Visiting the Vietnam War Museum in Ho Chi Minh City
As they became teens, they did their own research online in response to news or things they read. I continued to explain concepts and answered their questions when issues came up. We watched all kinds of drama, history, and action movies together. We had a lot of dinnertime discussions. Those discussions were the best kind of learning. The kids got to hear other’s opinions and we provided context for their learning that went beyond names, dates and places.
In the teen years, we world-schooled on the cheap and made a point to visit museums while traveling. We even discovered that museums have a lot of bias in recounting history depending on who was funding the museum. That was our social studies program until high school. The teen years are the best for visiting museums. Bringing younger children to adult museums just resulted in frustration because the kids wouldn’t read the displays nor absorb the information. When teens get their abstract thinking skills at age 13, they are more patient and take in so much more from museums and science centres.
When kids don’t get direct instruction, they do more self-directed research. The best questions and motivation for further study are those asked by the learner. Today, they vote and understand the world governments, politics and economies very well. They read Time, Maclearn’s and The Economist magazines. They read newspapers.
No matter how hard we work to take the bias out of curriculum, it is embedded deeply. Curriculum is debatable and social studies is country-specific. Schools pick and choose which topics to present. Some schools teach facts only and other schools teach ideology. The school curriculum will never suit every parent, but every parent can instill a love of “finding out” and the skill of critical thinking beyond the classroom. That is just good parenting. Ultimately, your children are going to learn beyond what is taught in schools and formulate their own values, beliefs, ideology and opinions.
Our world needs more countries where our children can ask the hard questions and have access to unlimited viewpoints and information to make their own judgements. A good school curriculum should support that. If it fails, there is always unschooling – self-directed research.