It's the end of another month and time for another post about Everyday Scholé - simple and practical ways to apply Classical Education principles to our homeschool. I'm joined by my two friends, Chelli from The Planted Trees and Sara from Classically Homeschooling. This month our topic is 'Embodied Learning' - in other words, learning with all five senses.
Dr. Perrin begins his lecture about embodied learning with a simple example - we don't often remember five lectures or sermons that impacted us, but we can quickly recall a handful of people who have made the biggest impact on our lives.
The example can easily be applied to education - we don't often remember lectures from school days, but we do remember our favorite teachers. What was it they did that made them so memorable?
From my own school days, the teachers that I found the most memorable were excited about education and went beyond just lecturing each day. They wanted us to experience whatever it was they were teaching.
That is the foundation of embodied education - moving beyond lectures to find ways to make learning a full experience - education that shapes the heart and mind.
We don't need to just hear about things in a lecture, we need to experience it.
How can we apply this principle to our homeschools?
Dr. Perrin looks at the church as our example for embodied learning. The church has patterns of worship and routines and rituals that can be examples for us as homeschoolers. All of these traditions engage all the senses - the goal of embodied learning.
A Practical Look at Embodied Learning
So how can we take the church traditions and apply those patterns of worship and rituals to our homeschool? Let's take a practical look at how to apply this to homeschooling in three different ways.
It may seem like an odd thing to focus on beauty before discussing curriculum and schedules, but stick with me for a moment. The environment we homeschool in creates our experience for education - for us and for our children. What kind of experience do we want them to have?
Ideally, I'd like to have a peaceful day filled with good discussions, books, and a focus on family relationships and cultivating a love of learning. Finding ways to intentionally create a beautiful atmosphere provides a solid foundation for that experience.
Do we reach this ideal every day? No. But it's a process. Some days are better than others.
How can we add beauty to our homeschool day? Here are a few ideas: read poetry together, hang art prints wherever schooling takes place, a calm environment with quiet music playing in the background, or afternoon tea with poetry reading.
Another way to create an atmosphere for embodied learning is through the development of good habits. If you've ever read anything by or about Charlotte Mason you'll know she was an advocate for instilling good habits in children. I absolutely agree with her.
Developing simple daily habits creates an atmosphere for learning. A few habits to consider: reading good books together, older kids helping with younger children, walks or bike rides together (great time for discussions, nature study, and observation). These three things build strong family relationships while creating a beautiful homeschool.
It's easy to get wrapped up in checking off a list of assignments, but it's also a stressful way to homeschool. Instead of focusing on learning and taking time for discussion, I often fall into the habit of just getting it done and moving on to something more interesting. We may get the work finished but it's not the vision I had for our homeschool.
Creating a relaxed learning environment and strengthening our family relationship are two of my biggest homeschooling goals. Moving through a checklist is the exact opposite of the environment I want to create.
While we still have daily assignments, our school day flows so much more smoothly when we focus on simple daily routines. Things like Bible reading during breakfast, quiet family reading time every afternoon, tea and poetry at the end of the day. Creating a daily routine that includes those quiet, thoughtful moments changes our homeschooling experience - even when we're working through our daily assignments.
At its core, embodied learning involves all five senses. Finding ways to incorporate the senses in homeschooling lessons will help kids remember what they are learning. A few ideas:
- reading aloud
- songs and chants for recitation
- hands-on projects
- jumping jacks while reciting Latin declensions or math facts
Adding a few simple techniques for auditory and kinesthetic learning creates even more ways for kids to remember what they are learning.
More about Embodied Learning
I've barely scratched the surface on the topic of embodied education. For a more in-depth look, watch Dr. Perrin's lecture on the topic: