how to coordinate different interests

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  • We have four sone (13, almost 11, almost 8 and just turned 5). Our oldest has expressed a desire to study the World Wars, Vietnam, etc. while our second son would like to continue our history course and study, roughly, the Middle Ages. We just completed ancient history this year. On the one hand I think it would be a nice break to study modern times and on the other it makes sense to continue. I’m a sucker for interest-led learning and want to accomodate both, though…and our third son would like to learn the history of the US Navy! HOWEVER, I don’t want to sink the ship (me!) by steering in too many directions at once. That is, it would take a lot more planning, accountability and resources to teach different topics at once. They are quite willing to do a lot of independent work in order to accomplish the goal, though. So, here I am, praying and wondering where to go from here.

    My only thought is to stick with one plan and allow some flexibility with the reading, etc. time to allow for some lapbooking on their individual topics. I really want to encourage their research without burning them out on too much study. I’m not sure where to draw the line and keep the balance in our family.

    Your prayers are especially appreciated and any insights are welcome. Have a blessed Sunday.



    Just a few ideas occurred to me if you are desiring to keep them all on the same page, so to speak, in the subject of history. One is that you can do a lot with the subject of literature to hit upon their interests. Another is that you could pare back on your history readings in order to have some time to pull in some of their interests. Does your third son want to specifically study the US Navy, or does he just like water and ships? 🙂 If that is so, then you could accomplish his goal through the study of the Middle Ages easily. How about free reading time? I would highly recommend the Albert Marrin books for your oldest. You may find that just getting them some books to puruse on their own will fill the bill just fine.

    One other idea, as I was looking over the curriculum guide, would be to really comb through each subject with prayer and ask God how to adjust it to meet the interests of your children. You may find that there is even some poetry written that would be appropriate.



    Sonya Shafer

    I agree with CindyS.It’s been our experience that the younger children need the most “hand-holding” and the older children can more easily branch out to research other interests independently. (Of course that principle may not hold for all children, but generally speaking . . .) So you might want to continue chronologically with all the children, but give the older ones additional resources so they can pursue their individual interests. Sounds like a great opportunity to encourage and train them in the skill of self-educating. Your plan to stick with a main history course and allow the interested boys to branch out into areas of interest sounds great.

    They could do lapbooking, or you might want to use a hobby notebook concept for something different if you want to.

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