This is a concept that tends to intimidate and exasperate many homeschooling parents.
The reason why so often this happens is that people in general tend to worry too much about the content and not enough about developing skills.
We live in an information age, where information is changing all the time. There’s an information explosion; and we can’t possibly deal with all the information.
Yes, unquestionably, we need to develop an understanding of the basic information, but once this has been done, then we need to focus on developing the skills, because ultimately we will need to be able to read it, understand it and represent it in different ways e.g. diagrams, speeches, text etc.
Take for example a topic like teaching about LEAVES as part of Biology, to multiple ages… a 5 year old Grade 0, a 9 year old Grade 4 and a 14 year old Grade 9:
(As a broad guideline, one would pitch the lesson at the oldest child’s level; and then simplify as you move down through the ages)
Grade 0 (5 yrs)
You could task them to go into the garden to look for different kinds and shapes of leaves, e.g. serrated, straight-edged, lobed etc.
Once they’ve gathered these up, they can take paper and do a rubbing with crayons to record the different kinds of leaves that plants have.
As part of the lesson they would also learn that leaves makes food for plants.
- Classifying / categorising leaves
- Crayon “rubbing” helps develop their fine motor-skills
Grade 4 (9 yrs)
They too learn that leaves manufacture food for plants; and they’re also old enough to know about “photosynthesis” in words only; and perhaps draw a simple diagram with arrows, to illustrate the concept.
- Learning and acquiring the skill of taking facts and expressing them in language; and
- Taking facts and expressing them in a diagram.
Grade 9 (14 yrs)
In addition to obviously knowing all that the younger children know, they are able to, for example, draw a cross-section through the leaf, explain the chemical formula of both words and symbols of photosynthesis, explain how gaseous exchange takes place with reference to photosynthesis and demonstrate it all in a well put together diagram.
- Working at almost an IGCSE level and largely content-based.
- Learning to work through large volumes of work and in such a way as being able to apply formulae to their work.