I’m often asked how I manage to teach three different grades during our school day. It came quite natural to me because my kids are different ages and wake up at different times.
We officially start our school day at 8am. My eldest son who is in grade 11 is always up first so we start earlier than 8am. I run through his schedule of work for the day, which sometimes involves him going to the maths tutor or a tutor coming to our home. He mostly works independently and will ask for my help when needed. I mark and check each task as he completes it throughout the day. He also watches online lessons when necessary and History videos, which he finds very interesting. My kids all love visual learning, so wherever we can, we watch a video on the topic for the day.
My eldest also has a study time-table which allows him a break after school and at least two hours of study time at night. This is done daily as he studies for his weekly test. During exam time he studies weekends as well.
I am more involved with my second son who is in grade 6, and my daughter who is in grade 3. They do not sit in the same area because they distract one another. I also tutor every lesson aloud which distracts the other child, so for this reason I separate them for written task.
I will teach my eldest son a particular subject and he will independently complete the task until his next subject starts. While his gets on with that subject, I can then start with my daughter. This will go on for all the lessons for the day. We have a break at 11am where they will go outside and have their lunch and a time of free play. After lunch it’s back to the same routine until the end of the school day. I’ve recently changed our daily time-table as starting with maths wasn’t ideal for us. We now begin our mornings with English and Spelling.
In-between these lessons, I’m continually marking their task as they complete it. They do corrections on the work as I mark. This allows me to judge whether that section was clearly understood. If it was not understood, we revise before moving forward. We also do experiments during or after their lessons when necessary. We do experiments almost weekly, as I find practical experiments reinforces what we have learned for the lesson.
They each have a reader for the term. Reading is done at the end of the school day. They are required to do a book report at the end of the term which counts toward their English mark.
After our school work is completed we use maths flash cards to play games, and match Afrikaans words to English words to expand our vocabulary.
We have extra murals most afternoons, so our school day ends by 2.30 the latest. If we do not complete the school work during the school day it is done as homework, this is not often. If there are any test scheduled for the week, they will also spend some time studying in the evening.
I try to keep learning interesting and fun by allowing them to lead the discussion. There is often a few why questions which we can explore during our lesson. The one on one time spent learning and researching different topics is invaluable. It’s always an enrichment experience for me as well.
Deborah Pretorius is a mother of 3 kids and a BCom graduate on the amazing adventure of home schooling her family.