Home Schooling Is Good for Mum, Too, or How I Became a History Fan!
Very recently, we played Trivial Pursuit as a family. This is a game which I had packed away because I felt that the children weren’t ready for it. Well, we were trying to decide what game to play and, tired of the same old games, I had a look in the cupboard (of all the ‘packed away for later’ games) and thought, “Ah! Trivial Pursuit! I think the children are ready for this now.” And they were. Master Twelve and Miss Ten formed one team. Master Seven and I formed one team, and Mark was with Miss Two who helped with rolling the dice. Master Twelve and Miss Ten did a commendable job and answered many of the questions with as much aptitude as the grown-ups. At one point in the game, the three teams were even. They struggled a bit with the Entertainment category, but that is probably because we do not watch a lot of television. Nevertheless, I was very impressed with their ability to answer questions in the other categories: Geography, History, Art and Literature, Science and Nature, Sports and Leisure. I give most of the credit to home schooling.
The curriculum we’re using is Sonlight Curriculum. When I first looked into it, I was very drawn to its educational philosophy. I was also impressed with their list of “Reasons Not to Buy”. After weeks of investigating other home schooling curriculums, most of which basically made one feel guilty for not using their curriculum, reading Sonlight’s list of why it might not be a good fit for one’s family was truly a breath of fresh air!
However, when I read that their focus was on History, I really had serious second thoughts about purchasing from them. History was my least favourite subject when I was in school. The textbooks were boring, and the teachers were boring, too. What I remember of my history lessons seems to involve the teacher reading from the textbookwith a monotone voice and the students following along; and/or the teacher writing notes on the blackboard and the students copying down what she wrote. How boring. Furthermore, we seemed to be learning Malaysian history ad nauseum.
After Form 4, when History became optional, I dropped it like a hot potato! Well, that year, the school had a new history teacher, Mrs. Ganesan. Form 5 History was South East Asian History (which is a change!) and Mrs G made history come alive. She spoke about the events in a real animated voice and her excitement was contagious. I only sat in on her classes a couple of times (just to see what she was like) and I almost regretted dropping history.
So, I was more than a bit hesitant to go with Sonlight. But, I was so attracted by their overall worldview, that I decided to take the plunge and ordered the Pre-K level. That was in 2001. Eight years and eight levels later, we are still with Sonlight and still enjoying it.
This year in our homeschooling journey, we are studying World History. Master Twelve and Miss Ten are studying it in depth and Master Seven is doing an introduction. I find that I am learning as much, if not more, than they are. When I was in school, we never studied the ancient empires. I never learned about the Middle Ages. Reading Shakespeare in my English Literature classes would have been SO much more enriching if I had the gaps in my historical knowledge filled. So, I am glad that I decided to go with Sonlight and now have a better and clearer picture of historical events.