Learn to teach the way they learn

by Mary Ann on January 12, 2011

How to Use the Closet in Your Family

three kids pictures

Maggie, Jack and Mary

If They Don’t Learn the Way You Teach, Teach the Way They Learn. The same concept applies to ways of using the Closet for creating a magical learning space for kids. If a particular way of using the closet doesn’t work for you then use it the way that it will work best for you.

I am often asked how you are supposed to use the Closet. My answer is “the way that works best for your family”. There are only five things that are absolute about the success of the Closet and those five things are the Rules of Engagement(effective home school teaching strategies) – structure and consistency, be present, keep it special, keep it simple and regular planning. Everything else is based on what you need and what works.

Here is a case in point. I was sitting in on a home school yesterday. Their home school day was really great. I want to play it out for you.

There is a handicapped 4 ½ year old in the family. There is also a three year old and a one year old.

It was a busy morning with dressing, feeding and getting to a therapy session. At about 10:15, when they returned home the mother said, “It’s time for kid school”. “Yeaaaaaa”, was the response. Everyone got a hat and had their welcome song. Then the mom brought out a large tub of small plastic toys from somewhere.

kids closet ideas picture

Every Closet is Different

I was amazed at the varied ways that they used this as a group. They began with I Spy. “Who can spy a cow?” “Who can spy the pink dinosaur?” “No, that dinosaur is blue. Can you find the pink one?” “Yea, Maggie found it.” And that is how it went for about ten minutes. Then the three year old just started choosing things. So the game changed.

“Look, Jack found a frog.” “Maggie found a horse.” “Jack found a teddy bear.” That went on for about five or six minutes.

Then the game changed again. Each person chose an animal to go with the song Old McDonald Had a Farm. As an item was chosen the verse would be sung and then one or the other child would make the appropriate sound. They played together for quite a while. It was fun watching them have so much fun.

As items were chosen during each version of the game the mother carried on a “familiar conversation. “Jack, can you find the dinosaur.” “ Look mom, a sharp tooth.” “Yes Jack that’s a tyrannosaurus.” “Look, Maggie found the pink dinosaur. It’s a long neck, it’s called a brontosaurus.” “Can you find another dinosaur.” “I found a frog.” “Your right Jack, frogs lived when there were dinosaurs but a frog isn’t a dinosaur.” And the conversation just went on and on.

kids study space pictures

The Palmer's original Closet

Now I have been at this family’s school time before. They had a wonderful Closet in a plastic tub. It was low enough that each child could get things in and out by themselves. Today they weren’t using it. Mom would just choose something and they would all play together until one of the children was tired and wanted to do something else. Then the mom would bring in something else.

So I asked her if she wasn’t using the Closet anymore. “Oh yes, we are. I now have a Closet in the hall and I pull things out of there.” I asked her why she made the change from a tub that her kids could access by themselves to a Closet that she only brought one thing at a time out of.

“Well, my children are very little and Maggie is handicapped. It doesn’t work for each one to be doing something different because they all need my immediate attention. I have to actually play with them the whole time we are in school. We have discovered that it works best when we all play together doing the same thing. Maggie has to have one on one help all the time and Jack and Mary want to play with me all the time. This really works well for us(with, children working together in homeschool). I suspect we will do this for a while.”

Their kid school is very successful. Their closet is very successful and has helped create a magical learning environment in their home. This mom has done the wise thing. She has incorporated the five rules and she has also thought through what works for her family.

Possibly Related Posts:

{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

Jenny Johnson January 15, 2011 at 4:10 am

The picture of those children brings me a universe of joy!!!


Leave a Comment

Previous post:

Next post: