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Teaching Multi-Ages

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Delight-directed learning, with a set plan like Heart of Wisdom unit studies, begins by allowing children to be a part of the planning process. During the planning phase, allow the student to participate in choosing the resources for that unit (fiction novel, colorful reference book, video, Internet site, interactive multi-media, etc.). It’s very possible that a child might balk at the unit as a whole but later find a spark in one of the individual lessons.

To use a food analogy, a child might, say, groan over something he sees cooking, but after a taste, finds it pleasing to his palate.

Mother is teaching Jenny (fifteen), John (thirteen), and Joseph (ten) a unit on the Middle Ages.

During the unit planning the three decide together on the resources. They look through the resources at Homeschool-Books.com or in the back of The Heart of Wisdom Teaching Approach book at theMiddle Ages Resources. The three choose Kingfisher Illustrated Encyclopedia, and Eyewitness Medieval Life from their home library. Mother orders a novel,The Door in theWall (from the library or a vendor) to read aloud during the unit.

While reviewing thelessons the children show the most interest in knights, castles, and medieval feasts. Before the unit begins they will pick up books on these topics from the library. Several opportunities will occur during the steps in each lesson to bring into play the delight-directed methods. Let’s look at an example of how each of the three childrenmight discover their own level of interest in the lesson on knights.

Unit: Middle Ages. Lesson: Knights

1. In Step One (Excite) Mother is watching each student for a spark.

Step One activities evoke feedback which shows how interested each child is in the topic and suggests thepossible duration of the lesson. As they brainstorm to make lists,John and Joshua bothshow an intense interest in this topic.

2. In Step Two, Mother reads the provided text in the unit, and then turns to the resources chosen during the unit planning phase. She reads aloud from the suggested pages in the Kingfisher Illustrated Encyclopedia and Eyewitness Medieval Life. John and Joseph spend time reading through the suggested web sites and library resources,and print out several illustrations of a knight’s armor and weapons.

Jenny also browses the Internet sites and chooses an image of a knight to add to her portfolio,but she leaves the boys to explore the sites as she moves on to Step Three assignments.

3. In Step Three, Mother allows each child to choose an activity:

  • John (13) chooses to complete a writing assignment. Mother encourages this assignment because he needs more writing practice and he enjoys this topic. John writes a separate draft paragraph for each of several topics: tournaments, jousting, suits of armor, crossbows, and the Crusades. He searches or uses the Internet to find illustrations for each summary.
  • • Joseph (10) chooses to create a shield with a coat of arms. He uses colored pencils to design a coat of arms similar to those he viewed from the resources. He the nmakes the shield from cardboard and pastes or glues the coat of arms onto the shield.
  • • Jenny is not as interested in this topic so she copies a paragraph from Eyewitness Medieval Life and moves on to a math lesson (more about Jenny later).

4. In Step Four the students choose how they will share their work.

  • During this step,Mother and John are busy revising and correcting John’s drafts .After the corrections John glues illustrations to the summary pages and includes them in his portfolio. He chooses to add more on this topic to his portfolio andshares it with his grandparents.
  • Joseph shows his shield to his father and explains his coat of arms
  • Jenny adds her writing and illustrations to her portfolio and shares the work with her brothers.

In this example all three children have learned about knights. John has obviously learned the most. We know all three have learned significantly more than they would in a typical school where the children would read perhaps one boring paragraph about knights.

John and Joseph will continue on this topic in the coming weeks by choosing a novel and/or illustrated reference books from the library on knights ,or by learning more from the Internet. Their wise mother will continue to fan the flame as long as the fire burns(weeks or months). If no spark had appeared during this lesson the amount of timespent on this lesson would have been dramatically different.

Jenny did not do a lot with the lesson on knights because she did not have a spark of interest. Later, however, Jenny’s spark shows up in the “Food in the Middle Ages” lesson. She ends up spending several hours researching and planning an authentic medieval feast for her family. She designs an elaborate menu for her portfolio and reads the library book Medieval Feasts to Joshua.

Four-Steps Summary

  1. During Step One, look for the spark.
  2. In Step Two, the spark will be your signal to encourage your student(s) to go on to more resources. If the lesson ignites aspark for one child and not another (which will probably be the case) don’t force all the students into spending time on further study. Take a trip to the library, or order books, or allow computer time for Internetr esearch.
  3. In Step Three, allow each child to choose the activity in which to do something with what he or she just learned. This could be anything from simple copywork or an involved project.
  4. In Step Four, allow each child to choose how to share the material.

Teaching is much more than providing facts—real teaching means causing to learn. Thedelight-directed methods work when we provide opportunities for meaningfulexperiences,and then wait and watch for moments when children’s eyes light up. Then they’re off and running, determined and motivated to learn!

The Heart of Wisdom Teaching Approach: Bible-Based Homeschooling

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The Heart of Wisdom Teaching Approach is for all homeschoolers who want to make the Bible the center of their school day. This giant 500+ page book provides you with the methods, program, and resources for a course of study where students spend half the school day studying God’s Word and the other half studying God’s world (academics). Students study history chronologically and science in the order of the days of Creation. This book will encourage, motivate you and instruct you, step by step, how to give your child a Bible-focused, comprehensive education from preschool through high school; one that will train him or her to read, to study, to understand, to love to learn and, most importantly, to desire and seek true wisdom. This approach can be used for all grade levels.

When homeschoolers are asked about this book, one word continues to come up over and over–Wow! Read the excerpt today to see what all the wow is about.

Related: An Unplanned Delight-Directed Homeschool Day

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