Monday, February 15, 2010

TOS Blog Cruise ~ Many Ages ~ Many Stages

  Often times when people see the number of children I have, (5) they have often asked, 'How do you manage teaching all the different grade levels?'  So here is a little peek inside our home.

  In essence, our method has not changed very much, since we started homeschooling 10 years ago. We do the bulk of our learning together. My children range in ages from 10-17. You might be thinking how in the world is this possible?

   I must admit, our family is eclectic, when it comes to our method of homeschooling. So, what I have done, is create a model that works for us.

  Through the years, I have heard the experts say that when answering those tough questions your kids ask you, that they only hear what they are ready to hear. So even if you go off on a tangent, and give them way more information than they are ready for, the child still can only process what they are ready for, and essentially will turn off when they have received the information they need.
  That is about how we look at educating our children. We want to challenge them all, as well as meet them where they are. We do that by purchasing curriculum that lends itself to group teaching, as well as using the Unit Study Approach and Charlotte Mason as a guide.

 How? Spelling? Really? We use a program for spelling called Sequential Spelling. We started using this program several years ago. And we have been working steadily through it. It is comprehensive and extensive. My younger one is challenged, and has met that challenge! And my older children are learning words that they need as well. It really is a great program for group teaching, as they do not teach by grade level. Just level 1-7.

  Bible, prior to this year, we would read the bible aloud together, and I would have put together some sort of devotional. As the kids grew, I was adding in teaching them out to study the bible, and how to use bible study materials. (Concordance, Topical Bible, Bible Dictionary) This year, we are using Grapevine Studies, and studying an overview of the New Testament. I am loving it and so are they!

    For several years I used KONOS, which was wonderful. They took bible character traits, and created a study on each one. Which included History, Science, Geography, some creative writing, and much more. I only had to supplement Math and Language Arts. What was great, is that they did the leg work for me, all I had to do was follow along!

  Okay, so what does this look like? Say we are learning about World War II, I would read a book aloud to all of the kids. I would strive for a book that would be above the level of reading as the younger students reading ability. This allowed them to hear vocabulary, they were not yet ready to read. I would also assign reading at the reading level of each student on the same content. You can use the library for this, in order to keep your costs down.

 Then they each would have to give me a 'report'. You might have a 5 year old draw a picture, And perhaps a second grader a picture and a paragraph or two.  And as they children get older, you just meet them at their ability level, and challenge them. Your high school could be writing a research paper on a subject, while your elementary student is simply writing a few paragraphs.

 In science, you can do experiments with all of them. However, the older students may have additional experiments, or research work to do. The younger students are exposed to all of this learning at the same time.

 Why teach in this fashion? Well, for one, it is a great way to maintain family

cohesiveness.  It is one of the aspects homeschooling that I have loved! That our family is not being torn in 5 different directions. We are moving in the same direction!  It also gives mom the ability to spend less time on those topics that are being learned together, and gives her to mental acuity to focus on the math and reading, that will need to be done at their respective grade levels.  For me, one of the most difficult things to do, is switch back and forth at the different grade levels for Math. I am thankful that I do not have to do that for every subject!

 Now when my youngest was a preschooler, she would still be in on what we were doing, though she always had something to  keep her hands busy while we were doing our read alouds. So she would coloring, sorting, building blocks, etc.. while we were reading, and she was able to listen to all that we were doing. I would have coloring sheets and such for her to complete, because she often wanted to do school.

 One of the beauties of homeschooling, is the fact that we can make it fit for our family. We do not have to home educate in cookie cutter form!

Be sure to check out the crew page, to see what others are saying about this topic as well!

Happy Homeschooling!


1 comment:

  1. With a baby now in the mix, I am leaning more towards unit study approaches for the family. The more I can combne, the better use of time for me!

    Laura O from the TOS Crew