As home educators, it is almost impossible not to be teaching our children in a cross curricular way naturally throughout our daily lives together making the learning stick.
The Australian curriculum and institutional schooling is usually organised into Knowledge Learning Areas (KLA’s) with a political and educational authority imposed hierarchy of knowledge with the key focuses of numeracy and literacy.
What do schools do?
Too often in schools and especially high school, knowledge silos are imbedded in the daily routine with time barriers and department divisions making multi-disciplinary learning just too hard to coordinate. One teacher’s timetable will clash with a teacher in another department or the grades won’t match up together on the same day. These divisions miss a major factor in the education of our children.
Research by the NSW DET as far back as 2003 demonstrated that the significance of knowledge to students was a key factor in the students’ development and understanding. Significance of knowledge to a student is only derived in psychological and the socio-cultural basis of how the student lives in order for them to be able to create meaning from the knowledge.
What do home educators do?
Here is where home educators excel. Unlike an institutional educational setting, as home educators there is no division between the students everyday lives and culture and their learning environments.
Home educators use the cross curriculum approach everyday effortlessly without knowing they are even doing it, in a way professional teachers could never achieve. If you are reading a novel series out loud to your children of different age groups, you are exploring, English, Music (I always like to play the orchestral sound tracks to the books we are reading such as Harry Potter or the The Lord of the Rings), Maths, Geography, History, Food Technology, Science, Industrial Design, critical thinking, Civics, Languages, creative problem solving, PDHPE, Art all across the curriculum. One significant novel read aloud to the whole family can tick the vast majority of the curriculum in one sitting. The learning is then extended into our everyday lives through the home educator weaving elements of the narrative through reminding the child of how Bilbo used his thinking skill of riddles or how Professor Snape managed his terrible dilemmas while cooking the dinner together.
This is highly significant for helping our children make the learning stick and for that learning to snowball into understanding, and the ability to extend themselves into more complex and creative problem solvers. A value that cannot be underestimated. Home educated children have a fertile educational environment that an institutional school cannot match. It is learning within the child’s personal culture that makes the knowledge significant and concrete.
Ed Consult. Supporting Home Educators Across Australia.