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Busy Work

" They have a broad, interesting "diet" for their minds in the mornings, with the afternoons in contrast including play, picture study, acting, or nature walks. Charlotte Mason did not want homework given out either. Life itself is too important to crowd out with busywork."
~from When Children Love to Learn  by Elaine Cooper

In considering a Charlotte Mason education for my own children I have had to make some serious changes to our homeschooling curriculum. The book shelves are being sorted through and purged as I take into consideration what we will actually be using.

In reading the CM books and books written about CM Education, like the one above, I have seen the importance of  improving their educational 'diets' by weeding out the busy work.

When  thinking on the actual processes involved in learning and the practical applications to real life many, many of the things I had been having my children do before equaled busywork. The Explode the Code Workbooks, the Teaching Textbook math lessons, the worksheets, even some of the more hands-on arts and craft like activities like Evan Moor History Pockets and lapbooking are types of busywork for my kids. (Please do not feel I am making a judgment call for you if you use any of these things, this is all about our Personal homeschooling journey) They have been acting as forms my kids are filling out to prove I taught them, but have not really exhibited any signs of real retained learning on their part.As I looked about me on the shelves, I had to rethink how I had been approaching education and the selection of curriculum.I must be careful not to crowd out the real genuine learning time with needless and fruitless busywork. Busy work fills time, and is a type of  fill in the blank form, making it mostly mindless drudgery. 
I asked myself questions to help me narrow down what should go and what should stay as far as curriculum items were concerned. Why was I assigning them? Did they adequately assist the boys in demonstrating what they know vs. what I taught them? Were the boys simply filling in a 'form' so that I could prove I taught them?

The best part is how much it is simplifying our homeschool, not to mention all the shelf space I'm gaining for good books!!

2 COMMENTS (click here!):

Kerri said...

Hello. I just found your blog this evening.

I like this thought. I too, have been weeding out some of the extras and busywork. When I visit various homeschooling blogs, there is a huge amount of what I feel to be busywork. It makes for the cutest pictures, but I wonder if it is really valuable for and to the children.

Silvia said...

Kerri, I agree with you. You may get that feeling even from some of my posts, LOL, but I can attest those are compilations, things spontaneous, that did not require much of my guiding but their drive, I too don't like busy work.

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