February 19, 2012

Learning Financial Management at Early Age

We are reviving our Merit Store, and it's even bigger!

Our Merit Store had helped me motivate my homeschoolers in completing their daily goals. Their scores increased and they became more conscious in following rules and instructions. 

When we moved houses and then had made adjustments to our homeschool set-up, the merit store was put aside. But now, we have decided to bring it back  and use it not only as a motivational tool but also to teach our homeschoolers banking system and principles. It's never too early to teach our young children principles on financial management such as saving more, spending less, and keeping good credit score rating. They'll know better how to use (or not to use) credit cards, and be wise in using cash money when they grow up.

I blogged about our Merit Store before but I will be posting more on this once our new Merit Store is open.

January 12, 2012

Becoming Critical Thinkers Like Socrates and Plato

Image by Google
When I give away the activity sheets to my grade 2 pupils this morning, I was almost tempted to give them the step by step instructions on how to answer their papers. I just didn't want them to fail for not following instructions. But then I thought to myself, they also need to learn to figure things out by themselves. Not everything in life goes with an instruction manual. If I want my student to be successful in life, I should not spoon-fed them with knowledge but train them to become skilled thinkers.
As an educator for more than 20 years now and have taught all ages in all levels including my own children, one of the achievements I really value is seeing my learners become critical thinkers. When I sent my homeschooled son to the university, I was confident that he would excel despite not being familiar with life in a big school. As I expected, he is doing great indeed. 
One of the major discussions we have in my MA in Education classes at present is on how to teach our students to become critical thinkers or skilled thinkers. There go the terms higher-order of thinking and Socratic questioning or the art of asking big questions. They sound like highly technical terms but really, we parents are already applying some them to our children. When we are not ignoring the unending "why-questions" of our toddlers, we are actually encouraging them to use higher-order of thinking. "What is this for?" is a bigger question than "What is this?" When preparing a test for my students and homeschoolers, I usually avoid formulating questions answerable by yes or no or plain true or false. "They have to be moved to a higher-order of thinking." says one of my professors. And alas, it's not a hard task because there are strategies to do that.
If you are a teacher or a homeschool mom, you don't really need to take MA in Education as I did to learn more  about critical thinking strategies. Critical thinking is not a new thing. It's even older than Socrates and Plato. There are excellent online resources available which one I just hopped into and is happily hooked in.