Parents and children working together in home schooling

by Mary Ann on September 28, 2010

Children Working Together

“Should I let them each pick something different to work on at the same time?  The difficulty that I’m having today is with the children (3,6,9,11) fighting over who gets to do what part of the project and fighting over materials – really just the 9 year old.”

Working together on a project

Doesn’t this sound like real life! One of the things to remember about the Closet is that it is a tool within a system which gives your children a place where they can love learning. It doesn’t change what happens in real life when children get together. That being said lets see what we can do about the above scenario.

Working together can be fun

The Closet can be so much fun for children. They love using the contents to learn and project learning is especially appealing to all ages. “The use of project learning is an incredible way to encourage the child to venture into new areas of study.” (Leadership Education: The Phases by Oliver and Rachel DeMille) Everyone wants to be a part of it.

The other interesting thing about the Closet is that it seems to draw a family together. It is definitely not unusual for everyone to want to congregate over a project, book or game. That is part of the magic of the Closet.

So when the whole group works together you handle it like you would any

The younger the child the more they need "you" to feel included

other activity that occurs in your family, from going for a drive in the car to making a cake. It is helpful for you to think about the project in your head before you put it in the Closet. Is any part of it really unsafe for any child? If it isn’t appropriate for children under 3 then you have to be prepared to offer that  child an alternative activity and it has to include you.

How many parts and jobs are there to the project? Will everyone be able to do something? Have an idea in mind as to how you can help them divvy it out. Can you draw jobs out of a jar, for instance; for example, stirring, pouring, reading the directions, and so forth?

Children working independently

It helps if you make sure that there is a space large enough to do the project so that everyone can see. Is there room around the table, do you need to put in another leaf, would it be better outside, etc.

Although you don’t want to take any part of the learning away from your children and you don’t want to micro manage, it is important for you to assist with logistics and rules so that everyone can have fun and learn.

As you use the Closet and your children get used to working together in this way it will be less contentious and more fun. Give it time; any new enterprise takes learning and getting used to.

Whenever the Closet is available your children may opt to all work together and then they might opt to each do something different. That is great. Either way they are learning and loving it.

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