Multi-aged teaching and family learning
So, do you think I have a young Andy Warhol on my hands?

Baby Bear, age 4

It has been interesting watching him develop over the past several months. A year ago, I was beginning to stress over the fact that I would soon be teaching multiple age levels. In theory, I knew how it would play out, but in practice?

Of course, I have been teaching multiple age levels since the day he was born. He nursed while I read to his sister, banged on pots while I taught her to read, and played with his train tracks on the floor while I went over math facts. In my mind, that wasn't teaching. It was more like pacifying. Keeping him occupied. Minimizing distractions.

Then he became interested in what we were doing. I gave him a lump of play dough while we were making mountains and illustrating various types of erosion. I handed him a notebook while we were outside working on our nature journals. My daughter made him a hornbook while learning about early American education. In conversation with him, I realized that there probably are not a lot of four year olds out there who have words like "anticline" in their vocabulary and can identify the parts of a dissected sunflower.

The hardest for me has not been teaching him the skills a preschooler needs. It has been letting go of the idea that I somehow need to mimic the school system by teaching each of my children different skills from different books that are matched to their age level. That is fine for a school, but this is my home. I want our family to learn together, not independently.

Maybe this "come along side me" approach to learning really does work outside of my own idealized view of education. He doesn't know "school." And the world isn't his classroom. Learning, investigating, practicing and modeling is all he has ever known. It is his world. And as my two year old daughter has begun to investigate alongside her siblings, I am feeling more relaxed about teaching her right alongside them as well.

, ,