Interest-Led Learning, Waldorf Method, Free Online Textbooks, and More
From the Editor
Summer is the perfect time for interest-led learning, and Jeanne has a great resource for you in her article this issue. As a homeschool evaluator in Virginia, Jeanne encounters many useful tools and ideas for homeschooling and features one of her findings below. This resource gets 5 stars from me – I would have loved it when I was a child! Also check out the free Waldorf online conference in the Educational Resources – it looks like a great weekend full of information.
Enjoy the newsletter!
Mary Ann Kelley
This conference is an online homeschool event for Waldorf-inspired homeschoolers. “The 5th Waldorf Homeschool Expo is a weekend of free training from 15 of your favorite homeschool gurus. You’ll get ideas on rhythm/scheduling, discipline, main lesson books, temperaments, adolescence, the essence of Waldorf and so much more.” Registration is free and currently open with 4 bonuses for registration. You can get a sneak peek here.
Peter Gray is well known for his blog on Psychology Today tackling education topics. Gray is a supporter of alternative education methods including unschooling, and over the years has written quite a bit about the subject. Gray and his colleague Gina Riley did a previous study of unschoolers from the perspective of the parent, but were curious about the perspective of adults who were unschooled. In this article and three that will follow, Gray and Riley disclose the results of the survey. The results are worth noting, particularly this: “Almost all of the respondents, in various ways, wrote about the freedom and independence that unschooling gave them and the time it gave them to discover and pursue their own interests. Seventy percent of them also said, in one way or another, that the experience enabled them to develop as highly self-motivated, self-directed individuals.” Read the whole
overview here and watch for the upcoming articles with more about the survey results.
College textbooks have become an industry unto themselves. Often, the texts used for classes cost as much as the credit hours and sometimes they are not even used after purchase. Whether you are looking for a text to use as a spine for a high school class or want to avoid the high cost of a reference text for a college course, Rice University’s OpenStax college texts are a great option. “OpenStax College is a nonprofit organization committed to improving student access to quality learning materials. Our free textbooks are developed and peer-reviewed by educators to ensure they are readable, accurate, and meet the scope and sequence requirements of your course.”
Stellarium is a free open source planetarium for your computer (Mac, Windows, Linux, and Ubuntu) that shows a realistic sky in 3D. To use it, download and install the free open source software and input your longitude and latitude coordinates. The user guide is available in multiple languages here.
Recent Blog Posts
Instead of Curriculum: DIY.org
During my busy season helping families meet Virginia’s annual evidence of progress requirement for homeschoolers, I enjoy seeing all the resources parents use to help their children learn. This year, one of the resources a child was most excited about was DIY.org.
At DIY.org, children can choose to complete challenges for different “Skills,” earning both virtual and real embroidered patches (purchasing the patches is optional and is the only cost involved in the program), and developing a portfolio of videos and photos showing when challenges are accomplished.
For instance, the second grader I was working with — let’s call her Becky — had achieved the Gardener Skill. Among the challenges she completed for the achievement included growing seedlings, planting an outdoor garden, and making compost, all challenges listed on the DIY Gardening Skill page.
Using her mom’s iPhone, Becky showed me pictures of her garden and other challenges she had completed along the way to earning her Gardener patch. Most amazingly, she had video of her compost pile, and the narration of the video was Becky herself, explaining the value of compost, how to develop a compost pile, how composting works, and how she will use it on her garden.
Becky went on to explain…