Author Bio: Felicia Ruiz is a stay at home mom of 2 boys. She has 15 years of
experience working with kids of all ages, settings, and abilities. And
that was before she went back for her degree in special education. Armed
with plenty of experience and that little degree, she’s eager to help
parents find ways to help their kids learn outside the classroom,
providing tips on her website: houndahobby.com.
Are we done with those tests already? Is summer here yet? Like your kids,
you’re probably thinking of all the possible things you could do during
the summer, keeping an eye out for those swimming schedules and camps of
interest. It’s all good. They keep the kids busy and happy for sure. What
do you do if you’re in between activities or can’t afford those camps?
Hobbies are a great way to pass the time!
Hobbies have many benefits. I like how they support the project-based
learning approach and can be totally self-directed learning. Project-based
learning is exactly that, learning through a project with guidance.
BIE.org has a good list explaining what pbl is here:
http://bie.org/about/what_pbl Self-directed learning has very little
guidance from teachers (or parents) within a goal or project idea.
selfdirectedlearning.org has the definition here:
http://www.selfdirectedlearning.org/what-is-self-directed-learning So with
hobbies, we are helping out our kids in so many ways.
There’s quite a bit that falls in the hobby category. Dictionary.com
defines it simply as “an activity or interest pursued for pleasure or
relaxation and not as a main occupation”. So whether you’re a philatelist,
spelunker, or just like to do word puzzles, it all fits. I’m sure your
kids already have a few hobbies! Even though we all learn better by doing,
that doesn’t mean we don’t need a little help getting started or getting
through. In sports, you have coaches. In spelunking, you’d have guides. In
philately, you’d have references. Need I point out what a parent is in
kids’ life? So how do you use project-based learning or self-directed
learning in hobbies?
It can take a bit of reading or research to learn the details, but I’m
going to guess most of you have already had to do projects at work. Its
the same concept. There’s a meeting about a goal, ideas are thrown out for
feedback, a decision is made on how to meet the goal and viola! Well,
roughly. You get the idea. Kids are just going to need a little more help
in some areas. Here’s a few things to remember:
- Give them time to soak in new information or decide what to do.
- Ask questions to help them think of answers rather than give them the answers straight up.
- Definitely step in with information when you see a need, when they seem stumped.
- Provide opportunities to see and do things related to the hobby.
- Take advantage of those teachable moments!
Being that summer is approaching, why not go dig for diamonds for
vacation? Yes! Go rock hounding for diamonds or other gems! Find out if
there’s a rock and gem show in your town to scope out some precious and
pretty neat rocks. We’ve done that and taken our boys on train rides with
the Austin Steam Train Association. They made it fun with a western
gunfight show at the destination, with some audience participation, too!
Many places have steam trains preserved and working so look around your
area to see if there’s one near you! Disc golf can be a new outdoor hobby
that costs very little and courses can be found in many parks. Word
puzzles are great for trips, too! As you can see, the amount of time and
money can vary which is really good for us parents on a budget.
For teachers, approaching a hobby from the academic perspective isn’t much
different as learning to classify rocks. For instance, philately was given
its name around the mid 1800s. Why were stamps created? What system
existed before then? Why are the first stamps designed NOT the rarest?
You’d think that the oldest stamp, the first ones ever designed, would be
the rarest, but they’re not! I’ll let you try to find the answer to that
one. That’ll be an up-coming blog post on my site. I, seriously, did not
know there was another name for stamp collector until just a few months
ago so any kid who knows it now is one step ahead of me! Teachers can play
a role in introducing hobby ideas to kids as well. Check out stamps.org
for more information, activities, clubs, and more for kids. An interesting
story about how a kindergarten teacher inspired one boy’s love for birds
and falconry is here:
The more we allow our kids to explore and learn with things that naturally
fascinate them, the more they will enjoy the learning process. Education
is a must. I dare say hobbies are a must as well. They provide a balance.
Hobbies serve to educate in many ways. Kids learn about the hobbies, but
they also learn about themselves. Whether kids try to figure out how to
improve their disc golf score or how to find the rarest stamp, the desire
for answers can spur the type of determination to keep going when faced
with other obstacles. Resourcefulness. Self improvement. Lots of other
attributes to learn from hounding a hobby! And almost any hobby can be
done at anytime of the year! So when the summer is over and its back to
school, your kids don’t have to stop. The learning can continue even
outside the classroom!