kids to focus on people and relationships (not the touchy feely kind, but the “you are more important than this cell phone” kind) and embrace the benefits that technology provides.
Our kids are sponges. We need to teach them to absorb knowledge and to seek hard after those subjects, topics, and fields that they are passionate about. We need to not be intimidated that they can do 12 times more than we could do in the same amount of time, but rather train them to use that ability to become a better student, family member, and human being.