Monday, July 8, 2013

Homeschooling ~ Are Siblings Alike or Different?

{On Mondays for the month of July, I’ll be blogging about homeschooling along with Classic Housewife’s Back to (Home) School Carnival. In August, I’ll return to My Daughters’ Modest Mondays.}

When I had my second girl, I thought I was getting a twofer. Easy parenting was just around the corner because every girl that came from me would be exactly alike. Right? I knew that old mantra, “Each child is different.” But my inexperienced mind thought it couldn’t be that true.

Well, it is.

But it also isn’t.

When the oldest was nearly five, she and I sat together on the smooshy green sofa, and I pushed and pulled and tugged her through Hooked on Phonics. I was determined that she would be the smartest four-year-old in the history of the world! But then, a couple of years later, I got the second on the smooshy green sofa, the bright yellow workbook in hand, and she had the audacity to be different. J She wasn’t as quick to catch on to reading, and I soon found that the more I snuggled with her during our phonics time the better she read.

What did this mean for homeschooling? We do use, generally, the same curriculum for all the children, recycled for each grade but with new worktexts in which they write. However, my approach with each child as well as each child’s approach to the curriculum can be different.

You’ll also see from my assessment of each child below that similar needs according to age can make life a lot easier for this mom, but each child likely has his or her own way of processing new information as seen through the questions they ask and comments they make.

So, as we enter our tenth year of homeschooling, how different are all my children?

I have six, so I’ve done my best to be brief. J

Holly, the 13yo ~
Incredibly easy to homeschool.
Self-motivated first born.
Checks her own work.
Witty and creative.
Plays with/reads to the Littles so that I can work with the 7yo.

What she needs:
Instruction on practical application of Biblical teaching.
Continued instruction in cooking and sewing.
Quality books, including more nonfiction, that encourage her to a closer walk with God.
Art instruction, beginning with finishing the Thomas Kinkade DVD curriculum we already have.
Freedom to try different outlets of expression, including lapbooks, poetry, writing stories, music, photography.

Laura, the 11yo ~
Innocent, sweet soul drawn to beauty.
Performs better with lots of hugs and affection.
Loves to read but also is helped when new concepts are explained.
Concentration is best achieved in a quiet room without distraction, so tests are usually taken in our room with the door closed.

What she needs:
Instruction on practical application of Biblical teaching.
Continued instruction in cooking and sewing.
Quality books, including more nonfiction, that encourage her to a closer walk with God
Instruction in calligraphy.
Freedom to make her surroundings pleasing to her eye, including pictures for her binder, organization, even her blankets on the sofa as she reads.

Benjamin, the 9yo ~
Smart as a whip and a grade ahead.
Picks up new concepts quickly.
Easily distracted, but stays more focused when in competition with the 11yo.
Thoughtful and considerate, but boy, can he be a boy!

What he needs:
Gentle reminders, couched in praise, to stay the course.
Practical examples of how the Bible applies to our everyday lives.
Encouragement that reading is its own reward.
Continued instruction from Dad ~ tools, how things work, etc.

Noelle, the 7yo ~
Beginner reader, but progressing rapidly.
Caught in the middle of the Little to Big transition.
Tactile, performing math more easily with manipulatives.
Extremely sensitive to wrong.

What she needs:
Continued education in Bible stories.
Engaging, living stories of history and science.
Continued transition from all-day play to the value of school.
Lots and lots of praise.

Samuel, the 4yo ~
Picks up bits and pieces just by listening to Bigs.
Often needs rules repeated…and repeated…and repeated.
Wants to be included in everything the 7yo is doing.
In nearly constant motion.

What he needs:
Continued work with the alphabet, supervision with scissors and glue.
Lots of picture books, both to read aloud and just to look at.
Opportunity for physical activity.
Lots of praise, as well as gentle correction to attitude.

Andrew, the 2yo ~
Sweetness personified.
Works hard on syllable pronunciation.
Train enthusiast.

What he needs:
Read aloud time.
Work with colors and shapes.
Lots and lots of cuddles and giggles.

I pray that this jogs something in your mind that helps you in this coming school year!

How alike are your children? How different? How does it affect your schooling?

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  1. Dear Meghan,

    Your blog was one of the first that I found that inspired me to just create my own blog.

    God Bless!


    1. I'm so glad my blog touched you, Sue! BTW, I LOVE your blog header. Many blessings to you!

  2. My boys are different in so many ways as well, and that is one of the beautiful things about homeschooling--being able to accommodate those differences :)

    1. One of our many reasons for homeschooling, Crystal. I can see so much benefit for you as well with your son's possible diagnosis of autism. Enjoy your planning!

  3. Loved how you put this together. Each child even looks the part. Happy homeschooling!

    1. Thanks, Val. Enjoy your homeschooling as well. Loved the picture of your Gabrielle on FB!

  4. This is so true, Meghan, and we haven't even technically started homeschooling. I can already tell my oldest is like your oldest, and my second born is going to be a hands-on, gotta-be-movin' learner. The baby, well, she's going to be a handful. I think it's good to know your kids and how they learn best so you as teacher can meet their needs and teach to their learning styles. I think it's hardest to teach to the styles I don't possess, which is why I'm concerned about how I will teach my younger two.

    This is a great exercise, though, to do every year to assess where your children excel and areas in which they need more work. Great idea, Meghan! Thanks!

    1. I was surprised at how quickly I learned my children and adapted to what they needed. You have the love, Keri, and that is truly the most important thing.

  5. Meghan, you have such a beautiful family! Your sweet spirit shines through in every posts. I always enjoy visiting here.
    I just love the way you listed out your children's personalities and needs. I'm working on a similar list now for my own as I prepare for a new school year.
    Our first 4 have graduated out of our homeschool, and as I continue to raise our second 4, I am in awe of how many things are the same and how much is so different!
    It's a good thing that God, in His Wisdom, gave us such variety in life and family.

    1. Amen, sister!

      I've actually never done anything like this before, but I think I'll make it, at the very least, an annual exercise. And thank you so much for your kind words of encouragement, Linda! :)

  6. What a sweet post, enjoyed this and the pictures are precious!

    1. Thank you, Ashley. So glad to have you drop in!

  7. I nanny for a couple boys and their mom was like you when she had two boys and you had two girls. Unfortunately, the boys learning styles are different and luckily I have been able to work and encourage them. And your encouragement has helped me!
    Thank you!

  8. I'd loved reading about your children's schooling. Thanks so much for linking this up over at WholeHearted Home this week.

    1. Thank you, Judith. You host a wonderful link-up!


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