Teaching Tips - General
When I was in school, the only thing that was really "hands-on" was physical education (they did the occasional science experiment, but not regularly - I did way more science experiments at home). Then when computers came in, everyone seemed to know that you have to do "hands-on" classes to teach computer courses. And I have never seen anyone try to teach a ballroom dance class without hands-on practice (where you learn it by doing it).
Then I observed that many home schooling parents move very strongly toward hands-on activities for their children over the first few years of home schooling. They also tend to do lots of field trips (while this is less work for us parents, I think it is only interesting to the children, because they are learning a lot from the field trips).
There is a trend here. People learn by doing.
Hands-on activities are not very practical in a large class with 25 or more students and only one or two teachers. Most activities would require many pieces that would tend to get lost.
However, in home schooling, this is not the case.
If you haven't seen it yet, you will almost certainly see it soon, as you home school. People really do learn better and quicker when they are doing the activity they are learning.
It has been pointed out that people learn from "patterns." I realize that I can read about a pattern, and imagine it, and learn it from my imagination, but it is much quicker to just experience the pattern (see, hear, touch, even smell or taste).
And this is much more so with younger children, because they have less reading ability. But don't forget to use this for your older learners, as well. Having taught many adult education courses, I can tell you that adults also learn most things much faster, and much better, when they are doing them.
So, keep those hands-on activities going on, whether it's crafts and hobbies, math manipulatives and games, science kits and experiments, or field trips to local cultural centers, farms, businesses, etc.
And whenever learning from books and curriculums seems to be getting boring, try spicing it up with some hands-on activity.
"I hear and I forget, I see and I remember, I do and I understand."
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