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Zekesmom10

Teaching Separately

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So, since the beginning with the littles, I've taught the 10 and 12 year old together.  I knew there would come a time when I would have to separate them because the 12 year old is on the spectrum and the 10 year old (though he whines and complains a lot) is moving along faster.  I think we are nearing that point.  Already this year, the 10 yo is quick to answer discussion questions, share related things he's already learned.  He is frustrated when he knows something and has to wait while I give his brother a chance to answer a few questions himself.  The 12 yo has an automatic, "I don't know," response to everything, so he needs to be coaxed to think about it and come up with an answer.  The process takes so long.  On top of that, I have the 5 yo to teach, too.  How do you do it when you have kiddos learning THREE (or more) different things at once?  I am picturing myself spending the entire day with each of them individually, except for read aloud time.

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I separated my kids several years ago, and it was the best thing, honestly. They weren't competing over each other. It wasn't much more work for me because they mostly began working independently. So I would send the older two off with their work and instructions (I taught them how to read the teacher guide so they could follow assignments and such) and then would check back in with them. My 3rd child did about half of her work independently leaving me time to work with my youngest. I have 4 kids and they are all 1-2 grades apart from each other. Now they each study *mostly* on their own with me keeping tabs on them. At first I thought it would be weird to have them all separated, but it wasn't. During those transition years to independence, we used Heart of Dakota exclusively. Now the older girls each study what they need to for their high school credits while I'm teaching my son how to be independent.

Last year I missed learning together so I tried to combine all of them back together in some subjects. Let's just say that experiment lasted about 2 weeks. Separate and independent is the best for us! 

The key to separating them is to help them be independent learners. Teach them how to read the teacher guide for instructions. At times, I even let them have the answer key so they can begin checking their own work too. Independence is a beautiful thing!

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I have to teach my kids separately because they bicker to much and they try to compete. It takes me longer to get their stuff done. There are some things my son can do independently. 

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I do most things together until they can do the work mostly independently. They do have a tiny bit of workbook work that is separate. But we are also very relaxed schoolers and don't have a bunch of "bookwork."

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I wish we could work together. I have tried the morning time basket many times, but our group just doesn't do it. I have a 17 year old who thinks he is too old for group time and always answers "I don't know", and a 9 year old and 6 year old who compete over everything! With the age difference and competition, I have a long day ahead of me M-F....But, I have decided to look at it differently. Each day M-F, I get one on one time with each one of my children to help make them more successful in their life. I get to do what God has intended for me to do. The days may be long, but oh so worth it if you think of it in a different light :x

Edited by Amanda H

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Excellent question! 

First, background: we have 8 children aged 2-20. We have always homeschooled. We travel full-time, so no co-ops, tutors, etc. Our oldest has graduated from high school. and our second is a college senior. When I talk about our littles and bigs for homeschool curriculum, I usually don't include these two, although they join in for almost every family item listed below. 

From the beginning we have taught our children with the goal of becoming independent learners. We also choose our subjects and curriculum based on that. As soon as they are able to study independently, they are. That said, we do some things together:

We read our Bible and memorize verses together as a family. We listen to audio books and audio adventures in the van as a family. Documentaries, hikes, field trips--all family.

Math is independent using Life of Fred and/or Math-U-See. Language Arts is independent for the older kids, but I work with my 3rd and 6th graders separately.

History we do together, but then their readings are separate.

Science varies. My older children work independently, but I teach three, sometimes four or five of the younger children together. We also study astronomy (as in learning the constellations and the history behind them via Memoria Press), and that we do as a family--I teach the younger six, and the older and hubby join in as they can or want to. 

We have extras that we do as a family, such as composer and artist studies, but that's a short bit of time each week. We also have read-alouds we do together, but I will also pick read-alouds for the younger set that the olders conveniently show up for also. :) Love that! We study a poet, but I let the older set pick their own poet to do together while I and the littles work with an easier poet the older kids l already know well. Literature is by the person, and I rarely kill the joy by over-studying something. What happens here is one person loves a book so much that everyone else who is capable will read it also, so that isn't entirely independent, but whatever. ;)

We're pretty relaxed. This works for us. And if it doesn't work, we do something else or work on attitude adjustments instead of curriculum changes. At times it really is the curriculum, at times the kids are being stink bugs, at times I'm a giant stink bomb. When we figure out what the problem is, we can work with it...usually...but sometimes I go hide in a church bathroom for five minutes. Truth. 

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Thanks for the encouragement.  I think the hardest part is that we use a lot of the same curriculum for grammar, vocab, history, and science, etc., for two and sometimes all three.  I'm just seeing myself teaching the same thing individually three times.  They can do math online and a few other part time classes are online and they are mostly independent.  I just have to get passed the overwhelm, I guess.  Sometimes, change is as hard for me as it is for the 12 yo!  LOL

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