Here’s a homeschooling challenge your 10 year old is sure to enjoy…have him write his own (one week) homeschool curriculum to develop critical thinking skills. You’ll be surprised by how creative your ‘tween can be!
Young kids have more self-motivation and daring than we adults give them credit.Young people entering university often have problems with their studies and turn to . Recently, while promoting the musical Newsies, the NYTimes wrote about Kid Blink, Crutchy Morris, and a labor strike in 1899 that “unsettled the empires of Joseph Pulitzer and William Randolph Hearst.”
Thousands of kids used “muscle and witty skills” to interrupt paper delivery over unfair wages. Undaunted by their lowly position in society, these little ragamuffin, street-smart kids used their powers of observation, knowledge of the industry, and genuine need (economic self-interest) to organize action with a common goal.
Why not give your little homeschool kids the power to meet their own academic needs by letting them write a short-term curriculum solution?
All too often, canned homeschool curriculum has an artificial, useless feeling to it; it’s no wonder that normal kids are bored to tears with dry, contrived curriculum. Victorian “newsies” proved that when there is a real need, even the youngest kids can summon the personal resources to get the job done, meet goals, and ramp up skills.
Real-Life Homeschool Curriculum
What your kids need is “real-life” homeschool curriculum. Based on your understanding of his strong and weak areas, which of the skills of the classical education trivium (reading, thinking, writing, or speaking) does he need to work on? Could it be problem-solving or punctuation?
Schedule an early morning outing to the local bakery or bagel shop with your 10 year old
Bring butcher paper and crayons for sketching out preliminary ideas
Tell him the real-life problem*
Announce the homeschool challenge: he’s going to draft a one week homeschool lesson plan to solve the problem
Don’t restrict his methods; encourage him to be creative and have fun. Suggest that he learn within the context of his passions.
If he’s like most 10 yo boys, he’s a sports fanatic. Let him design a sports lesson plan or unit study to help him perfect his critical thinking skills by solving a problem or improve his reading skills by correcting punctuation errors in real newspapers.
When you get home from your bakery “date,” pull out the butcher paper and crayons; give him the rest of the day to brainstorm ideas of how he’s going to improve the particular critical thinking (problem-solving) or reading (punctuation) skill. Reconvene after he has exhausted his ideas, and help him draft the daily lesson plan. Did he enjoy planning his very own, unique homeschool curriculum?
Fun! Pride! Responsibility!
Plan a trip to gather supplies (craft store, library, video shop, or nature center), then let him use his imagination and ingenuity to improve his own skills in such a fun way. Like the young newsies of New York City, your little homeschool student can use his power of observation and self-interest to make real-life changes while taking responsibility for his own success. More information: