Looking for a mastery-based homeschool science curriculum? Novare Science And Math offers mastery oriented middle and high school courses for homeschool students and sponsored this post.
Remember the night before a big test when you were in school? The panicked cramming your head full of facts to pour out the next day only to forget them forever 15 minutes after the exam? That is pretty much how we have all been trained to learn, whether it be in a traditional or homeschool setting. We’ve been taught to learn for the test.
While that might allow teachers and students to check that box off as covered and done, does this method allow for any real learning? Learning is defined as gaining knowledge. Knowledge means more than just facts. It implies understanding. The “just the facts” type of education doesn’t nurture understanding. So, what’s an educator to do?
The concept of teaching to mastery, or mastery learning, works on the premise that children learn best at their own rate and when they are exposed to information repeatedly, perhaps in different forms and in relation to new facts and ideas. Mastery learning, also, means that information is not simply memorized for a test, but is learned at the level of understanding. This allows the child to master the information given.
In our homeschool experience, we have used the mastery learning concept. We don’t keep grades until high school, because we work on learning until the material is truly understood. That might take one pass through the lesson or several times through using different methods or by repeated exposure to the material. I have designed my own way of doing this, since I hadn’t found a mastery oriented curriculum until I was introduced to Novare Science And Math.
Benefits Of Learning To Mastery
Why is learning to mastery important? What benefits outside of remembering the material longer does it really give? Why should we be seeking out mastery learning experiences and curriculum for our students? Let’s look at a few of the benefits of learning to mastery.
No More Cram-Pass-Forget
Children are natural-born learners. They are constantly taking in information, processing it, testing, and gaining understanding. And, they love it! Something happens when they get school age. That love of learning tends to wane. I believe it is because learning is suddenly put into a box (or maybe a worksheet or a boring textbook). Learning becomes just memorizing facts.
As we discussed above, much of the current education process is cram-pass-forget. Students cram information into their short-term memory hoping to pass a test, and then forget the information soon after. This is not learning. Teaching to mastery ensures that students really learn and remember the material. Plus, it brings back the discovery and wonder of learning.
Novare Science And Math curriculum is designed to break this cram-pass-forget cycle and replace it with learn-master-retain. Instead of memorizing loads of terms that cover a broad range of study, Novare limits the content of their curriculum to the most important material in each area of study. This allows the student to understand and master the information resulting in “deeper learning of less material, but ultimately a superior science education.”
Makes Education A Building Process
When your house was built, did the contractor put in 75% of the foundation and say “Good enough!” and build the rest of the house on top of it? Of course not. That incomplete foundation would compromise the structural integrity of the entire house. It would eventually fall in.
Education is like that. Each lesson and concept builds on the previous one. Imagine that your student only learned 75% of the material before moving on. That 25% they are lacking will prevent them from fully learning and understanding the new information. It won’t take long before they student is totally lost.
It isn’t because the student isn’t smart. It is because the time wasn’t taken for the student to fully learn the material. When a student is taught to mastery, the student will understand what is being taught before moving on. This makes learning additional concepts easier.
Novare Science curriculum makes sure students have this foundation of knowledge. At the beginning of each chapter, the learning objectives are clearly stated so students know what they need to learn from that chapter. The student have repeated opportunities to learn the material.
Teaches A Growth Mindset
When a student fails a test on a subject, they feel defeated. They might feel dumb and not be willing to try to learn any more. In mastery oriented education, there is no fail. There is try again until you learn and understand. This teaches students to not give up and that good enough is not good enough.
Students in a mastery learning environment expect to learn and grow. They believe they can succeed. This is key in the learning process and in life.
Preparation For Life Long Learning
Mastery learning teaches students how to learn. Once a student knows how to learn, the world is open to them. They can gain knowledge required to meet their goals. Learning doesn’t stop when a student graduates. Successful people continue to learn throughout their entire lives.
Learning throughout life helps people excel at their jobs. In this ever-changing, technology-driven world, keeping up with the latest developments is crucial to job security and advancement. Learning new skills and gaining new knowledge keeps the brain healthy, as well. Studies have shown that learning new things is good for the brain, especially in older adults.
Mastery Oriented Homeschool Science Curriculum
Do you want to merely expose your children to science or do you want them to truly learn and understand science? Novare Science And Math has developed mastery oriented, integrated homeschool science curriculum to ensure that your child will actually learn science and learn it at a deeper level than with traditional curriculum. Novare Science And Math carries science curriculum for middle and high school levels.