- Use whole books or “living books”
- Narrations instead of workbooks or tests
- Focused short lessons
- Emphasis on excellence
- Formation of good habits
- Free afternoons
- Humanities and a rich education
Recently we eased back into school after a short winter break. Normally during our first few days, we start out with a Bible lesson, and either just do seat work or “disciplined studies” or 3R’s …
We start our new read aloud and only do oral narrations. After a few days, we fill in few more subjects and lessons until we do a full weekly schedule.
This term my youngest daughter came up with a novel suggestion ~ just do one subject a day. I thought that she meant our “Theme of the Day“, but she suggested she would only do Maths on Mondays or Social Studies on Tuesday. When I explained that she would have to do the entire week’s work in that day, she innocently agreed.
But it was hard.
It was an awful slog.
So many lessons … a whole week of Maths … maths the whole day?
When we do our normal school day we just do just one lesson. Lessons are short; no longer than 20 minutes. Work is focused and done diligently. Children master their lessons and complete it with a positive attitude.
Long lessons drain and exhaust a young child. Children become demoralized. Their passion and enthusiasm dwindle away.
My daughter quickly agreed to go back to her normal school schedule.
May I suggest that your children are more motivated and positive when they have short, sweet lessons.
I fact, in my teaching experience, the best way to encourage children to get going on a topic or lesson is to limit their time. Instead of giving a whole period for a lesson, I set a limited time and a specific goal. Once we reached the time limit, we moved onto the next goal and set a short, but manageable time.
Here are more benefits of short, sweet lessons:
- Dawdling eliminated
- Encourage concentration
- Stay focused
- Form the habit of doing their best first time and every time
- Motivated by manageable length lessons
- Variety stimulates inborn curiosity
- Tedious lessons eliminated so that success and achievement are intrinsic motivation
- Mastery of concepts and skills
- ADHD and easily distracted children learn to stay connected for the short manageable lessons
- Completed seat work leads to the “enjoyable, best parts” like read alouds, fine arts, nature study or handicrafts
- Reduced tears and tantrums, especially when working through difficult subjects or concepts.
- Rewards of free afternoons and time outdoors
- Routine and schedule are reassuring to young children
So, this week, my daughter is happy to announce that all her maths is done, but she is very happy to return to our normal short, sweet lessons!
My high school daughter likes to immerse herself in one subject at a time. She often teaches herself the entire term’s work on one subject, doing her lessons all day and for a week or more, until she is ready to write her exams. Once completed, she moves on to another subject. She maintains that she obtains a better global view of her subject, masters the work, retains her skills and is more motivated.
What works for you? What works for your young children? Do your older children like to study comprehensively or do a little every day?
Feel free to share or comment.