I like the idea of the one room school house. Everything seems incredibly quaint, from the red of the building to the aged wood of the desks. The interior of such a school also seems inviting. Students of all ages coming together to learn, warmed by the wood stove in the middle of the room and sharing their math answers they have written on personal sized slate tablets.
So obviously everything I know about the one room schoolhouse comes from my childhood viewing of “Little House on the Prairie” and has nothing to do with how such schools actually functioned.
Romantic notions aside, we adopt se of the ideas of the “one room school house” into our homeschooling. When one is educating more than one child at home, it makes sense to bring said children together for various learning times during the day.
We begin our school day this way. Although we have a school room, we start our day at the kitchen table. We need the space to spread out and work. Besides changing locations during the day helps keep moods perky and restlessness at bay. Every morning we spend an hour or so on our Classical Conversations memory work, working together as a collaborative unit .
There are seven facets to the CC memory work (timeline, history, Latin, science, geography, math and English grammar). During the course of an hour we go over each of these areas. We do so by utilizing the following techniques:
1. Drill, drill, and drill some more. During the course of the school year, the kids memorize over 500 pieces of information. We drill this memory work a lot so they know it well by the end of the year. We also do math flash cards everyday during this time . I want to make sure their facts (multiplication, addition , and subtraction) are all really strong.
2. Copy work . The kids choose various things to copy off of our memory work board (pictured above….and just so happens to be a large piece of shower board from Lowes cut down to a manageable size). Sometimes they copy things onto their personal sized white board, other times they write it nearly in their copy work book. Sometimes this copy work is illustrated (like yesterday’s elaborate illustrations that went along with the Mexican revolution) while other days we stick to straight penmanship work.
3. Reading on particular subjects. We spend a lot of time reading about what we are learning . Sure one can learn about the Bolsheivik revolution and what year it occurred but how helpful is a year if you do not know what was actually happening during that time? We have a few books that carry snippets about major world history events that we read from as well as an ever changing stack of library books. My kids have become interested in topics that would appear to be dry and boring to a kid. The power of a good books and well-written word
4. Extension projects . We have always lived a good craft here at case de Phillips . We try to do one or two projects or crafts a week that go along with our memory work. Sometimes the project is small (transforming a balloon into a diagram of the layers of the atmosphere …like we did this morning) or large (play-doh model of the earth). Extension projects really solidify learning, in my opinion .
We manage to do all of these things by keeping all of our supplies ( white boards, markers, erasers, books, maps, and other various materials all together in a basket. When 8am hits, we can grab the basket and go.
As I am sure it was with the one room school house approach, there are times when this part if our morning is not so glamorous nor fun. Bad attitudes show up at the table on occasion. Someone is usually starving despite having eaten ten minutes ago (the kitchen is closed from 8am to 9:30am. Best homeschool decision I ever made.). One person gets mad if the other person answers a review question faster. White board markers are lost / dried up / wrong color.
You know, all things Laura had to deal with when teaching on the prairie.
How do you incorporate the one room school house approach into your homeschool