Jan 222009
 

Once again this year we have been participating in a home school book club. We call it a book club, but it probably would be better named a book report club.  Each month there is a different topic. I posted about this year’s schedule at this post.  Each child reads a book that fits the topic and prepares a presentation.

This month our topic was biography. The presentation was to be a first person monologue about the person studied.  My daughter chose Queen Elizabeth I.  She read Good Queen Bess by Diane Stanley.  We were able to borrow a costume from some friends of ours who have lots of “dress up” clothes.

My son chose Bill Gates.

Our book club has been such a blessing. I must confess that sometimes it is stressful for me trying to get things together, but overall the benefits have been tremendous.

  1. The children are learning about deadlines and how to work with deadlines.
  2. On a related note, they are learning about finishing projects. That tends to be a weakness in our house.
  3. They have read many different styles of books.
  4. It is good writing practice for them.
  5. It allows them to explore their own interests.
  6. It provides another opportunity for friendships.

I have been seeing one of the weaknesses in our homeschool is my tendency to overschedule our time. Yes, there needs to be routine and order for us to accomplish our learning goals. However, I am continually reminded of my tendency to do things just for the sake of getting them done so I can check off my list. That is not the reason why we are homeschooling. Yes, there are certain things that I want my children to learn, but I want them to have time to learn on their own and enjoy learning. This is not a sprint but a marathon.  There is time.  We can relax. (That doesn’t work real well with the marathon analogy, but oh well.)

This month I saw my oldest son (10 years old) put a lot of effort into his report because he was really interested in it. Usually, I’ve had to nag and plead to get him to write more than a paragraph about a book. He made the excuse that he didn’t want to give too much of the story away. (Do they have an eye rolling smiley??) This month, I couldn’t get him to stop writing. He wrote a full two pages of 12 pt font on Bill Gates! In addition, he studied the binary number system and demonstrated it to the group. I am continually amazed at what this kid can do when I let him!

I encourage everyone to find a part of a group that encourages presentations. It is great experience for the kids and they can really learn how to research and learn on their own. Also, keep evaluating to see how well your homeschool reflects your philosophy of education.  Not only do I have a tendency to get off course, but as my children grow, I need to evaluate the course to make sure it is really leading where we need to go.