Sunday, January 23, 2011

Homeschool Reflections

Question #2

How to homeschool w/ littles in the home?

or, in my circumstance,

How to homeschool multiple age groups effectively?

There are several approaches (that I am aware of).

Do group nature walks, field trips, exercising science experi-
ments, etc.

Keep the littles busy w/ a snack & activity!

Send the overly active little one outside to play! of course, w/ safety in mind... we have a fenced yard, own a overprotective pitbull, and I have full view of him through a big window & a sliding glass door AND he usually has a buddy (aka sibling) that will always join him.

Lots can get done in a school day if one waits til the littles quiet time...shh (whoever wakes the baby, takes care of the baby, er toddler)

Another technique is to assign one sibling to play with a little during one-on-one time with another sibling. Rotate as necessary. =)

What works for us:

I chose self-learning a couple of years ago. That is, the older students are fully responsible to get their required work done without being told and with their best resource at hand (their own brain). Isn't that what we do to "teach" a subject? They are perfectly capable of doing the same research to get an answer as I am... the age of this responsiblity is a matter of maturity & parental discretion.

Our classroom schedule can be found

My older students get their core work done in the morning. Writing, English, Science, & Literature. This is done in the a.m. THIS is when I spend quality time w/ my littles. Where lessons, story time, & crafts are done. We follow this with lunch. Then I find that because I have had focused time with the littles, they usually are ready for some type of quiet time (usually a movie); this is when I have group studies w/ my older children. These are the 'extras' of education, but things I feel are important, and this is the time of day that keeps us connected as a family (and a school). FREE time follows. Activities are a bit chaotic at this time, but they have fun! The older boys often pick videos games, but it is not uncommon for them to kick a soccer ball around w/ the toddler, play scrabble w/ sissy, or wrestle w/ Andrew amongst a list of many other things. History & Bible are currently done in the evening when Dad can join us..but that's not school is it? that's just fabulous family time!

What does NOT work for us:

To expect, try, or attempt to give individual instruction for every subject to each student.
Don't get me wrong, they all need guidance & help from time to time; but spoon-fed instruction is not neccessary nor beneficial. One of the best approaches I apply is to ask a question of their questions. huh?

Katie "Mom, why does Tuttle (our turtle) sleep in its shell at night?"
Mom "Why don't you read about turtles in the encyclopedia, and tell me what you can find"
Usually, this is where she chooses to write about it, but will also have a great conversation with her dad & I about what she found out.

TJ "I don't understand Integer multiples?"
(in my day this was called "multiplication of fractions)
Mom "Can you write out the problem for me? What step would be next?"

I love the "how do you spell _ _ _ _ _ _"....
how would you spell _ _ _ _ _ _?
95% of the time they will spell it correct. =)

So, how 'bout you? If you homeschool and have little folks, how do you homeschool with littles around? What works for you?


No Ordinary Me said...

I am excited to read some comments. Thanks for sharing your tips. They are helpful.

I am slowy learning to let go of the reigns a little more with my oldest.

Mama D.'s Dozen said...

Our homeschool looks very similar to yours. We don't have all of the "little" around anymore ... but did homeschool for 15 years with preschoolers in the house.

Now ... I do the Sonlight curriculum with all of the kids. The 2 teens are responsible for their own studies with Sonlight, whereas we do group teaching with the 4 younger, elementary kids.

Hope your week is BLESSED!

Laurel :)

Danielle said...

When you say the older kids are responsible for their own studies what exactly does that mean? Do you still do the planning and then they are on their own and work independently? you give them guidelines and they work their way through the books themselves? Love ya!!!

Hollinger Family said...

Great question Danielle! =)
the answer is both...
I do the planning as in I have an outline (an idea) of what I want my kids to learn each year. This give the older boys a guideline as they work through the books themselves.
An example is that 'our' Nick =) knows that economics & civics are a must this year (in order to graduate, by my standards), and he knows what books are listed for the those specific studies thus he works independantly to get it done (by using our required time allowed per that subject each day).
Katie (9) is always jumping ahead of the game, thus my expectation of her is always being adjusted to fit her momentum.
Hope that helps...