Back when I was in middle school I decided I was going to be a teacher. Even then I knew I was going to teach History and English and I was going to do so in secondary education. Why? Because I was good at all subjects and quite honestly I enjoyed them all too. But most of my peers hated History and they complained about English.
I thought, “Well, maybe I can make a difference. Maybe I can make learning fun.”
And that’s what I pursued, even winning awards through college and early in my career for creative approaches to education. But I quit my teaching job to have kids. Honestly, I thought that was the end of the road to my traditional teaching job.
Then I started homeschooling and recently I had an epiphany moment. In 2018, I started this website as a way to promote play-based learning for all ages and my hope was, and still is, that I can influence the lives of teachers, homeschoolers, librarians, administration, and families as a whole to turn more towards hands-on, creative, play-based teaching methods.
In the last few weeks my husband and I have been discussing STEM and STEAM projects that he could work on with our children. And I realized in those moments that so often kids are drawn to science because it’s more often the fun subject. It’s visual, it’s real, it’s engaging.
And I love STEM / STEAM.
But where had my passion for the social sciences gone? Where was my drive to change the nature and scope of education in the Humanities?
That’s when my idea was born. Why not combine the things that are engaging and fun with the things that are more cumbersome and boring? Why not translate the idea of STEM into something for English and Social Studies?
That’s when T.H.I.S. was born!
What is T.H.I.S. education?
It’s a way to approach learning from incorporating other disciplines into social studies. In order to be considered a “THIS” project or lesson it has to have a component of Humanities or Social Sciences coupled with Technology and/or Innovations. It can contain all of these elements and more, but it must contain at least 2.
For clarification as to why I have not included the term “Social Studies” is because that is a combination of the Humanities and Social Sciences. And using the term Humanities also allows us to dive deeper in language and English.
It cannot be ignored in the 21st century. It is integral in how we teach our children because it is part of their everyday lives even if we try to limit screen time or steer them towards a more natural and traditional approach to learning.
It is about learning the processes of technology as well as incorporating tech. But more importantly for THIS education is understanding the human ability to shape and change the physical world to meet needs and manipulate materials and tools to influence the future or change modern history.
Humanities is a branch of science that deals with heritage as people and the question of what really makes us human. Humanities focuses on law, history, ancient and modern languages, philosophy, history, religion, and the arts.
When studying humanities, language is something that defines us as the human race so this is also where one would focus on English, writing, and language study.
In a traditional humanities course there would be an emphasis on creative human expression through art, language, and writing.
Inventions & Innovations
Invention education inspires kids to hypothesize, use problem identification, experimentation, collaboration, critical thinking, and hands-on engagement. It is meant to inspire and equip students to solve real-world challenges that can shape future history (sounds like an oxymoron, right?).
Of course this most typically means science so it’s a way of incorporating more of the hard sciences into the soft sciences. From simple machines to some of the most high-tech solutions, it invites children to explore the past by better understanding why inventions and innovations were necessary and puts learning into context of the time period.
This is a subject area that focuses on relationships within a society. Social Science is categorized into many branches such as:
- Geography – physical, political, and cultural
- Politics & Government
It’s a wide-ranging field which is why in school is was actually fairly challenging. It felt like I needed to know about everything else in the world as a history teacher! However, social sciences obviously focus less on the hard sciences and more on the social structures that create something like economics and politics.
How will you carry on the idea of THIS education?
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