Tuesday, June 9, 2015

A Little Evaluation of the Lifestyle of Learning

In previous posts I have explained my educational philosophy (here and here and here) and for a couple of years now I have documented and shared our lifestyle of learning.  I have even shared how difficult it can be to just have faith in the process of true education; to not be anxious and intervene in the process,  I encounter the anxiety more routinely as the boys have begun to earn high school credit and as I face the fact that they will fly the nest relatively soon; as I wonder - have I done enough? have they done enough?  The textbook approach can seem reassuring; you just check the boxes (read that chapter, did that assignment) and then you get to tell yourself that your child's education is complete.  At the beginning of the last academic year Bishop had determined that he wanted to complete high school biology during his eighth grade year.  The plan was for Bishop to simply work his way through the biology textbook that Christian and Keegan used in high school, doing the accompanying lab work.  He expressed desire and intent to do this.  In the fall he began determinedly doing just that then life just took off and the book went to the wayside.
Well, the end of the academic year has arrived and that textbook remains to the wayside with only three chapters read in it.  Thinking about that makes my throat tighten a little bit but before I begin worrying that he may never get through high school biology I chose to evaluate his records and found that he has made significant progress in the realm of high school biology without making it through that textbook.

Below are notes that I compiled that compare the contents of the textbook with his work and experiences.
Check it out....

Chapter 1 - Introduction to Biology, related terms, the use of the microscope, the scientific method and the classification system:
He studied the classification system at a science center, read the chapter on Leeuwenhoek in Microbe Hunters by Paul de Kruif, read this chapter in the Biology textbook, learned to use the microscope and make slides and proceeded to examine a host of items found around the house, and read the chapter on Spallananzi in Microbe Hunters. 

Chapter 2 - Kingdom Monera:
He collected samples of pond water, created cultures and examined under the microscope, and read this chapter in the Biology textbook.

Chapter 3 - Kingdom Protista:
He read this chapter in the textbook.

Chapter 4 - Kingdom Fungi:
He participated in a lichen survey sponsored by our city,  and went on a mushroom walk.

Chapter 5 - The Chemistry of Life; atoms, matter, molecules, DNA:
He was given an introduction to DNA at a local science center and extracted DNA from an onion,

Chapter 6 - The Cell:

Chapter 7 - Cellular Reproduction:

Chapter 8 - Genetics:

Chapter 9 - Evolution:
This is one of those subjects that are addressed consistently in the culture.  Bishop has watched countless biology related shows and they all speak of evolution.  We have had numerous discussions about the distinction between microevolution and macroevolution.

Chapter 10 - Ecosystems:
He researched ecosystems/ biomes with nature study group, used a pin map to identify the various biomes of the world, did an ecosystem project with his nature study group that involved attempting to create self-sustaining mini-ecosystems, attended a lecture on endangered species, earned environmental science merit badge,  took a class regarding ecosystems at a local science center, made a terrarium, researched products of the rainforest, took a field trip to the local zoo and the St. Louis zoo and identify the biomes that the animals reside in naturally.

Chapter 11 - The Invertebrates of Kingdom Animalia:
 Twice he dissected a squid at a local science center and took a field trip to an aquarium and observed jellyfish and other invertebrates.

Chapter 12 - Phylum Arthropoda to include Class Insecta:
He earned the insect studies merit badge,  took a field trip to The Butterfly Palace,  identified and observed carpenter bees. 

Chapter 13 - Phylum Chordata, Subphylum Vertebrata:
He dissected a fish at a local science center, he dissected a frog at a local science center, can distinguish between exoskeleton and endoskeleton, studied the composition of bone and made a model, has studied the closed circulatory system, he has observed sharks, rays and skates, among other marine vertebrates at an aquarium, 

Chapter 14 - Kingdom Plantae Anatomy and Classification:
He earned the forestry merit badge, 

Chapter 15 - Kingdom Plantae Physiology and Reproduction:

Chapter 16 - Reptiles, Birds, and Mammals:
He dissected a rat at a local science center, took a class on comparative anatomy and dissected a pig at a local science center,  earned the mammal studies merit badge, took a field trip to a local museum that had an exhibition of Audubon's depictions of mammals, took a field trip to a tiger sanctuary, took a field trip to Exotic Animal Paradise where he actually got to feed tigers, attended programs offering introductory information on birds and bird identification, attended a warbler walk in which an ornithologist presented information about warblers that might be in our area then led us on a walk helping us identify a variety of birds, has researched birds in hopes that he will own one as a pet one day, has helped care for the chicks and hens, has read countless books and has seen movies and shows on reptiles, birds and mammals, he has identified a number of snakes, has handled snakes and has researched what would be required of him to own snakes, as part of his research on snake ownership he watched many videos produced by snake breeders.

The breadth and depth of his knowledge about the natural world astounds me.

So, with that I dispel my doubts and the accompanying anxiety and my conviction that this lifestyle of learning is appropriate and effective grows.

No comments:

Post a Comment