Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Using the One Room School House Approach

One of the beauties of homeschooling is diversity.  Every homeschool operates differently, because every family situation is unique.   

We are a family of six with children ranging from preschool to seventh grade.  For our school days, we use the one room school house approach.  Are you curious just how that works?

This is a day from our homeschooling journey...

It is 8:00, breakfast and chores are completed, and we start our schooling.  Gathering as a group, in the back room, we review the catechism question of the week, read a short devotional, sing a song, and pray.

On this day, my third grader has a cough, and I take the time after our group work, to make her some hot tea to sip.

The older children work on copywork, geography, and reading while I teach our preschooler. 

Today, our youngest completes a few worksheets covering the letter n and reviews previously learned letters and sounds.  We update his calendar, write out the date on the chalk board, practice counting, and work on patterns. 

After this, he rises from his seat, and we play store.  He learns concepts like more/less, how much more, and not enough as they relate to money.  Then, we play 'What time is it?' a game we have made up using a plastic clock.  After a few rounds, I ask him to find something to do.  He chooses a floor puzzle.

Next, I work individually with our third grader while the older two children finish their reading and begin math. 

Together, my third grader and I, cover new concepts in math (multiplication with carry over), grammar (helping verbs), and reading (defining vocab words with synonyms and antonyms).  She then completes all the review work independently as I work with her older siblings.

My fifth grader narrates a chapter from Heidi, her current assigned reading, to me.  Then, we discuss indefinite pronouns and how to properly address envelopes.  Her math on this day is all review, and she is able to complete it on her own.

After working with the younger children, I now ask our oldest son if he had any issues with his work.  He asks for help with some algebra questions.  We move to the chalk board and complete the problems step by step together. 

He will try a few more on his own later that morning.  For now, I check his literature assignment: character sketches from Last of the Mohicans and an outline of the main events.  We then discuss his grammar assignment on personal pronouns.

By now, it is past 10:00 and time for a break.  My oldest daughter walks her letter to the mail box while the rest of us move to the kitchen for a snack.

Fifteen minutes later, we settle into the back room ready for more lessons.  Once again, we begin as a group.  This morning we read aloud and discuss the imagery and tone of Lord Byron's "The Destruction of Sennacherib." 

Then we pick up our history studies and read about Prussia.  Today, the younger children color a picture relating to the lesson and the older sit quietly.  Once the selected reading is done, we discuss it.  Then, the three older children write summaries, as I help our preschooler get a few things down from the shelves.  He plays quietly (well, except for the truck vroom and crash).

Like the earlier session, I begin with our third grader.  This time, we read her Bible lesson together.  Then, she works on spelling and Latin. 

Turning to our fifth grader, I ask if she has any questions.  She does not and continues to work through her own Bible, spelling, and Latin lessons.

I administer a spelling pretest for our oldest.  Then we work through logic and apologetics.  Both are done in discussion with little written work on this day.

We then break for lunch.  Over lunch, I read the first part of a two day read aloud: The Chalk Box Kid.

After the kitchen is cleaned and teeth are brushed, we return to the back room for science work and corrections.  Once this is done, the three younger children are finished for the day.  Our oldest son will work on his Latin. 

As the younger play and the oldest finishes his school work, I record what we accomplished today and set out all the materials we will need for the next day of school.  We leave the back room by two o'clock, organized and ready for tomorrow. 

Quiet time follows our lessons.  Afterwards, the rest of the afternoon is spent playing outside until dinner.  The girls attend choir practice in the evening.

A few important notes:
* Not everyday is the same.  This is simply one of the 180 days of school for this year. 
* For us, we like to have a 'heavier' course load on Mondays and taper to a 'lighter' load by Fridays.  The day I shared was a Monday. 
* We don't do every subject every day.
* On this day, we were home.  Some days we have co-ops or out of the house lessons that we work around.

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