Topic | Family Style vs. Individualized; Special Needs, too

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  • Twinsmomxtwo

    This is a long one…

    So, I’m considering a return to SCM. Mainly due to its simplicity and manageable amount of books to be read (as compared to Sonlight). I have two 13-yr olds (7th grade-ish) and two 10 year-olds (5th grade-ish).  I’m struggling with how to incorporate both family-style and grade-level learning with the same SCM materials, mainly the History/Bible.

    A little Back-story…We’re coming from a wonderful year of CC in 2019-2020. We really thought we would be in it through HS.  This year my 13 yo twins should have been in Challenge A. But due to Covid we could not return to that community. Since ideally the Challenge programs need community, I opted to keep them doing Foundations & Essentials with my younger twins (age 10) another year. We’re also using Sonlight for in-depth History & Bible.  At this point we have dropped foundations and are ready to drop essentials as well.  And we’re WAY behind with Sonlight…feels like we’ll never get past the Revolutionary War.

    My dilemma… My 13 year-old daughter is craving independence and challenge.  I’ve considered trying to do CC Challenge A at home with her but I don’t WANT to do that.  Her twin brother is ASD – he seems to have zero reading or listening comprehension, and works at much slower pace than her.  My 10 year old twins are pretty equal with each other so I know how to handle them.  But everyone is very competitive during any family learning times, with narration, or answering questions…anything.

    I need some help in 2 areas:

    1) figuring out individualized SCM programs for my 13 year olds, since they’re at opposite ends of the spectrum – 1 advanced; 1 special needs ASD

    2) how I can do some family-style learning with them without the constant competition, while also tailoring some of it to their respective grade levels & needs?  I already plan to add Laying Down the Rails for this reason (and many others).

    Thank you in advance for any advice you are willing to offer. 🙂

    – Jennifer

    Karen Smith

    Are you meeting each child where he/she is at as an individual, not by age or grade? For your 13 year old daughter, allow her some independence. With history, you will read aloud any family books to all of your children, then assign the appropriate grade level books to be read independently by your older daughter and maybe your 10 year olds. Your older daughter could do a written narration on the family read aloud, while you listen to oral narrations from the others. You will probably need to read the grade level books to your older son. If the grade level books for his age are not being comprehended by him, then drop down to a lower grade level. Likewise, if your older daughter needs to be challenged more, feel free to choose books from a higher grade level for her to read.

    There are different ways to keep oral narration from being a competition. One way is to have each child narrating only tell part of what was read, then the next child picks up where the first child left off. The second child tells the next part, then the third child finishes.

    Another way is to ask each child a different narration question. Maybe the first child is asked, “What did you learn about George Washington in our reading today?” The next child is asked, “Tell what you know about the capturing of the fort.” And the third child is asked, “Pretend you are a soldier. Tell about your experience capturing the fort.” There are endless possibilities to vary the questions.

    Education is all about teaching the child, not the curriculum. Don’t let the curriculum, someone’s expectations, or a child’s age be your master. If your child is progressing in his schoolwork and finds the lessons enjoyable, then you are providing a good education for him. You will also be developing a life-long learner who enjoys learning for learning’s sake.

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