Home School Heartbeat Radio Program
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Last year, Pamela Hall was chosen as a member of USA Today's teacher team. She now home educates her two boys. Tune in as Mike Smith gleans some helpful tips from this homeschool mom.
Pamela, USA Today honored you as one of 2004's top 20 teachers because of the way you tailored your classroom studies to your students' interests. Can you give us an example?
Well, I ask the children what they would like to learn, and I write their ideas down. One time, my class wanted to learn about reptiles. So I borrowed a boa constrictor for two months, and in the classroom the children observed it daily. They read books about reptiles and, of course, boas. And they looked up the information on the Internet. They wrote reports. They had to share orally. And they were teaching other people about reptiles as well. And we brought in math. They measured the boathe length, the diameter. And also the boa shed its skin, and we were able to measure that, then cut it up, and everybody got to take a piece home. So through this process, they were reading, writing, doing math, observing, comparing and contrasting, and learning about habitats.
How does this approach facilitate learning, though, for students?
Well, when the topic is their idea, their interest level is really high. And when their interest level is high, they'll stay excited and focused on their learning. And they'll internalize the learning because it's relevant to them. And they always look forward to the next project, because the learning is centered on their needs, it's hands-on, and it's fun.
Well, that's exciting, Pamela. I'm Mike Smith.
Liven up the learning process with Home School Heartbeat's free resource sheet. It lists books and websites packed with learning fun, including some recommended sites from Pamela Hall. Just call 1-866-338-8614.