When my kids were young, I stumbled onto a principle that transformed how I understood learning. I had thought education was something I prepared for my kids and then required them to “do.” You can imagine how that went.
One day I paired tea with poetry—and a party broke out! Which led me to reconsider my strategies for homeschooling. What would happen if we threw a party for the California Gold Rush? How about the study of India? What kind of party could we host for the solar system or learning about birds?
Yes, parties take some energy—but it’s all the good kind! Kids get into it. And they learn.
Still skeptical? Tune in!
What are the components of Party School?
- Research! You need to learn about this topic, just like you might for a report – but you pair every aspect of research with a party experience.
- Decide who’s coming and then make invitations, AKA copy work. Handwrite the list and the invitations, and have fun with them! You can also have your children create a Facebook event, teaching them how to use technology to schedule an event. That’s a skill they’ll use for the rest of their lives.
- Look at the features of this subject area: the important people, location, foods, activities, music, books, and other historical elements. Check out books from the library, watch movies, and take diligent notes!
Party School takes time away from your other schooling – and that’s okay! You get to have a deep, invested experience with your children, so it’s okay to push the normal routine out of the way.
After the party is over, you will have everything you need to know written down in your notes – so all you have to do is put it together by writing or dictating to create a report!
The Principles Behind Party School
When we do Party School, we aren’t just trying to get out of doing school. We’re actually trying to inspire learning!
We all have a drive for meaning, an innate craving to know the meaning of something. But as adults, we often expect our children to find the same meaning in any given subject that we do. Our job should be helping our children identify meaning that is relevant to their age today.
How can we do this?
- For kids to experience meaning, it has to be immediate.
- The experience of meaning has to be public, published, or provide recognition.
- The context has to require the child to do their best, and that only happens if they think it’s important. For a child, the distant future outcome is not a good enough reason. It’s that immediate experience of significance… and a party provides that!
- What you’re working on has an end date.
- Pride of accomplishment is critical to retaining what a child (or anyone else) learns.
This is the education your children deserve, and that’s what Party School offers them!
Want some ideas for your own Party School? Check out our friend Mary Wilson’s blog: The Ultimate Collection of Party School Book Club Ideas. Mary also writes the Party School suggestions included in our Arrows and Boomerangs (literature-based language arts products).