Last week we introduced a brand new section to the Wednesday Weekly about stories! People love telling and listening to stories. Surely you remember countless tales of when your family members were young, not because you were there, but because they used words and maybe photos to paint a picture for your mind to capture and recall for years to come. Stories connect us to our history, both individual and shared. Many studies tell us that people remember things more quickly if the information is shared as a story. We know this to be true from the fairy tales and fables we all remember so well that taught us values and morals at a young age. Teaching through a story is a powerful and engaging tool that can be used in your homeschool to increase both interest and retention of information.
I love to read, so I am a collector of books. Our shelves runneth over, and we incorporate literature into much of what we learn, much to the dismay of my reluctant reader. When I find stories most useful, however, is when a child struggles to grasp a concept. When my oldest had a roadblock in math, she was beside herself, trying to remember the different lines and angles, and the meltdowns were frequent. So after days of this, we put the curriculum aside and tried to create, write and draw different stories about those shapes and angles. She even tied in a funny story her grandfather had shared with her years prior. The other day, as her brother was struggling with the same topics, I overheard her recalling the stories we had made up. Watching the power of story at work after so much struggle trying to grasp the concept in a traditional way was fantastic.
Curriculum and books aren’t always the only answer. You have a powerful imagination whether you think you do or not. Be spontaneous, be silly, and let the story come out of you and your children. In my example above, I wasn’t a published author suggesting we write math stories. That was a split-second decision made in a moment of desperation! Simple as it sounds, do not dismiss the power of story in your homeschool. Don’t hesitate to take a detour and read a book or tell a story to your youngest and oldest students. When all else fails, you might just find that a story is a perfect answer to many challenges.
Kara Parkins, Parent Support Advisor