People who may not have previously considered homeschooling and are used to the more traditional approach to education often ask us how we “teach” students when we have such a variety of ages present. The short answer: we don’t. Wait… what?? Please allow me to explain… Our tutors are facilitating learning in the students by encouraging self-discovery, problem-solving, and, maybe most importantly, what they can learn from each other.
Our younger students are thriving by picking up information from their environment and the older students. Through imaginative and free play and the use of multiple modalities within the lessons, they are truly in the driver’s seat of their education, with plenty of resources along for the ride! They are also learning that if they are having difficulty solving problems themselves, they do not need to instantly find an adult, as they have other models in front of them. This is helping to encourage their independence and confidence in themselves and their abilities.
We have been asked how we intend on challenging the older students with the younger ones in the classroom. Since our model is very student-centered, it is the students that are helping guide discussion, projects, and learning. They are looking at larger problems locally and the world at large, discerning the information, then presenting it in ways that make sense to our younger students. They are getting the chance to mentor and model for the younger students, as well, when they see each other working through more complex topics and problems. We are working hard in our leadership team and with local families to create even more engaging activities for our middle school students!
One example of this symbiotic relationship is an activity that occurs during our math block. “Go to the Dump” is a newer take on the classic “Go Fish”. Instead of seeking matches, students work to find pairs that add up to 10… or are multiple of 5… or can be divided by 3. The sky’s the limit! The give-and-take is amazing to watch as the students work together in their quests to learn!
Do you have questions about how this relationship works in other subjects? Are you interested in stopping by to see it for yourself? Please reach out to schedule your free drop-in to drop-off day! We can’t wait to meet you!