FL Homeschool Evaluations
Or... Learning Doesn't Have to Come From Textbooks. Even in High School
What do you if, when touring a museum and discovering an historic courtroom that's been preserved, you hear the children pretending to part of a real trial, but you realize that they are doing it all wrong? They didn't understand enough of how courtrooms are supposed to work to get their play-acting right. If you're a homeschool parent, you might go home and research mock trials and reserve the courtroom to act out a mock trial. This was such a more interesting way to learn about civics and our government than just reading through laws or boring details about our legal system.
Having access to the real courtroom furniture made our mock trials so much more exciting. The first one we found was based on the story of Humpty Dumpty. Was one of the King's Men responsible for his fall? It was a light-hearted story that even the littlest children wouldn't be scared by. We found scripts available, for free, online.
We rounded up some homeschooled children to participate with us in our mock trial. I'll bet that we could have read through the scripts ourselves, if necessary, for a light-hearted lesson, if we hadn't had friends to join in with us. When the youngest jurors didn't really understand the directions given them and made a decision that all the other actors were sure was wrong, a lawyer smiled and told them that that's actually realistic--that often the people sitting on a jury don't understand the complicated arguments lawyers try to make. Lawyers have to do their best to communicate even if their jurors are not the most sophisticated.
We found another royalty-free script, but this one was loosely based on a real trial that went all the way to the Supreme Court and focused on the question: Was a tomato a fruit or a vegetable? The answer would determine whether a tax was owed or not.
Eventually, we worked our way to a Speech book that included information on debates and mock trials and our students took on a case in which they had to devise their own questions and strategies. By the time we were done, our children had learned a lot about how our court system is supposed to work as well as improved their ability to communicate with others. They enjoyed devising costumes for acting the parts in these roles, so drama lessons were also part of the learning.
Perhaps you don't want to try a series of mock trials--especially now when so many venues are still shut down--but I hope that part of what you gather from this is that wonderful lessons often begin with noticing something that your child doesn't understand and then trying to figure out an interesting way to get him (or her) to learn it. When we began, the adults running the mock trials had little to no experience in them but with some imagination and the resources of the internet, we were able to figure out something our kids wanted to learn. This is part of the beauty and power of unschooling.
The Trzasko Family
Cheryl & Mark Trzasko
(pronounced Trahs-koh) have always homeschooled their children; two graduated high school, as homeschoolers, with college credit.
Both Cheryl and Mark are long-time Florida certified teachers. Together, they are a team of experienced evaluators with a passion to help other homeschool families.