What I Learned from a One-Room Schoolhouse

Last school year, my children attended a one-room schoolhouse. 3rd to 8th grade were all in the same classroom. Younger ones were in a separate reading class. School was held three mornings week. I worked as secretary and art teacher in exchange for tuition.

photo credit: Robb North

The opportunity to work in a Principle Approach school was such a blessing! I planned to work there for a long time, but towards the end of the year I realized how much missed teaching my kids. Then we bought a house south east of nowhere. Commuting would not be an option.

I determined to homeschool again implementing some ideas that I knew, but understood differently now that I observed a master teach multiple ages in one classroom.

Consistency counts

One of the most amazing things I witnessed was how much work my kids accomplished just because of consistency. My oldest son completed two years worth of math! The younger kids had notebooks full of work. We had never completed so much in a year.

Do the hard stuff first and keep it simple

I, also, realized that I usually attempted to do too much. By 10:00 a.m., my kids had completed Bible, math, English, and spelling. It sometimes took us two hours to get through Bible and math! After break, they finished up with spelling tests and read literature. The school day was completed at 11:30. They had homework, but I learned something about that, too.

Education really is about character

It is not my job to beg and bribe my kids to complete their work. If they didn’t use their school time wisely, they had more homework. My children learned to work diligently during class. It helped having accountability of a teacher that wasn’t Mom, but I used to wait for everyone to finish. Now I set a time frame for each subject. If the work isn’t completed, they come back to it later.

There is no perfect curriculum

In the one-room school, my younger children used Abeka workbooks for math. I never would have chosen workbooks. That was anti-Principle Approach to me. But, it worked fine. My idealistic view of education has often hindered me from just using what I have available and made lessons more complicated than they needed to be. One idea really is enough.

Modeling is important

My children do what I do. If I am consistent, they will learn to be consistent. If I work hard, they will learn to work hard. If I love learning, they will, too.

Freedom is still why I homeschool 

This school year, I borrowed a friend’s pre-packaged curriculum. My Father’s World, Exploring Countries and Cultures, has a sample schedule much like the schedule my children used last year. The lessons are planned, so I spend more time, actually, teaching and less time making detailed lessons that I can’t get through. I am free to alter the plans to fit our life.

I am free to enjoy this journey.


5 Responses to What I Learned from a One-Room Schoolhouse

  1. I think those are interesting observations. I struggle with consistency for a multitude of reasons I can’t control (and a couple I can.) I think maybe I need to rethink some things. Thanks! :)

  2. Sounds like you learned some great things from that one room school house. Glad you found some curriculum that is working for you too.

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  4. I have to agree with your assessment about freedom being a reason to homeschool. It is one of the many reaons why we do.
    The majority of our curriculum is one that plans the lessons for me, keeps the records. This means that I actually spend more time with my child, teaching or learning, and less time preparing to teach. (We use http://www.Time4Learning.com as our core.) It is very liberating to let someone else do the planning, with the knowledge that I can adapt any lesson plan as we need to.
    As for doing the hard stuff first, sometimes that means we don’t get to the fun stuff. My goal is to make more time for the fun stuff because fun stuff is important, too! Happy homeschooling.

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