by Lyn Lomasi, Staff Writer
As homeschool becomes more popular and widespread, there are many questions that people ask. As a mom who has educated her children at home, as well as enrolled them in traditional school, I have been asked a fair share of questions regarding educational methods at home. With more people homeschooling, some people may wonder if groups of homeschoolers should buy big buildings together. In fact, when a group of readers were asked for back to school concerns,theBarefoot asked this very question. So, why don't homeschool parents form a school together? There are many answers to that question.
Social Interaction With the Outside World
Contrary to what some may believe, social interaction is very important to most parents of children who attend school at home. The ability for kids to interact with the outside world during the day, rather than being restricted to a building is one reason that using a traditional school building may not appeal to some homeschooling families. It can provide a great opportunity for children to socially interact with kids their age, as well as a variety of age groups. This type of outside world interaction could be a great preparation for when kids graduate and get out into the "real world."
Differences in Curriculum and Learning Styles
One of the main benefits to homeschool is the ability to choose or develop a custom curriculum plan for each child, based on his or her needs. Not all homeschooled kids will be using the same curriculum. For this reason, it may be more difficult to hold school in a building in a traditional class setting. Since everyone may not be using the same plan or methods, parents and other teachers might all be talking at once. This could be a very distracting and confusing learning environment that may even hinder the educational process.
Flexible Learning Environment
Some homeschool parents choose this form of education because of the flexibility it provides. Children in a homeschool environment have the unique opportunity of being able to learn everywhere. Class does not necessarily have to be held behind four walls, sitting at a desk. Math and nutrition might be taught in a combination lesson at the local farmer's market, for instance. Of course, some learning will still be completed with paper, pencils, and books, but there is often more flexibility in a “home” learning environment. This flexibility could possibly be one reason some homeschool parents would choose not to hold school in a traditional school building.
What About Homeschool Co-Ops?
There actually are some homeschoolers who choose to learn together. This type of arrangement is often called a homeschool co-op. Usually in these arrangements, the classes are offered as a supplement to what the kids are already learning in homeschool. The classes are usually held only on certain days, still leaving room for the flexible learning environment that home school can provide. There also are homeschool co-ops in which a group of parents work together to form a teaching plan. In these type of arrangements, a parents who specializes in a certain area may have the opportunity to aid other students in that area.
Which Method is Best?
When deciding between public, private, or home school (or various homeschool options), the answer will differ for everyone. That's often why parents choose to homeschool. They likely have come to the conclusion that not all children have the same educational needs. What works for one child may not work for another. Education is about providing a child with the best learning opportunities possible. For the most information to be gained during learning, a child's individual needs, as well as the available options, should be taken into consideration.
Note: A special thanks totheBarefoot for asking this question. He's a freelance writer and IT expert who writes about a wide range of topics. His content subjects include politics, writing, news, relationships, and many more. Expect his work to be entertaining, informative, and engaging.
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*I originally published this content via Yahoo Contributor Network
In the early days of schooling, children would often pile into a one-room school house. These kids were not sorted into different classrooms based on age or grade level. Everyone learned together and kids excelled based on their individual abilities. But then, things changed for many schools and the most common model involved sorting classrooms into grade levels. Should all schools go back to mixing age groups?
What is mixed age grouping?
Mixed-age grouping (also called multi-age learning) is the act of placing children at different age and grade levels in the same classroom together. Think back to the days of the one-room schoolhouse. While kids were in various grade levels, they all were in the classroom with the same teacher or set of teachers. Anytime children of multiple skill levels are in the classroom together, it is referred to as mixed-age grouping.
Benefits to mixing age groups in school
Studies have shown that mixed-age grouping teaches kids independence as well as teamwork. When kids of varying levels are placed in the same space, many will naturally work harder to achieve the next level. They also learn to work together with all people, not just their peers. In our homeschool, the kids all learn together, even though each of them is at a different level. That experience combines with research has convinced me that all schools should go back to mixed-age grouping.
Who uses mixed-age methods?
Most schools use it on a smaller scale. But Montessori schools, open schools, private schools, homeschoolers, and many others implement multi-aged learning for the full school day. Some schools have older students read to younger students during a small portion of the day.
Other schools may have the children work together all day long, regardless of the difference in skill levels. In a homeschool, if there is more than one child, mixed-age grouping often comes naturally. Some homeschoolers teach the kids as a group, while others separate the learning.
Should all schools go back to multi-age learning?
Based on my family's experience, as well as extensive research I've done over the years, I would fully support implementation of multi-age learning in all schools. In my experience, there really haven't been disadvantages where the kids are concerned. It can sometimes be more challenging for the educator to teach kids of various levels.
But with practice and the correct planning, for me it eventually evened out with teaching kids who were on the same level. The main issue that would come with converting all schools to this method is the change in the way the curriculum is handled. That in itself may be a hurdle for some schools. But in my opinion, it would be well worth the change.
What do you think? Should all schools go back to mixed-age grouping?
Lyn Lomasi & Richard Rowell are life & business partners. Owners of the Brand Shamans network, we are your brand healing, soul healing, marketing & content superheroes to the rescue!
Running our network of websites, tackling deadlines single-handedly, and coaching fellow writers, brands, & entrepreneurs to be thought leaders is our top priority.
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