Homeschooling Inspired by the One Room Schoolhouse


The one room schoolhouse of the past has some lessons that we can use as homeschool moms today. Kym shares some of those ideas in this post.

Homeschooling has given me a new appreciation for the management skills of teachers back in the one-room schoolhouse days! These teachers were often young women who were tasked with teaching and keeping order in a classroom of up to forty students, from first grade through eighth grade. While the class size most homeschool moms deal with is perhaps three or four students, we do have to manage different ages and grades.

Lessons from the One Room Schoolhouse

Can we take a page from the one-room schoolhouse lesson planner to help us manage multiple ages in our homeschool?

  • All ages can learn some things together. History, Geography, Art, Music Appreciation, and Bible are some of the subjects in which it often works well to have all your students together. Discuss or read aloud some of the History text while little ones color a related picture and older ones take notes or follow along. Older kids can do further reading or writing assignments on their own. All students can do map work or art projects together, although the level of detail or skill would vary. Listening to music together and discussing your impressions can be insightful and entertaining for all. And of course the Bible speaks to all ages, so a family Bible study can be a wonderful way to start your homeschool morning.
  • Older students can help teach younger students. Divide and conquer! If you’ve got an older student that doesn’t mind and is capable, perhaps he can take a turn reading with little sister or helping little brother with arithmetic. Do be careful to keep your expectations in balance and realistic, but it is certainly okay to make homeschooling a cooperative venture.
  • Younger students can listen in on lessons for older students. In those one room schoolhouses, students that were finished their own work usually had to sit quietly while the teacher worked with another group. First and second graders likely learned a lot by listening to the sixth and seventh graders recite their lessons or practice spelling. Little ones in your home may not understand everything, but they may pick up more than you think by doodling or playing with quiet toys while you and the older kids are reading aloud or discussing a history or science lesson.

In our own homeschool, we tried to combine lessons whenever practical, and most years at least two of my students worked together in Science and History. Sometimes three or all four of mine were working together in those subjects, and even if it was just the oldest two of the group, the younger ones were often in the same room drawing or playing. There were plenty of times those younger students surprised me with how much they had been paying attention!

Do you combine classes for kids of different ages like a one room schoolhouse? How do you manage?

Leave a comment and let us know!


You might also like to read:

How to Create a Delightful Learning Atmosphere in your Home

Homeschooling with Unit Studies

How to Plan a Tea Party Unit Study




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