Monday, October 6, 2014

Group Time with Older Children - Scholé Everyday

Group Time with Older Children
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 Today I am excited to have Sara from Classically Homeschooling guest posting as a continuation of our Scholé Everyday series.  She shares how she has incorporated group time as way to facilitate restful learning.

Our group time begins while the children are making and eating sandwiches. This does provide the normal level of chaos a large family creates. Children are passing peanut butter and jelly back and forth, bickering good naturedly about who gets the heel of the loaf, and exchanging bad jokes. I start by reading Bible stories. The older children know the stories, but my preschoolers don't. Everyone is relatively quiet for the reading as they're busy eating. Nothing like food to keep comedians quiet for a few minutes!

As the children finish eating, the art supplies are pulled out. All the children from 3yo to 17yo prefer to listen with busy hands. It's a wonderful time to paint, play with modeling clay, or color.

This year we're trying group grammar studies using Harvey's Grammar. It's a good review for my teenagers and is providing an excellent contrast to the Rod and Staff English series we've used for the last several years. I'm alternating grammar with Latin studies, so Mondays and Wednesdays we do grammar. Latin is studied on Tuesdays and Thursdays. We begin Latin by reciting our memory sheets before moving on to the lesson. My thought was to simply cover the lesson and send the children away to do worksheets later. Worksheets are not getting done, so we're switching over to doing the worksheets together.

Group Time Pros:

  • Lunch is a natural gathering and break time for my family. Group time at lunch doesn't get skipped, while morning time has never worked for us.

  • The subjects planned for group time are happening! We're working our way through the Bible Stories, grammar, and Latin.

  • It leads naturally into discussion time on Fridays.

  • Quiet Time is easier to start as the children are already gathered.

  • We enjoy the time together.

Group Time Cons:

  • I have to be organized and have everything on hand, or we waste valuable time as I search the house for materials.

  • My lunch is postponed until after group time as I am reading. It's hard to read and eat at the same time!

I intentionally started with a simple group time plan for the first several weeks. This prevents burnout and allows me to see what works and doesn't work. In future weeks, I plan on adding poetry memorization, art and music study, Aristotle's Logic, and a fun science study. All in all, I've been pleasantly surprised how well our group time is going. The teens haven't complained or grumbled, the preschoolers enjoy keeping their hands busy and trying to join into the grammar and Latin lessons, and I've enjoyed having a time each day the family comes together to learn.

 Have you tried a group time in your homeschool?

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  1. I have a 1st, 3rd and 9th grader. We do group time in the morning which includes Bible, art, history, memorization, art study, hymn study, character study, Latin, and geography. We take a little break where they do some music, spelling etc then come again together at lunch reading Greek history while they do penmanship. Then the afternoon it is all individualized work. This has work great for us. I have done this type of group study throughout the 26 years of homeschooling that I have taught. It is wonderful to keep everyone on the same page. There is much that they have in common and can talk about and play together. Denise@

    1. That sounds like a beautiful routine you have for your children, Denise.

    2. Yes, I think that leaving the afternoons for individual work, music practice, working on skills and such is great. My kids are young, so that is easy for us, but I hope to continue doing that as they get older. Thanks for sharing what is working for your family!


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