Can you help? On Sundays we give back to others by answering questions from other parents, homeschoolers & educators like us. Here is today's question:
"I'd like to know if other moms [or dads] sit at the table while teaching their kids even while the students do worksheets and such? Or do they read the directions, hand the worksheet to the children, then say "do it," while they take care of other things (such as tots, dishes, vacuumming, etc)?" ~ Jennifer
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It depends on the child. I’ve raised an only child to 16 yo before I gave birth to my current “only child at home.”
With the older, our son, I had to sit with him almost every minute or he’d not get anything done – even the things he enjoyed doing. I think I sat beside him until he was 12 or so….about 6th grade.
His sister is easily distracted when it comes to things she doesn’t like, but will work on her own on some things. I’ve been able to let her work on a few things unsupervised since she was about 7 or 8 yo.
A bit of both. I supervise closely now because he is so young but expect he will become more independent.
I have a 14yr old daughter and 12 yr old son. And like the previous comments, it is a little of both. I try to let them do a lot independently. But my 12 yr old son tends to let’s say ‘wonder’ he still hasn’t figured out how to manage his workload and dilly-dallies. So once or twice a month we re-evaluate and I help him set up his planner breaking down what he needs to do. Then other times I just teach a subject and they are both ready and wanting to go it alone.
I find I may not need to sit with them all the time but I do need to check their work, coz like a lot of folks if there is no accountability they just fly through the work without much thought and the learning process is lost.
I think it is more complex than ‘do you sit with the kid while they work’. Hope this helps.
Yeah, depends on the child… and their age. I did a lot of sitting at the table and working thru stuff when they were young… now that they are older, not so much. i give them instructions and then step back. they call when they need help. and I have one child who needs more direct interaction than the others. but that’s the beauty of homeschooling though. its not a cookie cutter operation. school can be tailored to the individual child’s needs.
I have homeschooled four daughters, two through high school (who are now in college) and two still at home (sophomore and 3rd grader). I have found that if I make myself available to them at the table while they do their work, they focus more and do better. It is when I am off getting chores done that they tend to let their minds wander. I try to stay at the table with them, either working on future lessons or getting my plan book in order or reading my Bible, only getting up to do short chores then returning. This is mainly during the math portion of their lessons. The older one then goes off to finish the more bookish work on her own, while I focus on the younger one. In short, I think it has been a good thing for me to be right there, essentially letting them know that their school is a priority for me so it should be to them.
We do some of both. Some of the material we work from is fairly straightforward, and my two girls (7 and 11) can work independently. Other work requires more direct interaction.
I do agree with Debbie that even when they have work that they can do independently, both girls focus more and do better work when I stay close by. I can often do some household chores, but I try to keep it to things that can be done in the same space, and from which I can easily step away.
I’ve noticed from when they were very young that our day goes better if I take the time to do something close with them early in the day. This may be reading or playing a game or making something in the kitchen, but that early interaction gets us all off to a better start.
Homeschooling is an individual experience with shared outcomes. One of my reasons for homeschooling is I wanted my daughters to have critical thinking skills, not just the right answer. And I wanted them to make mistakes at this age to learn about consequences of decisions. So I gave them space to struggle on their own levels, and worked one on one with them when they needed extra help. One is a senior in an elite college on a honor scholarship. And the other is in her second year studying Nursing.
It depends a lot on what the topic is and the the child. I have an 13DD at home and she learns very independently, however with Math I tend to go over the lesson with her complete the first couple of problems and then she finishes the rest of the assignment. I work from home and I am usually within earshot of her checking emails, doing customer calls or doing some household chores.
However her 14yo brother – my stepson – has to be watched like a hawk through all of his homework. He doesn’t live with us full time and is here on weekends. If he is left in the room for a minute he has lost all concentration and I literally have to be listening to hear his pencil moving on the page if I am not looking in his direction. I do however think that this is mostly do to the “schoolwork” he is given, which is mostly just busy work and of course he has no true connection to the work.
Hope that Helps –
We unschool, so when my son needs me to sit with him I do, and when he doesn’t need me, I go on and do my own thing. I think it’s important to be with my son when he needs me, regardless of what that need may be. Sometimes I’m sitting and just watching him play a video game which seems unimportant to me, but is very important to him. And sometimes it’s really important stuff like the Mayan calendar and the end of the world theory, or what is the periodic table and what are chemical elements and how do they combine to make a completely different substance. We don’t do worksheets, but if we did and he needed me to sit with him, I would.
Well, as an unschooling mom, I try to be WITH her as much as possible. But she is an independent learner so I make sure she has what she wants to be comfy and check in with to see if there’s anything she needs (food, drink, music, etc.) We take breaks to chat about what she’s doing, to laugh, to play a game, to share something she’s discovering or to just chat. Being PRESENT is what’s key. But with a 13 year old, her solitude is very important too. She likes to be alone much of the time and if I weren’t to respect that, I’d be going against the principles of mindful parenting. And obviously, we don’t use curriculum as unschoolers. She learns from a variety of applications, role playing games (for writing especially!), life experiences, TV shows, internet readings, and other sources. So it’s a combination of sitting with her and exploring independently. But I don’t thinking just ‘sitting with them’ is the key. It’s being truly present, engaging and working on the RELATIONSHIP with your child and taking your cues from them that matters most!
When my children were very young (about pre-school age to about age 5), I would sit through and entire day with them. Now, the kiddies and I have “family” work that we do together (i.e. Bible, read-alouds, art, music & nature study, spanish, etc.) and then I turn them loose. I do have one on one time with my 7 year old for subjects such as phonics, cursive and math.
Once the children know what is required of them they can pretty much follow the daily schedule I prepared for them with little involvement from me. The children are now 8, 8, and 7.
Once they complete everything they stack them up for me to grade and I then give them feedback and send them back for corrections as necessary.
I have one in first the other in third. I find time flies by so fast! I sat with my daughter the first two years and then started one in first. I found my daughter in third wants to be independent, so I can focus more time on my first grader. Just being there keeps them both focused. I prefer staying with them, answering questions keeping both on track. There are some subjects like science, bible and history we do together and have heaps of fun while learning. It’s our daily special time together, before long they’ll be wanting to do it all on their own. Enjoying the time while I have it 🙂
I do both. In the morning we get together to do a scripture verse and devotional together. Then, we do a 30 minute activity for ourunit study: this could include reading a book or doing an activity based on the topic. Finially, all three children do Time4learning.com. This is an online curriculum. They each have their own computer station to do the program and a binder with worksheets and daily agendas to keep them on track. I usually walk between the three of them making sure they are understanding the material, but most of the time the two oldest can work by themselves. Of course, I have to sit with my 1st grader to help read worksheets and to read. We also do a lot of verbal questions together. We meet back together at lunch where I read out loud whatever novel/biography we are reading together as a family.
A bit of both – but aiming for independance. Mainly because I have 4 children ages 7 and under. Even when I’m right there helping, there is a lot of distraction around as I keep tabs on the toddler, meet the needs of the baby, and work with the 2 “scholars”.
We do both with our 6th grader. Robbie can do most work on his own and prefers it that way. I check in with him but once he understands the worksheet he is good to go. When it comes to math he needs someone to sit next to him and motivate him. He loves Geometry but struggles with fractions so Dad usually works with him during Math time.
We started using Sue Patrick’s workbox system this year and it has been a tremendous help. I load up the boxes the night before and so I know what they will be working on and when they may need my help. As they work through their boxes, I stay close to whichever child I think will need help with a particular subject. But, if I’m not available,they can put the problem aside and move on to something else. Both boys love the system since they can see how much work they need to do before the end of the day.
I, unfortunately, have to sit with mine or he wouldn’t get anything done. He’s a very willing student and will do as asked, but seems to drift off if I’m not very near, just sitting there, near. I wish for him to work with just instruction, but he’s just not ready to be left alone. I suppose I should see the bright side here, my nine year old son likes me being near!!!
Linda Bullock says
I homeschooled five children all the way through high school. Whenever possible, I would leave a child to do his or her work on their own. I made up lesson plans that each child could follow. Some preferred to take their work to their room and do it alone unless they had a question. Others needed constant prompting in order to complete their work. If I didn’t sit with them or pay close attention, nothing got done. I think in general that your goal should be to gradually wean you child from needing you as they get older. Now that they are out of the house, I sure miss those days!! Enjoy them, whatever your child needs.
I sit next to my daughter for homeschool. She is much more likely to concentrate when I am nearby.
Plus, the homeschool program that we use involves doing online checkpoints daily. We sit next to each other and after going over the day’s lessons, she takes her checkpoints online.
I think you have to do whatever works for your child 😀
I sit with my 1st grader for the lessons she is learning for the first time. Other than that, I am close by, but don’t sit with her. She knows she can come to me with any questions.
I am always close by during school work but I don’t sit with the crew unless it is a group project we are all doing together.
A little of both. This is our first year homeschooling with 3rd and 5th grader. Some lessons are independent works but some do “require” parent to overview and/or teach so it just depends on the curriculum. Also, may I add that I am not …only trying to undo the poor work habits of the public system but also am getting my 5th grader caught up in the areas in which were never touched on in public schools. With the Saxon Math curriculum, it has a process that I love that was never used in public schools so I use parts the 3rd grade Saxon with my 5th grader (who is in Saxon 6/5) for skip counting and multiplication reviews…..She is 10 x’s better at all of it thanks to that program.
With my Kindergartner I do a lot of it with her, and leave her to it with me working on stuff nearby for anything she is able to do independently. With my 3rd grader I only do a few things with him, most of it is just on his “to do” list and he can choose the order he wants to do it in. I’m always nearby if they have a question though.
As already noted, the answer to Jennifer’s question depends upon the confluence of multiple factors: (1) age of child, (2) independence level of the child, (3) subject matter of the assignment, (4) complexity and/or length of the assignment, (5) presence/absence with the student of learning disabilities related to the subject matter and/or complexity of topic, (6) physical set-up of the house and/or schooling environment, and (7) needs/requirements of the teaching parent (which needs encompass the parent’s own LDs, household tasks requiring the teaching parent’s attention at that moment in time, and/or needs of other homeschooled students at that same moment in time).
Sorry, but there simply is NOT a cut-and-dried response! One could summarize that in general, I favor encouraging independence appropriate for the individual child. At any time, without warning even, a child may have to transition to an “outside school” setting where, usually, self-sufficiency is the norm, and one-on-one teaching is rare. Best to develop those necessary skills. They will be needed by college or technical training years, in any case.
Muddy Muse says
We are an eclectic bunch here….trying to homeschool and 8 yr old and take care of a 2 yr old and find time to get in the pottery studio and run my pottery business from home. We work off of a montessori influenced work plan each week. I give her a chart of the assignments that she is expected to choose from and complete for each subject. We have what we call our weekly work basket where any books or worksheets that are to be covered for the week are placed. Each Monday we go over the the task charts and look at the new materials in the weekly basket. I help her get started and stay with her to cover any lessons that need true instruction…otherwise she works independently choosing what work to do and when. She is expected to do certain things like math and reading every day. I am always available if she has questions but she mainly works by herself once any new information is covered.
Lori Seaborg says
Oh, I love your description of your school. That sounds like a lovely way to learn!