Thursday, June 7, 2007

We Must Change the Way We Teach Science!

I know, I know, I'm always pointing out the problems with our current method of education and I've mentioned before the data collected by TIMSS, otherwise known as Trends in International Mathematics and Science Study, which found that American children in fourth grade scored at the top internationally in math and science, but by eighth grade were at the bottom, and descended even further by twelfth grade. Yet, I feel this is so important to home educators, I must state it again for those who haven't heard it before.

TIMSS found that the reason for America's decline is because students were given an education that skimmed the surface - covering too much material each year - but not deeply. This is called the spiral approach, or survey method. TIMSS recorded that American students were being short-changed with this approach, and were simply being denied a true and effective education. TIMSS stated that American education in science and math is "a mile wide and an inch deep."

As most of you know, my science books support the new standards proposed by TIMSS to go deeper, offering children a genuine education. From the wonderful and encouraging emails I get, it seems that children are very much inspired to new heights in science when they are given the opportunity to learn a subject so well that they feel that they are virtually experts on the subject. It's no fun to just know a little about everything.

I really feel science is an inspiring subject. Most hobbies are science related: Birding, Scuba Diving, Rock Collecting, Star Gazing, the list goes on. Science has the potential to inspire people. The spiral or survey approach, gives students the impression that the scant knowledge presented in the text is all there is to the subject. They lose interest.

Truly, if you desire for your children to be educated, truly educated, then don't survey science. Dig in deep. Even if you don't use my books, go deep into one field for a while; camp out on a subject and really learn it. Your child will fall in love with science - and truly learn with a comprehension that will be retained through eighth and twelfth grade.

Press on! Homeschooling works because we have a unique opportunity to toss out the mandated methods that don't work and adopting methods that work.

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