In Ernest Boyer’s article, The Educated Person, he states, “becoming well-educated means discovering the connectedness of things. (We) must help students see relationships across the disciplines and learn that education is a communal act, one that affirms not only individualism but also community. And for these goals to be accomplished, we need a...framework that can...relate the curriculum to the realities of life.” His work identifies eight human commonalities that are shared by all cultures around the world, which provide opportunities for learning every day. Here, we’ll share a few of them and some ideas of how you may encounter these activities in your daily life and how you can transform them into natural learning opportunities:
Understanding how to care for ourselves and other living things to ensure their survival. Conversations at home about health, nutrition, exercise, wellbeing, hygiene are some ways to raise awareness. Creating healthy meal plans, tracking daily exercise together, planting a garden and learning what the plants need to grow are some ways to take action as a family.
Language is all-encompassing: writing, speaking, reading and interpreting. But it’s not just about accuracy, it’s also about honesty. Learning about the ethics of language is just as important as the mechanics of language. Daily conversations at home (in any language), reading together, writing in journals together to process thoughts and feelings, and discussing information that you come across together to determine it’s reliability or accuracy is a great way to encourage your children to be critical thinkers and users of language. Symbolic language is also important - mathematical numbers and symbols surround us in everyday life. A good example is baking together and discussing what the measurements mean. Placing your grocery order? Have your child help; adding up the costs of items, sticking to a budget, etc.
Language is...not just about accuracy, it’s also about honesty.
We all participate, for much of our lives, in the commonality of work. Having children engage in chores around the house is a great starting point. Build or make something together to develop a sense of production and craftsmanship rather than just consumption. The more we can have children ‘hands-on’, the more ‘heads on’ and ‘hearts on’ they will be as well. Math, language, social studies and science, art or music could be involved in this!
All people on the planet respond to the aesthetic. Dance, music, painting, sculpture, and architecture are languages understood around the world. Every child has the urge and capacity to be expressive. Listen to music together and talk about the meaning behind the lyrics and how the instruments make you feel. Go on a virtual tour of many of the world’s museums and discuss the artwork, then try to recreate it at home with materials you have available. Encourage free expression at home and share the works of art created in a family gallery
Of course, the opportunities are endless! - If you are interested in reading the article written by Ernest Boyer or hearing more ideas of how to bring learning into your daily family activities through the other commonalities, please do not hesitate to email Kru Jen (email@example.com).
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