You’re probably already familiar with the Magic School Bus books. But, if you’re not, you’re in for a real treat! These books demonstrate how much fun learning (and teaching) can be!
Each Magic School Bus book starts out in Ms. Frizzle’s classroom. But, you soon discover it’s not your everyday, run-of-the mill classroom. Known to her students as “the Friz,” this teacher should be awarded “teacher-of-the-year”(if she actually existed), because she does a miraculous job of what Homeschool Legacy refers to as “making serious learning fun!”
Sure she dresses a little wacky and her teaching methods are a bit unusual, but those are the things her students (and I) love most about her! Her passion for teaching ignites their imaginations. She encourages them to explore and discover. She offers concrete, hands-on assignments for the experiential learning methods she employs. No, she’s not traditional by any stretch of the imagination, but one thing is for sure…no child ever forgets what they learn in HER classroom. Come to think of it, as homeschoolers, we can learn a lot from Ms. Frizzle!
Whenever I found a Magic School Bus book would coordinate nicely with one of our unit studies, I always made sure I had one close at hand for my boys. Today, when I write a Once-a-Week Unit Study, I include them whenever appropriate. My kids loved them and I did too, because I knew they were having fun learning while reading about Ms. Frizzle’s many, zany adventures. Yes, my kids learned a lot by homeschooling with Ms. Frizzle, but I picked up a few pointers too. She taught me what it looked like to be a great teacher…and in my case a homeschool teacher.
Here’s the thing…Ms. Frizzle is passionate about teaching! Her enthusiasm can’t help but inspire her students and get them excited about the topics she teaches. And, just take a look around her classroom the next time you open a Magic School Bus book. Is it immaculate? No. But, it is brimming with things that make learning come alive for her students. Her bookshelves are not filled with what Charlotte Mason deemed “twaddle,” but rather “living books.” She totally immerses her students in the subject at hand. You observe her students actively engaged and enthusiastically (Well, everyone except Arnold. Arnold is never enthusiastic about anything!) completing creative activities and hands-on projects and reports. Finally, to reinforce everything they’ve learned, she tops off the study by taking them beyond the confines of the classroom on a field trip none will soon forget. Most definitely! She was the teacher I longed to be!
Like Ms. Frizzle, I wanted to make learning come alive for my kids! Never did I ever want to hear the words “School is boring” or “I want to go to real school” exit their mouths. Instead, I wanted them to get excited about and actually LOVE learning…and schooling at home! I wanted to fashion a loving and fun learning environment. I wanted to create lifelong memories, and I wanted them to love homeschooling so much that they too would someday want to homeschool their own children.
So, I set my course to do exactly that. In the process I discovered the unit study approach and I learned from “the Friz” and Charlotte Mason that beautiful “living books” were waaay more interesting to my kids…and me! Homeschooling with Ms. Frizzle taught me I could relax and veer off the beaten path and that our home school did not have to look like the “old-school” classroom of my past. Instead, it could resemble the new-and-improved Ms. Frizzle model. It didn’t even have to be immaculate. In fact, I found the messier we made it, the more my kids were actively learning! And, I also discovered that it wasn’t just okay for my kids to think I was a little wacky…they actually preferred it!
And, do you know what? Never did I ever hear those dreaded words “School is boring” or “I want to go to real school.” Instead, they would occasionally bless me with sighs of “I just love homeschooling!”And I felt the same way!
Thank you Ms. Frizzle. You’ve taught our family that serious learning really can be FUN!