Tuesday, April 28, 2009

"How Do You Do It?" Part 2

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See Part One here.

Many times when people ask me this question, they want to know how I have time during my day to school all of my children.

First of all, I imagine they are thinking of "school" in the traditional sense, with rows of desks filled with students who are all in the same grade, looking at a teacher writing on a chalkboard in the front of the classroom.

That isn't the only way to teach, though, and fortunately, there are many other ways to learn.

Our schooling takes place at the kitchen table, or on the couch, or all piled on Mommy and Daddy's big bed together. Basically, whatever works for the situation works for us.

Obviously, if writing is required, the kitchen table works best, as it did when I was reviewing the Bill of Rights and each child was taking notes as I read.

If Mom is reading aloud and the children are taking turns giving an oral narration, or retelling, then the couch or bed is perfectly suitable for that.

Those are examples of times when all of the children can learn from the same lesson, albeit at different levels.

For example, my schedule allows for 30 minutes of history and/or science each day. I gather all of the children together and we read and discuss and experiment and create together, each according to his or her ability.

This same group method works well for Bible and Literature, but, obviously, subjects like math and spelling require more individualized instruction.

For those subjects, I have carved out time slots to be with each child individually, and, this part is key, each of the other children is assigned to a certain task, so that each person in the house knows what is to be taking place at that time. That way, there is no one wandering around with nothing to do but get into mischief.

For instance, while I am doing math with the eighth grader, the boy is reading aloud to the littles while the third grader is helping the first grader with her writing. There are few interruptions because everyone has a task to accomplish and knows what that task is.

Our day is mapped out in 30 minute increments, so if things go according to plan, each child gets the individual help they need and we have have tackled all of our school subjects.

(Click to enlarge.)

Please, come back for the most important part of this series: Part 3 - Relying on God.

See Part 3 here.


Shari said...

Are you using Steve and Terri Maxwells scheduling system and if you are, is it working for you?

Holly said...

Wow Connie. I've been doing this for....let me count....12 years now, and I still wonder "How anyone does it." :)

Sounds like you do very well, my friend.

My own methods for "attempting to do it" have varied and changed over the years. I finally have such a wide spread (ages almost 17 down to 18 months) that I can no longer do subjects together. That's when it really got difficult for me to figure out. I mean, we can read aloud while the baby is napping - but she only naps for so long and there are quite a few subjects. :) Ya get me? And I have SUCH trouble getting her to sit still for Chemistry. :) And then, there are jobs to work around once the kids get older...and so far, the jobs (library, computer repairs, lawn mowing) are wonderful educational experiences in and of themselves. My kids make a lot more money than I do, and they are learning how to save/give/spend wisely. It's cool.

So, my high schoolers are largely working on their own, while I work with my kids age 10 and down in a clump. Er, I mean group. Heh heh.

(**I am always available, though, for help with the older kids. And I grade their papers, and work with them throughout the day, etc. :)

Anyway...thank you for the encouragement. There's always a way, and God is so good to help us!

Jennifer said...

Thanks so much for sharing how you do things! Both my husband and I definitely want to homeschool our children. That is not even up for debate

I was just wondering...

Do you consider yourself a very organized person? Or is this something any normal person could do? (Not that you aren't a normal person, please don't read an insult into my words :-)

Kara said...

Can't wait to read part 3! I just wish you still lived across the street now that I am embarking on this adventure...man I should have gotten it together earlier:)

Jenn @ A Country Girl's Ramblings said...

I use a method very similar to yours and it works well for us.

Smockity Frocks said...

Shari, Yes, I use a loose MOTH schedule. (I linked to it in Part 1.)

Holly and everyone else, I should have stated that I'm only sharing my limited experience. My oldest is only 14, so I'm sure it will be a brand new ballgame when chemistry and calculus enter the picture. :)I'm not patient or organized and far, far, FAR from perfect. It IS difficult, but I consider it worth doing.

I should have put part 3 first. I'm working on putting into words how doing the seemingly insurmountable is ONLY possible through Christ who strengthens me.

Katie said...

I'm impressed with your schedule. I only homeschool one preschooler and I can hardly fit it "in" once a week. My hardest part is the PREP. There are so many other things to do after babies are in bed. How do you find that time?

3 for Me! said...

I love your schedule!! I only have three little ones now... one doing K-work, one doing pre-K work and the other I just try to keep busy (beans, coloring, manupilatives,educational DVD during times with the oldest, etc)!!

I think flexibility and training are the keys to making it work, too!! My 2 yr old will sit and do Bible and stories with us b/c she's been doing it with us since she can remember:) And I've tried to train her to be still, participate and I keep in ind she is 2... and needs to stay busy:)

Oh, and I LOVE having many subjects/times where we are all together.... definently one the blessings of having them soo close:)

Erin @ Closing Time said...

Thanks for the tips! We have just started the homeschooling journey, and I am looking for all the ideas I can get! :)

Southern Belle said...

I love seeing how others do this. I am doing 5th grade, 1st and Kinder this year with a 2 yo and a newborn... Always looking for something to help me out - great tips!!

Jenn said...

call me psycho, or whatever. i really don't care. but i just really, really want to come to your house with a notebook and pens and follow you around and take notes. i'm just sayin'...

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