Homeschool Mom: What is YOUR philosophy of TEACHING?

Homeschool Mom: What is YOUR philosophy of TEACHING?

What is YOUR philosophy of TEACHING?

Homeschool Mom: What is YOUR philosophy of TEACHING?

This guest post is by Wayne Thorp (Allison’s husband). Wayne has been a teacher for many years. Wayne is the author of 7Sisters’ delightful Literature Activity Guides for elementary students. These delightful guides are based on classic books for young readers and are full of fun phonics and hands-on activities.

Activity Guide You Are Special

Many educators today have a written Philosophy of Education. I’d like you to think today about your philosophy of teaching.

How do you teach your children and why?     

I find that most fall into two main categories:

1) Presentation

2) Exploration

Those who teach by Presentation usually just tell their child about the day’s lesson or have them read about it or perhaps, in today’s digital age, have them go to a website which has the information. If the child is lucky, there may be some video on the site.

This is then followed up by having the child take notes, do a worksheet, write a reflection or a mini-report. This is all well and good; but unless the child is really interested in the topic, it’s very likely that the information won’t stay with them long.

When my wife was in college she remembers strenuously studying for exams. She did well on the exams, but then she dropped all that information from her head as she prepared for the next set of facts/figures to “learn.”

Parents who take the Exploration approach design activities in which their child figures out or actively participates in the learning process.

What is YOUR philosophy of TEACHING?This child’s day may start with a collection of objects (educators call them manipulatives) such as buttons or pennies. They may take groups of 2, 3, 4, or 5 of them and see if that group can be divided into two equal sized groups. The child may record which numbers CAN and which CAN NOT be divided into two groups of the same size. The child expands to include larger sized groups (20 to 30). At some point in time the parent can point out that the ones which divided equally into two groups are called EVEN numbers and the others are ODD numbers. Voila! The child now has experienced even and odd numbers and is more likely to remember their definitions.

It is true that Exploration requires more planning and preparation from the parent, and the parent needs to be ready in case things don’t go as planned.  However, as long as there is guidance, children involved in their own learning may grasp and retain concepts and knowledge longer than those who just read about it.

Here’s another chat from Sabrina: Don’t Be Afraid of Poetry

Vicki Tillman

Blogger, curriculum developer at, counselor, life and career coach, SYMBIS guide, speaker, prayer person. 20+year veteran homeschool mom.

5 Replies to “Homeschool Mom: What is YOUR philosophy of TEACHING?”

  1. This is great and I thought I would post from a different perspective. I don’t have kids so Im not currently homeschooling anyone but *I* was homeschooled (practically unschooled really, lol) and everything we did was through exploration!

    In college, I was always willing to do the types of math problems where you have to poke and prod maybe to find out that there isnt an exact answer. In chemistry I loved just working through the possibilities. Why? I know it is from learning this way in at home! If you focus so much on “getting the answer” you train students to think thats all that matters and you end up with students who are easily frustrated with open ended (more real life) problems!

    You have to find what works for you of course, and in my opinion there should be some routine practice of concepts built in – but seriously – try this out. The rewards are huge and you can do more of it than might be possible in a school setting so I would say take advantage of that!

    • Excellent insights, Jerimi! You are so right that most of life is not about getting the answer, and being immersed in the process of exploring problems is such a real-life skill. Agreed, also, that sometimes routine practice is needed….because understanding the repetition and discipline of certain tasks is also a real-life skill!

      Thanks for commenting; you gave us lots to chew on!

    • I agree, Jerimi. Critical thinking and problem solving are gifts we can help our children discover. Too much canned curriculum can slow that type learning down. Experimentation, brainstorming, and discussion are three ways to help build it.

  2. Besides homeschooling, I teach at a school that caters to middle- and high school students who learn best using non-traditional methods. We try to use as much exploration as possible, keeping the strictly lecture type classes at a minimum. Most high school students can succeed with lecture-based classes, but not all. For elementary age students, I think exploration (it can be guided exploration) and other hands-on experiences are essential.

    Thanks for the reminder, Wayne

    • I agree with Marilyn. Elementary students need hands-on learning. High schoolers need to learn to listen to lecture and do some canned responses as well as hands-on. I love that as homeschoolers we can give our high schoolers both experiences.

      Marilyn taught most of my kids Logic when they were in high school- good reasoning and problem solving. Our learning co-op did lots of field trips and projects for the kids of all ages. A number of high schoolers I know have also participated in Science Olympiad- that is a ton of inventing and discovering.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *