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While home schooling some of our kids, my wife has been applying an educational system called the Thomas Jefferson education and another type called the Charlotte Mason method, that focuses much on reading stories to the children and then pausing to discuss story scenes that exemplify things we are trying to teach the children in multiple subjects. This method also has them dictate what they learned (for the under-10 crowd) or write what they learned (for 11 and up) as an assessment method that lets her know what they are getting and what needs remediation. And it offers a chance for the child to reflect on the learning.

The reason this method is so very interesting, is that the kids are emotionally engaged in a story with characters they care about. Especially for stories the children really enjoy. This excitement carries over into the discussion about what the character just did or didn’t do to a degree that has surprised us both. There have been some really good discussions about the protagonist and their situation. They have paid attention in a way that I haven’t seen them do for regular idea teaching. The story context also offers the many details needed for concrete examples.

It’s been a fascinating journey watching the children get so into this.

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KW Lanham


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