Engaged learning is key

First of all- I hope all are well in the path of #Sandy.  I had heard bits and pieces about it at work but I received an entire download of information from Sheldon when I came home.  Between his friends on the East Coast and YouTube he was well versed and was very interested in telling me all about it.

He spends lots of time during the day doing his own learning.  I am quite certain he is learning more home alone than he did sitting in a classroom.  Especially in classrooms where they reviewed information over and over again.  I hate that about school.  I was always so bored when the teacher went on and on about stuff I already knew.  Now doing online school with my son I see how much that still occurs.

I get it- every kid learns differently.  Some kid needs things repeated again and again.  (Hell I work with adults that need that too)  Another kid learns from auditory input and another kid from visual inputs.
I know my son does not need things repeated over and over again.  He just zones out and then sometimes misses the information he actually needs.  With online school I can weed through a lot of it.  Over the weekend I was going over materials for teaching him.  I thought I did a good job of getting to the stuff that would be new & interesting to him.  I thought we would do the lab at the end of covering the material.  We got through about a third of the material.  (for reference the rest of the class did this over a month of lectures and online reading, I weeded out the repeat messaging and re-ordered the instruction materials.  He doesn’t need to review what an atom is, we did that last semester and he moaned and groaned he already knew it all.   By the way he has at least half the periodic table memorized.  I decided he didn’t need me to start at what an atom is.)

Anyways I thought I had it right.  He told me to please stop.  He just wasn’t in the mood.  Even though he needs less time he is still behind at the moment because when he isn’t in the mood, he just isn’t in the mood.  He told me he wants the new Assassin’s Creed game and then he would be in the mood for school.  Right, sure.

I wait a bit and then I told him that there is a lab to do.  Would he rather watch the teacher or do it himself.  I explained doing it himself was actually a virtual lab, kind of like a video game.  “Of course I want to do it myself, why would I want to watch someone do it.”  Right, how could I even ask.  “I want to do it now.”  Okay let’s do it.

He was very serious with the virtual pipettes and virtual test tubes.  He became upset at one point that he accidentally put too much of something into a test tube.  Silly me I tried to reassure him that it was okay.  “No it’s not!” (same voice inflection as sheldon on big bang theory.  I swear they record what occurs in my house).  My Sheldon then picks of the virtual test tube and scrolls to the other side of the virtual lab to dump the test tube and rinse it out.  I didn’t even notice the sink.  Okay now he could restart that step.  He was so fascinated with it.  And I was fascinated with watching him.  At the point of the lab where he was testing an unknown substance he kept picking up the tubes to compare to the known substance tubes, comparing the exact colors.

I think he could have played in that lab all day.  And I could watch him all day.  It was great.  And he learned some of the information that I was trying to talk about.  Now he is even more interested in the information.  I keep wanting to take the plunge and just do homeschooling on my own.  On days like today I think about it even more.  He is so bright and learns so much on his own.  Re-learning the same facts over and over again is not the way to unlock his brilliant mind.



  1. Glad to hear he is doing better and learning.

  2. A few topics are revisited at higher levels of awareness. For example, physics before and after differential and integral calculus awareness. But a lot of repetition, like you said, is just a waste of time for some who have already gotten it. Home schooling is great, but different schools might still “force” you to waste time, but at least you’re more in control.

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