Group time is a great time to cover topics that can be done with multiple ages such as history, literature, poetry, science, music, geography, languages, art and whatever other topics which interest you and your students.
How Group Time Works (and what didn’t work)
This has been one of my favorite parts of homeschooling- reading to the kids and doing projects all together. We have learned a lot together over the years. After reading to the kids, I ask them questions about what we’ve read and have them do short narrations for me Charlotte Mason style. For History and Science I have had the kids try to keep separate notebooks to record their work. I made some worksheet books for them to fill out. Or I would have them draw a picture while I read about something they were doing. But in practice, we had a really hard time keep track of those notebooks and/or loose papers and we seldom did any writing when it came to group time stuff.
Notebooking Notebook to the rescue
When my kids were younger, for whatever reason they seemed to get a lot more out of group time, but recently it seems to be getting harder and harder to keep my 6 boys’ attention. I came across the idea of notebooking, and I was looking at various notebooking pages I could print. I liked the idea and I could see how it may be very effective for my boys to listen for at least one thing to write about or draw as I read to them. So I printed off some pages and then I took it a step further and created 9×7 blank books filled with notebooking pages and blank pages on Lulu.com (you can see it here).
Writing Practice – Just One Thing To Write About
I told the boys that we will be filling them out this semester. This was our first week using them and so far, I love it!! They can all use more practice writing and spelling and handwriting. As we cover different topics during group time, I tell them what to listen for and that they will need to fill out a page for the topic. They don’t have to record everything we talk about, just one thing. It really helps to keep their attention and I can tell they are listening much better.
Use Them For Field Trips
We also took a field trip this week to St. Malo. I had them write about one thing they learned or observed on the trip, and we reviewed the photos we took. I think it made the experience more meaningful for them.
Use Them For Science, History, Scriptures and Spelling
We did a bunch of science experiments this week also, and they each picked one to write about. And for scriptures, I am having them use one page and just write down one thing each day we read. We have even used the books for spelling tests since there are plenty of blank pages and they have it right there handy- no waiting to find their spelling notebook or a pencil!
Keeps Things Organized
I’m not sure how quickly we will fill them up, but it will be simple to order more. I am really liking having their work all together in one place as well. They also have to put their books on our family room bookshelf when we are done, so they will be easy to find when needed for the next time.
Perfection not Required
As you can see, they are all at different levels. It doesn’t need to be great, the point really is to give them more incentive to listen and learn as we talk about different things and do different things together. I think this is going to make our group time even more effective.