CIP School in the Phils.


on July 28, 2012





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I was raised in a library – literally.

When I was very young, my mother helped start a volunteer-run reading center in church. She later became the Library Director after the reading center was expanded into a public library district.

Although it’s against the rules at most businesses, it was never a problem for Mom to allow me to stay at the library with her while she worked. After school, summers, every time I wasn’t in school and Mom was working – I was at the library.
I quickly developed a fine appreciation for the wealth of knowledge contained within books.

When I discovered an interest, I kept the interlibrary loan jumping with requests. I studies books on Egyptology, archaeology, Japanese language and culture, Germany, Native Americans, pioneers, ancient languages, movie history, Hollywood, Africa, missionaries, the American Revolution, the Civil War, Ireland, Scotland, India, the Crusades, space exploration, whew! The list goes on and on and on. I read how-to books and fiction books, nonfiction and checked out records and tapes of sound effects and old radio programs. I watched old movies and read poetry and fine literature.

I discovered that whatever I wanted to know in the world was contained in a book somewhere.

Yes, I was a nerd. I loved learning and I still do.

Most of the things I learned while I was IN school were not learned AT school. I read and learned on my own.

Maybe that’s why I’m so in love with home schooling and even unschooling (the concept that children learn best by pursuing things that interest them and they will direct themselves to learn more and more about the things they are interested in). Most of what I learned growing up was from unschooling – I just didn’t know that’s what it was.

I remember very little of what I learned while in school. I remember no trigonometry, no geometry, very little algebra (maybe because in the 12 years I’ve been out of public schools, I have never been called upon to use a theorem or a tangent or anything else I learned), and even less physics and chemistry.

The things that stuck, were the things that interested me and that I made an effort to learn more about on my own.

History? Loved it!

English? Loved it – learned it on my own!

Home economics? Learned most of it from my mom and grandmothers by the time I was ten.

My view of home education relies heavily upon reading. I encourage my children to read, read, read! Then read some more!
I tell them all the time that reading makes their brain grow while TV turns their minds to mush. Learn to read, then read to learn!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

When people ask me about home schooling, I always tell them that I believe that the key to getting started is with reading. Encouraging reading – not just because you have to, but also because you want to – is a great place to start.

How can parents encourage their children to read?

Start when they are small – even babies and read to them. Read regularly. For babies choose stories that have colorful pictures and rhyming words. When they are babies, they may not understand what you are saying or what they are looking at, but they will enjoy the sound of your voice, the cadence of your speech and the vividness of the pictures. Even more so, children will learn to equate a book with snuggling and special times with Mommy and Daddy.

Use silly voices and sound effects when reading. Sing if you can. You don’t have to be talented – just enthusiastic.
Introduce books that appeal to a child’s tactile senses: Books that can be held, touched, played with and even chewed. Books that are soft, hard, fuzzy, smooth, noisy, quiet.

Let your child see you reading. Maybe you don’t like to read – but even people who don’t like to read will read SOMETHING SOMETIME. Read magazines. If you don’t like to read, begin with magazines that reflect an interest of yours.

If you have access to a library, visit it and take your children. Get to know the librarians and their policies. Encourage your kids to discover their interests and borrow books to learn more about them. tricks, superheroes, wildlife, spooky.

Remember back to your high school years. When you were forced to read something for a class – required reading – did you hate it? I remember being forced to read The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald in 9th grade English class, along with other short stories by Fitzgerald. To this day, I despise the idea of reading ANYTHING written by F. Scott Fitzgerald. I hated everything that I had to read, and had to force myself to do the required reading. I retained nothing of the experience except that I detest F. Scott Fitzgerald.

Now, perhaps if I had picked up a Fitzgerald novel because it looked interesting to me, well that could’ve been a different story, no pun intended.

I believe that reading is the most important key to learning that unlocks the power of education for any child.



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