Structuring a home education for a ten-year-old: your ten-year-old and MY ten-year-old aren’t the same.
In fact, I’ve had four ten-year-olds living in the same family, and they aren’t the same either.
So take my suggestions with a grain of salt, but gather ideas.
You can’t teach the same way to each child. They’re different. Your goal is to tailor an education for each of your kids differently.
I’d like to introduce a case study, my ten year old.
“If you have good thoughts, they will shine out of your face like sunbeams and you will always look lovely.”Roald Dahl
This ten year old gal has a warm smile with dimples: the kind of face people say is cute.
She’s heard it so often she doesn’t like to hear it. But there really is something about her that epitomizes cute.
She is fun.
(It goes with the smile.) She’ll make a game, a cheer, or a song out of everything. Why do something without a party?
You have no energy to spare? A little too tired? She’s got enough energy for all of you. She’s a fun one, so why work, when you can part-ay?
She is stylin’ and she is creative.
She found a pink leopard print duct tape somewhere and it found its way all over her room in unconventional, yet cleverly-styled ways…a frame around the Selena Gomez poster, on her night table pull, anywhere and everywhere.
Left to her own devices, she’ll knit or paint her nails with her nail studio kit, she’ll prepare her room as a spa, and charge dollar massages (I won’t tell her that she’s undercharging).
She is whip smart.
Her kind of smartness translates into the logic and math world: her favourite is strategy games, but though she’s played chess for some time, she’d rather play poker, Bang, or Stratego.
I wasn’t expecting to see writing smarts along with math smarts, but she can zip off a cinquain as quickly as her older sisters. She taught herself to whole word read when she was three.
She likes to learn with others.
She’s not the kind of kid that wants to take the book to her room and read by herself. She likes groups. Even more, she loves an audience. When she performs experiments, she loves to explain the process to her younger brother.
She’s got her own YouTube channel and makes her own videos: how-to videos on everything from decorating her room to Rainbow Loom tutorials to make up explanations.
She’s a salesgirl, a lawyer, an ad exec.
A charmer. Warm and vivacious. Her goal is to make you happy, and herself too.
Things I’ve learned about teaching this ten year old…
Group work was meant for some kiddos, like this kiddo.
She wants to be a contributor. She enjoys the energy of working together. Which means I need to incorporate spelling games into spelling. Poetry turns into a poetry party, everyone sharing their ideas.
It means my nine-year-old teaches my six-year-old science with her chemistry science kit — yikes!
Rewards and consequences motivate her, but self-directed learning is the most motivating.
Some kids are internally motivated for their own satisfaction. And some aren’t.
One of the easiest ways to reward is to rotate between the challenging stuff and the fun stuff. Switching back and forth between harder study tasks and easy ones works better with this kiddo. Switching from individual work to group work is useful too. “You need to get these things done before we go to youth group” motivates.
Just cause she’s four years younger doesn’t mean she can’t engage the same things.
Often I’m asked how I can combine subjects like history or current affairs with all four kiddos.
Easy: sit in the same room, read to them, then discuss the reading with them. Simple. But how do I differentiate the grades? I don’t. What would be the reason? My nine-year-old can grapple with much more than a conventional grade four curriculum. A fourteen-year-old brain isn’t light-years from the nine-year-old. Each of them learns things at their level.
Expecting them to read an equivalent age or write the same numbers of words in an essay is unrealistic. They’re all different.
Just because she’s extroverted doesn’t mean she doesn’t need downtime.
Probably one of the main disadvantages of a schooled education is that we prescribe every moment of their day and keep them busy at all times.
The quote, we are human beings, not human doings. If we want them to process their worlds, they need to experience solitude, explore and create, entirely unprompted by their parents, peers, or screens.
Even this extroverted kiddo is a kinder, more contented kiddo when she has personal space each day.