Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Juggling Lessons

said:  I noticed you have independent work for phonics/math.  How much time do you spend with each child going over the lesson?  It seems for me, teaching phonics and math takes up a good portion of my time.  

Good question!  This is something I've struggled with and tweaked and struggled with and tweaked some more.  I've been frustrated and satisfied and everything in between.  We learn Bible, history, science, art, and music as a group, but when it comes to math and English, it is not easy finding the balance to teach three kids on three different levels. 

For the first time this year, I've given Gavin his own checklist for independent table time.  He knows what subjects to work on and how many minutes he must spend on them or how many pages to complete.  Aside from answering questions or checking his work, he reads the lessons and completes the work on his own.  In Charlotte Mason style, we plan short lessons so he works on math for twenty minutes (more if I feel he is not working diligently), does one lesson in his grammar/copywork book, and completes one page of handwriting.

While he is working quietly at the dining room table, I take Maddie and Owen into the living room.  While Gavin is completing his twenty minute math session, I give them a twenty minute phonics lesson together.  They love working together and, for now, they are reading on the same level.   On Tuesdays and Thursdays, they do several pages of handwriting in lieu of the reading lesson.  I give them the directions and leave them to work at the table on their own.  Inevitably, they will finish at the same time and I'll be left to toggle between the two, checking and correcting their work.

Though this may change as the year progresses and they reach new, more difficult skills, so far both Maddie and Owen need only a few minutes of instruction each day in their math books.  (Owen is working on a first grade level and Maddie on a second grade level.)  If either of them needs additional assistance, is having difficulty, or has a long lesson, we'll move back into the living room so we don't disturb the ones at the table. 

Now here is the killer.  During this supposedly quiet, orderly time, Alaine is pulling out the DVDs from the cabinet and tangling the Wii cords.  Benjamin needs to be taken to the bathroom, and I'm pulling the ingredients for dinner out of the freezer.  In other words, it is not quiet and orderly at all...and that's life and learning with five!  


  1. Thanks for the last paragraph! It makes me feel much more normal about our school day with four under five...definitely not quiet and orderly.

  2. Thanks for sharing.

    I love the last paragraph too...it's like during our morning worship time. We put on youtube and sing to 2-3 worship songs. In a perfect world all the kids would have their hearts ready to receive God's word, singing, raising their hands...BUT it's the kids singing and me saying, "stand here", "Kylie don't step on Garrett", "No toys during worship", "Please stop running around.."ha!!! But what's so wonderful about this is that God can still meet you in chaos! He doesn't need things to be 'perfect". How amazing is our GOD!!


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...