Jump to content

Menu

S/O working independently-anyone else actually teach all day?


HappyGrace
 Share

Recommended Posts

I'm having a huge philosophical quandry lately over this. I see a lot of people going over the lesson and then sending their dc off to do the associated work. Or giving them an assignment sheet for the day for them to do independently (4th grade and up). We have done all these things here too. They're all good. (And I realize most people are still reading aloud, etc, and interacting in that way too for part of the day, not just sending them off.)

 

Both my children, dd10 and ds7, would rather have me give them an assignment sheet for the day and let them go through it and be done (although obviously ds7 needs me working with him on most things.) We did this with dd10 for a couple years (in most subjects but math) and she did GREAT, exceeding expectations.

 

BUT now with adding in younger ds, I kind of want to actually *teach* and interact with them instead of doing this. But I feel like that will take me backwards.

 

I do think it depends on curriculum. We do CLE/MM for math for older dd-she is NOT mathy. She *could* do both these programs independently but gets SOOO much more out of it when I sit with her and interact through it with her. And she could read the R+S English 5 lesson herself and do it independently, but I KNOW she'd get so much more if we discuss through it. Same with ds with CLE/MM and CLE LA. I have planned to do staggered times this year so I can work with each of them separately through these in the morning.

 

They do have things they can do independently while I work with the other one (Awana, copywork, spelling, vocab, even writing for older dd, etc.)

 

Older dd LOVED doing MCT last year, where we sit and chat and discuss. We're doing TOG after lunch this year, with sci tied into it. I want us to read and do projects, discuss, mapwork, etc. together. There is a LOT of good discussing in TOG year 1. They get SO much more out of everything when we work together. And ds7 (who'd rather play legos) needs the modeling of enjoyment of learning.

 

But based on these boards and all the filing plans and checklists and independent stuff I see here, I feel like an oddity that I would work with them that much, and wonder if I'd be shooting myself in the foot and should just have them doing more independently. And it sure would make it a lot easier for me to write up their checklist every day and have them do them it.

 

PLEASE know that I am NOT criticizing people who have their kids work more independently-like I said, we did that and obviously will work toward that again as they get older. I just think with our family they seem to get more excited about what we're learning when we do it together, and I think that might lay a nice foundation. (Especially since my dc CAN and like to work independently, so it's not like I need to develop that.)

 

Am I going backwards to go back to more interactive learning? Am I just making it too hard on myself to do it this way, and possibly robbing them of being able to do more work independently? (Especially as I have not felt that well lately, and giving them more independent work would be easier on me. I'm hoping I even *can* do this the way I envision.) I feel like this is a year that they need this (to help our relationships, etc.), but when I see so few people here doing this, I wonder if I'm way out in left field somehow, especially doing this with an already independent 5th grader!

 

ETA: I just reread this, and wanted to mention-I don't have a need to "follow the crowd"-I have total confidence to homeschool the way *I* want to do it. I guess I just wondered if I was missing something major or glaringly obvious by seeming to be so rare in doing this, and wondered if others out there are doing the same thing! LOL!

Edited by HappyGrace
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Certain types of brains learn best in certain ways. Call it what you will, Richard LaVoie calls it a motivation style and he discusses this in detail in The Motivation Breakthrough book. One type really thrives on "to do" lists and feels better about themselves when checking off lists and feeling they have been successful at their work by doing it all.

 

I am convinced also through observation of HS kids that certain ones are really independent learners. My oldest was the opposite type that wanted me to sit right next to him and teach him 1:1 tutoring style. He only bridged to more independent work in grade 7 really as he went through developmental changes and wanted more of a divide from mom which I think is a normal thing in puberty.

 

A friend of mine had 2 early readers who were very independent and did 99% of their work all alone from basically Kindergarten up. This has proven true in all the years, one is in grade 11 and the other is in college now. The third child is the opposite and for the first time the mother has to do 1:1 teaching or else nothing is learned basically! It's kind of funny to see her adjust to having to put all that effort into teaching one child when I, and others she knows have been juggling teaching that way with 2 or more kids at once, for years! She now realizes how easy she had it before and how less time intensive it was with the first 2 kids.

 

I think HSing should entail as best it can, giving each student a customized education to meet their needs.

 

Lastly, I think sometimes when working closely with a student we can find deficiencies that workbooks or more distant learning masks. For example in discussing a book that was read for reading comprehension I have found glaring mistakes or misunderstandings but the workbook answer was correct which misled me to think they knew more than they really did. Be careful with huge amounts of independent work. Some things deserve to have more interaction with the teacher.

 

I also learned along the way that I sometimes had to abandon my ideal idea of teaching method to do what was right for the child.

 

Another little thing was I'd hoped my kids would love history and read history books for fun so long as I put good exciting books in their hands. Well one kid is a science kid and the other just doesn't care about history. So I mourned not having one of those history loving HS kids for a little while. I had some idea that all kids would love history and gobble it up if only they had good exposure to it from a young age. Wrong. I had to get over it and celebrate who my kids are instead of feeling bad for what they are not.

 

Do what you think is right for your unique kids is my advice!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I think sometimes when working closely with a student we can find deficiencies that workbooks or more distant learning masks.

 

This is what I'm finding. They are both very bright and CAN do it (and do it well, even with retention) on their own, but I feel it's a more full understanding, and with more enjoyment, when we do it together. I think they like to do it on their own so they can check the boxes off and be done.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I teach basically all day as well. I do have a magazine "box" for the older two of independent work (handwriting/penmanship, math drill sheets, etc.) that for the most part they can do without instruction. But that is only for when they are waiting their turn with me. Otherwise, Latin, math, WWE, FLL, spelling, history, science ... I teach them and then they do an assignment/activity, usually still with some supervision from me.

 

I'm not sure if part of it is because neither are independent readers yet? They both can read almost at grade level (well, ds#2, I'd put at grade leve; ds#1 is a bit behind what I'd consider 4th grade reading level), and I make them read things like their math instructions/word problems. But, even if they could read everything on their own, I'm not sure I'm comfortable having them go off and read, say, SOTW and then do the activity based on it for that week.

 

So, you are not the only one that teaches all day. I'm hoping in another year or two ds#1 will be a bit more independent - for instance, I'm hoping that when he finishes the FLL series that I'll find a more student-driven grammar program. But, dh and I were just talking last night about how we both feel that I'll also be the lead teacher no matter their age ... they'll still need instruction (sometimes daily) in math, writing/English, foreign language, science, etc.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I spend a good portion of our school day teaching. I tried the "independent" route but it didn't work out to be ideal for us. I teach lecture style to prepare my ds14 for college. It is what works for us and helps with his retention. We like to have lots of discussions and this style of teaching lends to that happening.

 

Don't compare your way of school to others, just do what works for you and don't feel guilty. When we compare to how others do things we ultimately compare our weaknesses to their strengths and that just isn't fair.:tongue_smilie:

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I am working at getting mine to work more independently. One ds seems very co-dependent on me being right there. This is both a confidence and work habit issue...but we will get there!

 

Now, for certain subjects we work all together, but math and reading are area's he needs work seperate from me :)

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Mine are in 7th and 10th grade and I teach all day except when they are working on math problems. . . that's my planning time. My older is taking some independent courses on Tuesday and Thursday, so she's out of the house, but my younger and I are at it while she's gone. There are several subjects (Latin, Greek and some CW) that we are all working on together. As far as I'm concerned, the most pleasurable part of the homeschooling is the interaction and discussions about history, science, literature, etc. That's why I'm doing this!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I need my two oldest to work independently with some subjects like history, science and some math (although I do sit with my oldest who struggles with math) reading BUT I'm also teaching them life skills and we do that together. Homeschooling is more than academics. This year we will learn about herbs, bread making and keeping a home, along with survival skills and building for the boys ;)

 

My four youngest need me for all subjects and I'm schooling them for 3.5 hours a day. Another two hours with the older ones because I am teaching math to Josh and Spelling to Josh & Annette as well as looking over their stuff.

 

I also skim their textbooks so when I do find a chance I can ask about it.

 

Independence around here is not just for box checking and I don't think it's all about handing the child their work and they are off and running on their own :D

 

*Also wanted to add that my oldest prefers to do the subjects that he can on his own. He doesn't feel like he's waiting for mom all the time. He'll wake up at 5:00 a.m. to start school. So I also think it depends on the child.

 

I do think fostering independence as they get older is a good thing.

Edited by Homeschooling6
*
Link to comment
Share on other sites

I do both. I send my 3rd grader off with her syllabus somedays...sometimes I tutor them one-on-one...somedays I combine everyone into a big class and we all work together.

 

I do believe that they need to learn how to work independently, though.

 

Our biggest obstacle right now is "fantasy time". It seems like everytime they go on break, someone morphs into Megatron or Starscream and before I know it...there are flying robots all over the living room, shooting each other and crashing into furniture.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I don't think you would be going backwards. I don't hold with the philosophy of handing a young child a checklist and sending them on their way. (I'm not saying it is wrong, just that we don't like doing it that way.) I tried doing it that way with my two oldest and it made me feel guilty and uncomfortable. Almost like I wasn't doing my job.

 

The only subject that I don't teach is my oldest's science. She likes doing it independently but I still discuss it with her everyday. I teach all of the other subjects. I actually sit down and teach the lesson, go over concepts, do oral review, ask questions, answer questions, work through practice with them and usually they sit right there and work through the written lesson while I hover or do something with another child. I catch mistakes immediately and if I see any inkling of confusion of frustration I can jump in and re-explain, show, or just offer encouragement.

 

There are obviously certain things that they do that don't involve me. Today they did their Latin worksheets in another room and one finished up her grammar in her bedroom. They obviously do their reading independently but if it is subject related I always ask for a brief oral summary so that I know they got the gist of it. They know how to work independently and I have taught them that they have the responsibility of taking their education seriously but we just prefer for it to be a team effort instead of an independent venture.

 

I love teaching my children and being completely involved in their education. A huge part of their learning comes from the conversations that occur during teaching. This is especially true in history. I like to know what they think about why monasteries became very wealthy; not just regurgitate what the book says about it. I also don't like waiting until the work is completed or the test has been taken to find out that they didn't really get the concept. What a waste of time that would be.

 

My oldest told me, back when I was trying the "here's your list" type of scheduling, that she felt alone and that I wasn't really interested in what she was doing. I don't want her to have that as her memory of homeshcooling.

 

Yes, it would be easier on ME to give a checklist and let them teach themselves but that's not what I signed up for when I pulled them out of ps and took their education into my own hands. It's hard sometimes to juggle all of them but it is my job to do so. It is MY responsibility and I wouldn't trade it for anything. I love teaching my children.:001_smile:

Link to comment
Share on other sites

 

My oldest told me, back when I was trying the "here's your list" type of scheduling, that she felt alone and that I wasn't really interested in what she was doing. I don't want her to have that as her memory of homeshcooling.

 

 

 

This is what I mean by each child is so different. My oldest loves to go off and do what he can on his own.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Guest aquiverfull

I teach my children. There are some things my 11 year old can do independently. She uses CLE for Math, that is pretty independent. I want to teach my children though and I find that she works much better when I do. I usually deliberately choose curriculum with high teacher involvement as I really don't "get" the push for independence. I will have more children to juggle this year and in the years to come, but still hope that I will be able to teach them. If they were in school they would have a teacher teaching, and as someone pointed out I feel that it will help prepare them for college lectures.

 

Oh and even though I work with my dd, I still make her a weekly schedule that she can check off. She's a box-checker and likes being able to see what is scheduled for the day.

Edited by aquiverfull
Link to comment
Share on other sites

I used to teach all day. :) I would usually have one daughter do something independently ("prepare the material", I called it - it was a sort of self-preparation by going through the material that would later be discussed with me), while I would study with the other one, and most of the days, I would have two to three "sessions" with each of them - some of it was the actual teaching, first time introducing the material and studying it together, and some of it was going together through what they had already prepared on their own. That used to work really good for us, for years, and they both profited from individual work as well as from interaction with me, and some areas they used to study together.

 

With time, however, we had to change how we study. Their interests were getting further apart and they could no longer study together certain areas as one of them was usually far more advanced than the other one. In addition to that, readings have become more intense, they needed more time alone to go through texts, but time with me also needed to be more intense. So our "sessions" were getting rarer, to the point where now I have them 2-3 times weekly, but then for hours each. So technically, they ARE mostly independent now (12 & 13 yo), but during those focused interaction periods I really see how they need interaction. When you study with somebody, the way you study changes - and if both persons prepare well before studying, it usually turns out a truly enjoyable experience which helps both to understand things better and talk it through. So that's how we work right now, pretty much.

 

I really believe in interaction as an integral part of studying. Even with children capable of fully independent work, I cannot imagine working "by the list" only, without a considerable amount of interaction - whether on a daily basis or every few days. This is especially important for humanities - it's virtually impossible to properly study some areas without a good deal of interaction.

 

Besides, I also find it a very enjoyable experience when I'm one on one with somebody - or even when we're all three together - by a desk full of books, discussing a topic and drawing all kinds of connections between things, and usually ending up in some totally offtopic directions, but I feel that they learn SO MUCH from those sessions. I really believe it's as important as their independent work.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

A lot of our curriculum is teacher intensive. Some can be done independently but not the biggies. I love the interaction and appreciate how much I've learned along the way.

 

Oh and even though I work with my dd, I still make her a weekly schedule that she can check off. She's a box-checker and likes being able to see what is scheduled for the day.

:iagree: I'm doing the same thing with my DS. He thrives on a checklist. We did workboxes last year but I gave them up and replaced them with a binder and some baskets for books/supplies.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

if both persons prepare well before studying, it usually turns out a truly enjoyable experience which helps both to understand things better and talk it through.

 

This is TOG's philosophy-I can see how sessions spread out through the week could work better in maybe 7th grade and up especially-they obviously wouldn't *need* you there to help them grasp as much. That's kind of my theory with all this interaction now-that by doing it this way, by then, they will have seen me modeling for them "how" to pull out the relevant material or think more deeply into something or tackle an elusive problem that they can do it well on their own.

 

I like aquiverfull's idea of making a list for her box checker, even thought they work together. I did try this and hoped it would work but it really stifled any rabbit trails, etc-she just wanted to check the box and not meander awhile with discussions, etc.

 

This is all such good food for thought, and I'm so glad to hear how others are handling this!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I spend about 3.5 hours doing actual teaching. That's split between the two boys - more time with the younger than the older. The older spends a total of 5.5 hours on school per day and the younger spends 3.5. Some stuff we do together (history, science, Bible) We also use DVD instruction for Latin. FWIW....

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Great to read these posts. I've been trying to get my youngest (going into 6th this year) to work more independently over the last few years, and he has made some progress. I end up working with him quite a bit, though, and I'm okay with that to the extent that I am able to get my other stuff done. He will go off and do his math mostly on his own, asking as he needs help, but he gets sloppy sometimes or sometimes will do several problems wrong b/c of one certain thing he didn't get or notice or something, so I feel I sometimes need to check in periodically with him to make sure he's on track.

 

I'm happy to be there with him as much as needed, but I want to balance that with not letting him stay too dependent on me, so that's why I've tried to wean him, and for the most part that's going okay. This year I will have my dd with learning disabilities as a high school senior with quite a work load, and I do need to spend time with her, too, so that will be a challenge balancing all her stuff and ds's stuff.

 

I figure if God has called me to this (and I firmly believe He has), He will provide for me and for them too. I figure I will most likely be teaching the better part of each day. We won't be doing any subjects together, not even Bible (except for devotions in the morning). I'm planning breaks into our schedule for all our sakes, lol.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

If it were physically possible, I think I'd actively teach each of my kids each of their subjects every single day. They seem to get more out of it, I get a better understanding of there strengths and weaknesses, and it's just something I enjoy.

 

That's definitely not what's happening in our house though! There aren't enough hours in the day, I don't have enough energy to sustain it (and everything else), and, frankly, my kids would get sick of me. :tongue_smilie:

 

So we strike a balance. We all do SOTW together, then ds goes off to do more intensive history work. Ds and I do logic together. I do AAS and WWE with each dd individually. I do FLL and science with the girls together.

 

Most other things are done independently, but with explanation and close proximity. That's the way it's got to be for us to get through it all.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

My kids are in 6th & 8th grade this year and I teach almost all day. I teach some subjects separately and they have independent work (sonlight reading, vocab, etc) that they can work on and I teach some subjects together.

 

Being able to actively teach one on one is a primary reason I homeschool. I think seeing exactly what they are doing and how they are doing it allows me to make sure they are really learning and never practicing doing something wrong. It also allows constant conversation. I hear what they think and I can share what I think. They learn to discuss ideas and participate in a conversation and I get to steer that conversation.

 

We still have a weekly schedule. It helps the kids know what to expect. It makes them accountable for their time and gives them "to do" lists to work on when I am working with a sibling. I want my kids to be able to produce work independently. But while they are working "independently" I am in the room watching. It saves us all a lot of trouble later.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

For me it is a logistical issue. I have three kids doing formal schoolwork and two younger ones besides. I combine the kids for history, literature, writing, memory work, music, art, Latin, and science. I do individual turns with them for spelling and check in with them on math, reading, handwriting, and grammar. Programs like CLE and MM keep me sane because I physically can't teach each child all day when their levels are drastically different and there are so many of them. :tongue_smilie:

 

I don't send them off to work alone. They all work around the kitchen or dining room table and I help if they need it. Sometimes that means I do work through a lesson by my child's side. Sometimes it means giving encouragement or reminders about a previously-learned concept that will help them figure it out. :)

Link to comment
Share on other sites

This will be my first year homeschooling and I have a feeling that ds (11) will appreciate active teaching in most areas. Since he is strong in math though, I think he'll be okay working more independently with TT7. This hsing experience will, of course, be very different from public school. His school really pushed independent learning and it was not a good match for him.

 

Matt LOVES discussing what he's reading and he loves reading, which is why I chose History Odyssey--Ancients for his history curriculum. I appreciate the wide variety of texts he'll be using. Since that period of history is not one I'm particularly strong in, I will be definitely reading along with him (probably pre-reading the night before). The same thing will happen with our literature studies (The Complete Tales of Sherlock Holmes--which I have never read). Reading along with him will, of course, help me plan related activities--like doing further research on topics that interest him, or science projects, stuff like that. MCT for language arts will be very different from what he learned in school, so I expect discussion and lecture will be very important for us.

 

I'm really looking forward to teaching Chemistry. I am a student myself (not really knowing yet where I'm going with all my classes, but it will be something healthcare-related). I'm coming off of two years of Chemistry--general and organic--so I'm looking forward to sharing my knowledge and planning some fun labs. We have a nice big workspace in the garage.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I teach most of the day. Indy is 8 and still a struggling reader (dyslexia) so there's not a lot he can do on his own. We are using Teaching Textbooks Math and once I get him started on it, I can let him work on his own. He loves it and so do I. We do enjoy doing our reading, history, science, Latin and German together. German is on the computer too and he could do it alone, but since I need to practice as well, I do that with him.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I think you need to do what is best for your children. I find it even varies by subject. My ds14 has never liked me doing math with him. I get in the way of his learning. Forcing the issue would be counter-productive to his learning. OTOH, writing and literature are subjects that require me to sit with him and pull him through. He'd never get it done independently.

 

Perhaps you're thinking in black & white, all or nothing, terms. There may be some subjects that are conducive to independent study which would allow you time for one-on-one with your other child. And it's good for them to start developing those skills.

 

I'll be honest and say I wish my ds14 was more independent than he is. He is really a kid who needs nudging, prodding, pushing and pulling! He's not disobedient, just completely and totally distracted when it comes to subjects that do not interest him in the least bit. And between my dd12 and ds14, I'm 'teaching/schooling' about 6 hours a day. It's exhausting. I alternate between them and sometimes forget to eat. By dinner, I'm just plain tired. I'm doing more work now than I did when they were younger, that's for sure. I think it should be the other way around personally.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

As each of my kids gets older, they manage to do more and more independently. This is my ultimate goal. Most of what they need to learn (for math or grammar, for example) is in the book. When I *do* teach, I usually use their schoolbooks. So I guess my goal is to get them to extract that information on their own without needing me so much. Now other things, like writing, need my feedback and instruction. High school Latin is it's own creature. I need to keep a close watch on that for my ds 15. History read alouds are obviously parent-intensive. There's a great lecture on Peace Hill Press by SWB about helping students to become independent. I highly recommend it. Here's the link:

http://www.welltrainedmind.com/store/teaching-students-to-work-independently-mp3.html

Link to comment
Share on other sites

It is not going backward. Working independenty is not a higher order skill than learning from someone or discussing ideas. They are just different skills. It is not my goal to have my dc be totally independent even in high school. They need to know how to learn from a book AND from a person. That is how the real world works (college, church service, work environment, etc.)

 

My dc, like yours, would probably really love for me to give them a list and let them go. It is harder work to have to discuss things with me. :D They do have independent work to do, both before and after my teaching time, depending on the subject. Often, they read the lesson themselves, I teach it to them, and then they have some follow-up work to complete. I teach in blocks, so I will cover 2-5 lessons of something when I teach, with them completing work the rest of the time that is the pre- or post- effort. Like Mary, I teach more and more lecture style as they get older. The hitch is that you have to know what you are teaching in order to teach.

 

My dc do have things they learn completely independently. Those are their individual passions and interests. I am not involved in them at all, other than to provide resources, time, or an ear to listen.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I don't see how interaction with your kids can in any way be interpretted as backwards :-). I homeschool so that we can have interaction! Sure, there are things that I want (and I confess, sometimes *need* for sanity's sake, LOL!) for my kids to do independently. But I am here to help, and yes to discuss and interact with them on subjects too. For me it's a matter of picking and choosing--what can they learn on their own, what do they need a "tutor" or "coach" for, what do they need a fellow-learner or study-partner for, and when do they need someone to push their thinking farther than they might go on their own? As your child's parent, you have wisdom to pass on to them in all kinds of areas. I don't think that's backwards--I think it's forwards.

 

I want my kids to be able to learn from books and to be able to learn from people--I don't think the skills or the character needed are mutually exclusive.

 

Merry :-)

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I will have a fourth grader, a second grader, and a not-quite-k'er, and I will be teaching everything except for their assigned reading and handwriting. I will sit side by side with them and go through their math (Singapore), with very little independence. This is for two reasons: 1. One of my kids has learning disabilities and needs me right there to help him understand and to keep his frustration level in check. 2. I need to be clear that my kids are learning and retaining. Our curriculum is very teacher intensive, which I accept, choose and prefer. I do expect that my children will become much more independent as they reach the older grades.

 

My boys are doing a co op science class, and I may have them do some of the work independently as they become more comfortable with the expectations of the teacher.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

There's a great lecture on Peace Hill Press by SWB about helping students to become independent. I highly recommend it. Here's the link:

http://www.welltrainedmind.com/store/teaching-students-to-work-independently-mp3.html

 

:iagree:

I heard Susan give this talk in person, and it was very helpful. She talks about the different levels of independence, and how your students will work more independently in some subjects than others.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

 Share

×
×
  • Create New...