Originally Sent: 4/10/2014
April 10, 2014
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“Foolish” Lesson Plans and Chasing Rabbit Trails?
By Betty T. Statnick, M. Ed.
Homeschool teachers develop daily, weekly, monthly teaching plans, and they are quite satisfied when they can execute those plans “without any hitches.” Of course they make allowances schedule-wise for celebrating holidays and family member birthdays.
They also can become very skilled in recognizing teaching opportunities which come disguised as interruptions. So they learn to factor those opportunities into their teaching plans and sometimes chase rabbit trails!
Case in point: At the end of March this year your child stared at the calendar and told you that he didn’t like it when one of his friends called him an “April Fool” last year. That friend had told him to look for a live, purple snake in the mailbox. Your son complied but didn’t find any purple snake. Instead, he was rewarded with “April Fool!”
Now he is raising questions about the most recent April Fool’s Day (April 1).
You capitalize on this opportunity to teach your son something about research skills. You and he go to the World Book Encyclopedia (April Fool’s Day entry) and learn from it that a favorite joke is to send someone on a fool’s errand (a search for something that does not exist). The victim is called an April Fool. You have modeled for your son one way to find information. You didn’t just say to his questions, “I don’t know.” Nor did you tell him, “Go look it up.” You learned together with him.
Here are some online encyclopedias and research tools that will help you and your child as you are “fooling around” chasing rabbit trails. So hop to it and check them out!
• Encyclopedia Britannica online offers a seven-day, free trial and also has a kids’ version that is wonderful.
• Of course there is World Book online, as well.
• Ask For Kids is an easy, kid-friendly search engine that will introduce children to using a search engine tool and discover how that can work for them when doing research.
• Another exciting, inspirational website for children and families to explore is Answers in Genesis, which is an apologetics ministry that seeks to answer questions surrounding the book of Genesis and origins/beginnings. Be sure to check it out!
I also recommend that you and your student search for and then explore Bible references to fools (and related words) which you will find listed in a Bible concordance. I have already done that search, and you may want to use (and expand upon) the results of my research. You probably will want to memorize and have your student memorize some of those verses. Here is a list of those references:
Some online Bible research tools include:
• Bible Gateway, which is a searchable, online Bible.
• At CBN.com a free Bible App (for phones or iPads) for kids is offered; Superbook Kid’s Bible, videos, and games app is free and brings the Bible to life with videos and Emmy-nominated Superbook animation and interactive games.
• This free Bible app also includes profiles of people, places, and artifacts from the Bible in addition to providing Biblical answers to common questions from kids.
You may also want to introduce the “Penny-Wise and Pound-Foolish” idiom which is listed in the Marvin Terban Scholastic Dictionary of Idioms (ISBN 0-590-38157-1): “That was penny-wise and pound-foolish. You saved a dollar in car fare when you walked all the way home, but now you need new sneakers.” Meaning: careful in small matters but careless about important things (saving small amounts of money while wasting large amounts). Discussion about that idiom involves specific skills in reading such as getting the main idea and drawing conclusions which are recognized as problematic for some students with learning problems. (I try to get as much mileage as possible out of teaching/learning activities.)
I like this quote attributed to Charles P. Steinmetz: “There are no foolish questions, and no man becomes a fool until he has stopped asking questions.”
So, when dad comes home from work and asks, “What have you been doing today?” You can respond, “Oh, we’ve just been foolin’-schoolin’ around and chasing some rabbit trails.”
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