You might find Bloom’s Taxonomy to be a handy tool.
In 1956, Dr. Benjamin Bloom headed a group of educational psychologists who developed a system for classifying ways of thinking and learning. This system presents a hierarchy of 6 thinking skills beginning with the basic and progressing to the complex. Those 6 categories of skills starting with the lower and progressing to the higher are: Knowledge, Comprehension, Application, Analysis, Synthesis, and Evaluation. The lower levels of this model are known as the Lower Order Thinking Skills or LOTS. The upper levels are the Higher Order Thinking Skills or HOTS.
Fast forward to the 1990′s. Bloom’s Taxonomy is revised by a group of cognitive psychologists lead by one of Bloom’s former students, Lorin Anderson. The labels for each level are changed from nouns to verbs. The top two levels are also rearranged. You now have the model below:
Let’s look at how this system can help you homeschool.
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How to Use Bloom’s Taxonomy
First of all, let me explain that Bloom’s Taxonomy represents a process of learning where each level builds on the earlier levels. So, according to Bloom, in order to understand something, we have to remember it, in order to apply an idea, we have to understand it, and so forth.
Some people argue that you don’t need every level to complete a task or learn a concept. I tend to agree. It isn’t necessary that your child complete every level of Bloom’s Taxonomy in every lesson for every subject. In fact, he shouldn’t because younger children generally function at the lower levels (LOTS) and progress to the higher levels (HOTS) over time. That doesn’t mean that your first grader can’t create something. You may have a right-brain learner in the lower grades who is very creative in some area of the curriculum. Let him create as he feels inclined to do so, but it isn’t essential to have him go through the whole taxonomy.
Bloom’s framework is best used as a guideline. It is a source of inspiration and a handy reference for homeschooling your children. Here is some further information on how you can use it effectively.
Use Bloom’s Taxonomy to monitor your child’s progress. Your 1st grader will probably function mostly at the Remembering level. By high school, your teen should be able to go through all of the levels to some degree. I don’t want to give you specific ages or grades for each level of the taxonomy because every child is unique and progresses at his own rate. However, if you have a 6th grader who is still functioning at the Remembering level only, you may want to consider making some changes or having him tested for a learning challenge.
Keep this framework in mind when choosing curriculum. Do the courses you purchase for your teen have questions and activities that are limited to the lower levels of the taxonomy? Does a product you purchase for your younger child challenge him too much because it focuses on the higher levels? You may want to try other products or modify them as I recommend in the next paragraph.
Use this model to improve lessons. Curriculum isn’t set in stone. You can make improvements to it to match your child’s level of learning by doing such things as simplifying activities or asking more challenging questions. Determine what level on Bloom’s Taxonomy your child is functioning at for a particular subject and make the lessons fit that stage.
Use Bloom’s Taxonomy to ask your child better questions. There are some questions associated with each level of learning that you can use when having discussions with your child. You’ll find a list of these questions HERE as well as recommendations for using them.
Use Bloom’s Taxonomy to develop lessons and activities. If you like to come up with your own activities for your child, I have a list of lesson activities categorized by Bloom’s Taxonomy HERE.
I hope your children “bloom” this homeschool year.