A Moment with The Homeschool Minute ~ Relational Homeschooling ~ Diana Waring
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Have you ever faced an obstacle in your life that turned out to be an unexpected blessing? Whether illness, loss of job, moving, or whatever trouble it might be, I have seen that, right in the midst of the circumstance, God provides grace . . . that leads to new beginnings, new insights, and new opportunities. I am sure that YOU have your own stories about this, as well.
And today’s topic is a perfect example of this. I remember so clearly the first day of homeschooling. My oldest was six, his brother was four, and my baby was two. Learning the skills of getting laundry OFF the table and getting dinner ON the table, while teaching basic skills of reading, writing, and arithmetic–with a toddler and an energetic preschooler–was as profoundly challenging as any highly skilled professional would ever face! (If they would disagree with that statement, many of us would be delighted to offer the opportunity to try our job for a few months.)
The thought of how I would ever figure out how to teach all three what they needed at the same time made me wonder how teachers in one-room schoolhouses ever pulled it off. In fact, when I read Laura Ingalls Wilder’s stories, I discovered that these teachers were actually teaching a wide variety of subjects to a widely differing age range.
And that made me curious. What did they know that I didn’t know about teaching to different ages and grades? This question began, for us, a series of trial and error experiments to find what would work in our home with our children in their stages of life.
Here are a few of our discoveries:
- Reading books out-loud can appeal to a wide variety of ages.
- Science, history, Bible study, art and literature each work well studied together as a family (through middle school, at least).
- Language arts and math are far more sequential, and, thus, are more appropriate studied individually.
- Dinner-time discussions of what our children were learning about together provided some of the most amazing learning times of all.
- Rather than an artificially grade-segregated learning, our elementary school daughter learned about high school level government, and our struggling-to-read fifth grader had the freedom to learn deeply as we read books out-loud–each was able to move to the level of learning appropriate to them, regardless of their age or “grade”.
- Subjects that were studied as a group provided great opportunities for individual and cooperative presentations–we called them “Family Presentation Night,” and each student shared in a creative way what they found most interesting.
Every family has its own unique blend of ages, interests, giftings, and circumstances, so there is no one-size-fits-all approach. However, if you see the challenge of teaching more than one grade as an opportunity to experience something new–and, quite possibly, FUN–you may discover that it has brought the best aspects of homeschooling right into your own home!
Remember, stay relational!
P.S. Calling all families using my History Revealed curriculum: We have just launched a brand-new, exclusive online community to serve and support YOU!! Come take a look at what’s in store for you, including phase by phase, unit by unit video introductions for each of the three books, forums, teleseminars, mom-to-mom chats, and more at www.educationthatsrelational.com
Teaching multiple grade levels with SchoolhouseTeachers.com is as simple as Point. Click. Teach. Here are just a few of the more than 60 classes you can choose from. Every class-for every child–is included with your membership.
Toddlers and Preschool classes from The Homegrown Preschooler team and Beth Gorden with Sensory Learning for Toddlers
Elementary classes including Lapbooking with Kimm Bellotto from In the Hands of a Child, Figures in History from Cathy Diez-Luckie, and Spanish with Carol Henderson
Middle School classes such as Pre-Algebra with Charlene Johnson and Science experiments with Jason Lindsey
High School classes as diverse as Filmmaking with director George Escobar, Media Socialization with Dr. Lisa Dunne, and Social Justice with Kurt Hoffman
Plus we have a number of classes that are well-suited for multiple grade levels, including Geography with Tyler and Maggie Hogan, French with Greg Shone, and Literature with Adam Andrews.
Join today your first month is just $3. After that, $12.95 a month
gives your entire family access to the complete site. Or save by purchasing a yearly membership: just $99 (price goes back up to $139 Nov. 1).