Knowledge for Knowledge's Sake
(begins on page 144 of Pocketful of Pinecones)
The chapter begins in the month of May with a thought that many parents have this time of year: "As springtime unfolds, my mind is on evaluation".
I'm sure many homeschooling moms have this on our mind right now? How did we do this year? How much did our children learn this year? Did we cover the right math? Did we do enough science?
I think it is a good time for parents and educators to step back and ask our children for their evaluations. And hope and pray that their mind is on evaluation and what they have learned this year.
Through Carol, Karen writes that she doesn't give her children frequent tests because she knows how they are doing and how well they comprehend what is read to them by their narrations.
"...good grades in school is the motivation used in a system of education where children are constantly quizzed and tested." ---*my note: often the info is forgotten*---"...we (home educators) are not participating in a system." ---*wise for us to remember that*
So Carol does not give grades to her children. Instead of grades, she gives a "Well done!" and feels that when the project is finished, the completion is its own reward. This will prove more successful to our child's state of mind and sense of well-being far more than the brow-beating stress of tests which subtly tell the child he/she is a failure before their 18th birthday when, in fact, the rest of their life is just beginning!
In Home Education, Charlotte Mason writes that systems of grading "will distract the attention of children from their proper work, which (should be) in itself interesting enough to secure good behavior as well as attention."
I don't want to rewrite this chapter verbatim so I suggest the ones who have a copy read it now. It explains the Charlotte Mason's method of education. That we are "learning for the sake of knowledge and not for grades or prizes".
She lists three areas of knowledge that Miss Mason suggests:
(1) knowledge of God (Bible)
(2) Knowledge of man (history/humanities)
(3) knowledge of the universe (science/math)
How much learning did your child undertake for knowledge's sake alone this past year?
This chapter gave me alot to think about. I've been enthusiastic about journaling/notebooking lately and reading this was the first time I said "So that's what is to be gained from gathering and collecting bulging notebooks around the house." The notebooks I merely hand my children to do math problems in are thrown away at the year's end. The ones for poems and art and nature study and narrations are lovingly set away in the supply closet and every now and then we take them out and the kids adore looking through them at their art work and rereading their stories and recollecting. It's like opening up a family photo album. For this reason alone, the children try doing their very best work on this single task.