In her post, Jimmie quoted something I'd posted awhile ago in answer to this question: "I guess my question is when you read the books do you have activities that you do or implement to go along with them or is reading enough?" A few words to first give a little context; to quote myself… ;)
”Though it might seem crazy, a child doesn’t really need a lot of hands-on activities to learn things or make connections when reading living books!!”
Hands-on projects are not necessary to a child’s learning when they are reading living books, is the idea I’ve expressed here, and I have to say that I agree with myself ;)
First, this implies the idea that the children are of living book reading age. :) Second, when I say hands-on projects, I'd like to define those as crafty activities that are usually planned ahead with the intention of reinforcing a concept being taught. These can be fun, perhaps even helpful, but I still maintain they are most often unnecessary when using living books*. What I'm not referring to is handicrafts (basket weaving, sewing, wood carving, etc. see below) which are an absolute delight to most children and especially those in our family. :)
However, like Jimmie said and I’ve said elsewhere and Charlotte Mason says and so-and-so also says and… <grin> It is ABSOLUTELY necessary for very young children to get their hands onto things to learn – especially when it comes to abstract ideas (like math). And I would venture to say not just abstract concepts like math, but in those early years it is vital to experience all things outdoors and there ought to be much opportunity for hands on play with *things* very much apart from books. (As an aside, CM actually says NOT to read too much to a very young child!) BUT, as Jimmie has defined in another post, getting their hands onto things can be different than pre-planned ornate hands-on projects. I am all for the first, and less excited about the second. But that’s just me.
I require my kids do lots of things apart from reading books with their hands ;) that probably do not classify technically as ‘hands-on’ learning projects though they are all very hands on:
- nature study
- various art
- handicrafts (wood carving, cookie deco, fimo clay, beginning sewing, etc)
- learning an instrument
But, most times the activity is completely independent of their book learning.
NOW. I think all those hands-on projects are great for the people and children who love them! Absolutely!
Especially when those hands-on projects can in someway benefit others (making gifts, repairing something, etc). And if they reinforce a concept being learned elsewhere, why not?! Excellent.
I just don’t do it. But, I don’t prohibit it either… I just don’t specifically plan them into my children’s education. (Except when grandparents visit, they are not only encouraged, but specifically required to do crafty things with my kids, heheh!) That doesn't mean lots of hands-on activities don't occur quite spontaneously, that is what I LOVE! When my kids come up with their own stuff! That is completely and utterly satisfying. :)
I’m not saying that what we do is the way it should always be done, it’s just the way it works in our family (for many reasons: a non-crafty momma, multiple children, a strong CM focus, limited craft supplies available, etc., etc.). Families ought to find their happy medium in these areas and then feel confident they are doing their best… and STOP worrying! We cannot teach our children everything. They will continue their learning all throughout their lifetimes, just as WE teachers are still learning!
It’s part of the beauty of life. :)
PS. Children with special learning needs are always the exception. Their education must be tailor fit to them in SO many ways, and I know from friends who have this kind of exceptional kids that hands-on activities are often VERY helpful!