Monday, March 9, 2015

Homeschooling Multiple Ages - Teaching and Reteaching Subjects



When teaching multiple ages at home, especially if you do a lot of group lessons and activities, it can be easy to fall into the trap of teaching a subject once, and thinking you "have it covered".  Of course, what you've really done is "teach" to your older students, and allowed the younger students to tag along.  They will most likely not remember the entire lesson, and will need to have it retaught as they get older.

That is how, even though we've had a few fairly thorough lessons on countries and continents through the years, that I could find myself in a conversation about the continents this week, and discover a large hole in the learning of my youngest.

"What continent do we live on?" I asked, for some reason that escapes me now, but went with our conversation then.

I received blank stares as an answer from my youngest two.

"Okay what country do we live in?

That one they knew.  "The United States of America."

"Good, and what continent is the United States a part of?"

Blank stares again.

"Can you name any of the continents."

"Canada?"

At that point one of the teens yelled, "Oh come on!" from the the living room, and I realized it was time for another lesson on the continents.  Looking back, I realized the last time we'd really covered the continents in earnest was the better part of four years ago, when E was 6 and C was 4.  A review was in order.

I dug our Ravensburger Discover and Learn Continents Puzzle (non-affiliate link) out from the back of the game cupboard...


...and had the girls put it together, and trace the map included with the puzzle...


...to make wax paper templates for cutting sugar cookie continents - again.  In fact the two pictures above, and the one below were from our 2011 cookies, but the process was just the same this time, so I didn't bother with photos.


This time around, the younger girls did all of the tracing cutting, frosting...


...and arranging.  And, just to shake things up a little, I had the them watch a BrainPop clip on the continents, and found a terrific (and free) online mapping game for them to play as well.


T (age 17) wandered through the kitchen about the time the girls were arranging the cookies on the table, and asked why we were making "those" again.  I assured him it was them and not we who were making the cookies.

He thought that was fair, even if his little sisters did demand that he "name the continents" before they let him eat one.

At any rate, the moral of the story is when teaching multiple age groups at the same time, don't forget to cycle back through the lessons as younger children grow up.

9 comments:

Phyllis said...

I have faced that issue several times, and so I appreciate this post. Cookies are way better than salt dough maps, too.

Dawn Rebekah said...

I love how you use food to teach. I bet their big bother was happy to eat the cookie.

maryanne @ mama smiles said...

I love the cookie map! I remember that knowledge gap happening with some of my younger siblings...

Angelic Scalliwags said...

I had to giggle when I read your post. A week or so ago we were marking the polar regions on our huge map of the world we made C marked the Arctic as the Antarctic and when asked what country she therefore thought Asia was she answered Africa!! We were rolling on the floor with laughter as she stood there completely bemused at what was causing all the hilarity! If I didn't adore homeschooling as much as I do I'd definitely be thinking school might be a good idea....

Ticia said...

Oh my yes, and even if they're all close together in age, just because they LEARNED it and KNEW it at 4, does not mean they remember it still at 10. I swear their brains empty out fairly regularly.

Karin Huber said...

Your continent-cookies look delicious!

Natalie PlanetSmartyPants said...

I agree with Ticia - even with the same child they can thoroughly forget what you think they knew - simply because that information didn't really get reinforced with anything in their day-to-day life...

raventhreads said...

I actually often use my lesson time with my little kids to help shore up my bigger kids learning as well. It's amazing what they don't remember (even if it was fun and they were engaged when we originally learned it). I'm really learning how important repetition is to the whole learning process.

sunflowerous said...

Smiling, because what a familiar scene, things fall through in our house too :). Super cool cookies, we probably should do these for our little "not sure how many states there are" problem