This blog post is Part 3 of our Vision Casting series. Visit our blog to read the entire series.
“For it is out of the abundance of the heart that the mouth speaks,” Luke 6:45
I think we’ve all experienced it – all conversation is not created equal. And that includes our conversations with our children. It is all too easy to race through the day – I do it all the time – spatting out what must be done and failing to consider anything deeper.
What use is a great book without the intentional contemplation of theme and character? What use is a timeline without considering how God’s hand can be seen throughout it? And, truly, what use is a science experiment without discussing the results?
We homeschool our children so that we don’t miss these conversations. But are we intentional about introducing them throughout daily study? I can answer that sometimes I am, and sometimes I need reminding.
Curriculum resources often try to help us with this, but in this, too, all “discussion starters” are not equal. Are the questions primarily written asking your student to focus on self – what he liked or disliked about a particular study? There isn’t, of course, anything wrong with asking those questions, but does the conversation end there?
We have a teacher to look toward for this. The Socratic Method can be adapted to fit every area of study, prompting your students to think critically about definitions and exceptions to the definitions of ideas.
In our Learning with Friends bundles, we lay out this line of questioning for you for each project, aligning it with the Scientific Method so that students are exposed to this strategy of thinking through a scientific question.
I particularly love one of our lessons in the Biology Bundle that asks students to talk through a definition of life and then compare their definition to the flame of a candle. Does it apply? Should their definition change as a result?
A hands-on science experiment is simply a tool, and an in-effective one at that, if the conversation that accompanies it is weak. Our buffet of discussion starters go far beyond asking your student about his favorites and, instead, dives deeply asking him to think through his definitions, his predictions, the patterns he finds, and his conclusions.
Nicole Paitsel is creator and co-founder of Learning with Friends, a hands-on science enrichment curriculum that equips parents to create moments of discovery, connection, and conversation in their homes.