One of the advantages of homeschooling is being able to spend time dissecting a concept with the kids until they are able to understand it well. This is a benefit not a lot of teachers are able to provide their students in a normal classroom setting.
However, the edge of normal schools is a curriculum that follows the philosophies of holistic education. With homeschooling, we can craft our approach our kids have a fighting chance when in post-secondary schooling. But it is that holistic education approach that some of us parents need to look into so we can better contribute to our kids’ development.
Defining Holistic Education
The shortcomings of some schools lie in what they tend to focus on when it comes to education our kids: rigorous academic instruction for optimum intellectual development. On paper, this does not sound bad at all because at the end of the day, kids who excel do get to receive the best university offers and job prospects.
But what this does is neglect all the other aspects that make our child whole. This is why the holistic approach is much more suitable for us who homeschool our kids. Simply put, it does not just cultivate a love for learning, but it takes into account the child’s emotions, social skills, and participation in society. Right now, this kind of approach is seen only in secondary international schools like in Singapore. In fact, their core teaching plan is based around holistic education.
Using Bloom’s Taxonomy to Achieve Holistic Development
The next question would be how we can execute this holistic approach in our own homeschooling curriculum. The answer is a framework called Bloom’s Taxonomy. This was published in 1956 by Benjamin Bloom with colleagues Max Englehart, Edward Furst, Walter Hill, and David Krathwohl in a book titled Taxonomy of Educational Objectives.
Basically, they divided cognitive learning into six categories which follows a hierarchical path, namely: Knowledge, Comprehension, Application, Analysis, Synthesis, and Evaluation. But this was then revised in 2001 and is now being applied by international schools and other institutions already shifting towards a more holistic philosophy.
This revision was published by cognitive psychologists in a book titled A Taxonomy for Teaching, Learning, and Assessment.
- Remembering – recalling or retrieving information from long-term memory
- Understanding – comprehending key concepts and problems, then explaining them through one’s own words
- Applying – using a concept to solve a problem or applying what was learnt in real life situations
- Analyzing – dissecting a material into component parts and determining how one relates to another
- Evaluating – making value judgments based on a set criteria
- Creating – synthesizing separate elements to form one cohesive whole, or reorganizing diverse patterns to form a new meaning or concept
What this does is provide us a clear process for learning: Before our child understands their lessons, they must first be able to recall it. Before applying key concepts, they must first understand it. Before they can evaluate whether the concept still holds true, they must first analyze it. Before they are able to create new ideas and conclusions, they must evaluate it.
We can do this by incorporating projects into their schoolwork, and not just simple questions that test their memorizations. They must be able to use what you have discussed in your class together in a performance test that allows them to use what they know in ways that they never knew they can.