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Preparing Lessons and The Role of the Teacher

I've been reading and enjoying When Children Love to Learn by Elaine Cooper. There were several quotes that I wish to share here that relay the importance of preparing a lesson and the role of a teacher, which are topics I consider significant.

I know that I myself have been too often caught up in life's unpredictable interruptions and allowed it to take over the time I needed to prepare lessons for both girls. It has been so terrible lately that I have felt very guilty and frustrated with it. I must make a change, or I know I will not give them the full effect of learning that they deserve.

Here are some quotes from When Children Love to Learn that I especially liked:

"It is not enough to offer living books and narration to the student and then characterize the lesson as one that will provide mental growth, exercise several mental powers of the mind, furnish fruitful ideas and afford the child with interesting and accurate knowledge. These lessons described here can only be the result of careful, thoughtful planning."(Cooper, 111)"

"Unprepared lessons wander aimlessly and are directed by the clock, tangents and unrelated questions." (Cooper, 111)

I'm guilty of going into lessons unprepared. A direct result of this lack of preparation is to allow the girls to simply read the book, or read it together and talk about one or two minor aspects, or some other minimal attempt at learning and then checking the box on the schedule. I do think that life is never perfect, and that there are going to be times when a simple lesson is sufficient. But, I also know that I too often allow too many simple lessons in order to accomplish the list for the day.

Here are more quotes that I'd like to share:

"Prepared lessons have objectives in mind (content and/or performance), questions to be asked, ideas to be discussed, skills to be introduced or reinforced, and sympathies to be gained. Yet in all this preparation the education is careful not to do the mind work for the students, but thoughtfully moves toward an aim so as not to get in between living books and things and the child."(Cooper, 111)

"Charlotte Mason urged the educator to apply four tests to the students' lessons:

Does the lesson

*Provide material for mental growth?

*Exercise several powers of the mind?

*Furnish fruitful ideas?

*Afford valuable, accurate and interesting knowledge?" (Cooper, 105)

"The communion develops from mind to mind, and the teacher acts as a guide, philosopher and companion. An obstacle persists when children are viewed as products of education and environment, not as persons."(Cooper, 109)

These quotes, along with the length of time that has passed where education has not been in its rightful place as the forefront of our schedule, have inspired me to work much harder. I began this journey because I believed so strongly in what constituted a true education, and that the best way to provide it to my children was in homeschooling. I need to know that I give my heart and soul to this effort. Being a better teacher is the only way I can accomplish this. It really does all start with me.

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