homeschooling, homemaking, homesteading...home.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Age desegregation

I get why it makes sense, if you are teaching large groups of children, to segregate them by experience level...which most often means by age. I do. But I still don't think that it's ideal, as it robs kids of all ages of the benefits of working with a more diverse group.

I was trying to get out of the house to run an errand yesterday. Trying being the operative word. You know how it can get with even one hesitant child. Multiply that and it's utter futility, trying to motivate the troops to Move, already! I was pacing between rooms, barking orders for "Shoes, NOW!" and getting the dog re-crated, and damn it..."Why are your shoes not on!?"

During one of my trips through the kitchen, I overheard my 13yo stepson correcting T on the confusion of "Washington". See, my mother (Gram) lives in a town named Washington. Which is in a county named Washington...where a cousin also lives, but in a town of a different name. T has trouble enough not understanding why his cousin and grandmother are not neighbors if they both live in Washington. Throw a reference to Washington State or Washington D.C. his way, and his little gears spin until smoke comes out of his ears.

I got the dog crated and C found me, chattering about the Mississippi River. "The what? Where did you hear that?"

That's when I walked toward the living room and overheard T asking, "Where's Nebraska?"

How does he know what the hell Nebraska even is?

And that's when I saw this:

This is one of those learning moments that means something. And it wasn't scripted, or planned, or coerced. It just happened. One kid teaching another. The two of them cooperating. Learning some information. Building a memory.

It does my heart good.

And I let them finish before the stupid errand. This was way more important.


  1. Awesome!

    I love chancing upon these moments and then backing away slowly before I screw it up.

    Theo has been teaching Whinnie how to count and the values of numbers. It is so sweet and wonderful.

    Yeah, multi-age is wonderful.

  2. One of the benefits of un/homeschooling are the experiences of desegregation. One of the frustrations (for me) is beginning to realize how much we segregate the child-class, on purpose, and institutionalize them so much in so many ways. Frowny-face.

    People often talk about children not learning "real world" stuff but... guess who teaches great "real world" - the Real World.

    Lovely post!

  3. You know what I love best about this? My stepson recognized that his brother wasn't understanding what he was trying to communicate (verbal), so he found another (visual, tactile) approach. He (gasp!) custom-tailored the teaching to the learner, to make sure that the information actually got transmitted in a valuable, meaningful way.

    Not to mention the sheer geek love of the fact that he didn't just say "nevermind", either.