Older Students Helping Younger Students

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The Mutual Benefit of Older Students Helping Younger Students

When I first began homeschooling more than just my own daughter, I had other parents to contend with. It was tricky to sell some of my unusual ideas to parents who were paying me to homeschool their kids. When I started having older students help younger students, I had to hold an impromptu meeting with bewildered parents who thought I was sitting around, collecting tuition and snacking on bon-bons all day while their kids were too busy to learn their own subjects because I had them teaching the younger students!   What my other parents didn’t realize was that “teaching” helps the majority of different learning types master the subject.

I am going to let you in on this wonderful secret! Both the younger and the older student benefit and learn from each other when older students are allowed to “teach” or help younger students.

Let’s back up a little bit and look at an example. Have you ever helped someone else learn to use their own new phone? Do you remember your confidence boost? You felt more proficient with your own phone after that tutorial. Maybe you have a recipe and needed to look at that card every single time you made it. But when your sister-in-law asked how you made it and you “taught” her what to do, the next time you made this recipe you didn’t need the card anymore. This happens for me all the time. I look for people to discuss herbs, educational methods, and child rearing with because talking about it and explaining myself intrinsically helps me remember the details of the article I was referencing or the facts surrounding the healing properties of a particular herb.

Cash in on this wonderful God given gift and allow your older students fine tune their spelling, grammar, math, or history facts by letting them be the teacher for one of your younger children. Free up some time for you to sit reading with a son, playing a learning game with a daughter, or to just get that next load of laundry into the washing machine. Keep your schooling home running like a well oiled machine, using a secret learning ingredient that is a mutual benefit to both the older and younger student. Watch your children become less self-absorbed (yeah, most of them are during the growing up years – especially in this society) and more interested in helping a sibling learn his math facts, or a sister learn her spelling rules. Your older student might notice how well they retain the information and lessons they help their siblings with and may offer help before you even ask.

Curriculum is a great investment – but you do not have to be the facilitator of all lessons. Give your older students the gifts of mastery in various subjects by letting them “teach” or help your younger students.

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