Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Educating....Teaching Multiple Levels

   As our children began to grow, school took on new challenges to demand our creativity. One such challenge was how to teach different levels together. Our children are each two years apart; their grade levels are also two years apart. My mind was racing with the possibility of teaching three different grades at one time and I found very few willing to offer guidance in how to get it all done.
   When I taught in a classroom, my goal had always been to teach the spectrum meaning every learning style and learning level in the classroom was reached in each subject. With this in mind I decided to develop a one room schoolhouse plan of teaching.
This means:
*all students in the same subject at the same time; all together around the table
*all students in class at the same time (seated and ready with supplies)
*the younger student's lessons will be a review for the older
*older student's lessons will be taught as the younger start their independant work (reading or independent assignment)
*we had to develop a plan for times when one must wait on my help
  - a younger could ask an available older for help
  - a student could simply move on in the lesson until someone is available
  - study sheets could be reviewed while they wait

   It isn't always easy and sometimes there just isn't enough of me to go around. One blessing to my husband's late shift job has been his ability to assist in some of our studies (especially higher math) that require plenty of one-on-one teaching. I now notice as they have become high school aged, they work more independently..my role seems more "tutor" than teacher...and it is good.
   In the one room setting we notice a mentor relationship developing in the siblings as well as the ability to encourage each other as well as discuss ideas together. Some subjects were done in unit study form; for example Literature lent well being taught to the group yet at individual levels. We all read the same books, but the assignments for each student were different yet shared together when completed.
   We are upper level educating these days with one graduating this year..so my classroom will take on more and more changes with each new year. As they start college courses my mind wanders back to the tough days; my heart ponders the paths we have trod together...I realize...there is no regret for the decision to home school; nor to use the one room school house style to teach multiple levels.


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