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  1. #1

    Default typical "lesson" for your family?

    I am starting to see how lessons with my 11 year old will go, as we're slowly working our way through some science together in the mornings. I know that some of what I'm finding will be unique to my son (the way he can connect almost anything I mention to either Minecraft or Pokemon, for example). But I'm wondering what a typical "lesson" looks like for other homeschooling families.

    I know unschooling is very different and doesn't have this kind of lesson structure, so I guess my question is more for those who are doing a somewhat more traditional/structured approach. What do you typically do with your kids when you're introducing a new topic, how do you do a lecture or other face-to-face teaching?

    Ours are so far less lecture, more seminar? I guess? It's much more of a back-and-forth as I introduce a topic to my son, give him a starting point, and then we discuss what he already knows. I might read a short excerpt, or he'll read a bit, then we talk over what was just read. I try to ask more questions and elicit his answers, rather than speaking as the voice of unquestionable authority. Plus of course we're mixing in lab/experiment days where there's more hands-on activity and it's about what he's observing and discovering for himself - I'm just there as a guide.

    I'm just wondering what methods other people find helpful, because I'm open to changing things up if there's other ways to try. The downside to the give and take of our work so far is that my highly-distractible son often REALLY wants to talk about, well, anything other than our lesson topic. When it's an educational thing, I will happily follow his train of thought and go in a different direction! But when a bit of information about the extreme heat of the universe half a million years after the Big Bang makes him think of a Pokemon and suddenly he's chattering a mile a minute about how Pokemon battles would go if HE were in charge of setting the rules... eh. That's a different story.

    I guess what I'm mostly asking is, when you're teaching your kids, what does that direct instruction look like?


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  3. #2


    (As a Pokemoner myself, who spent the weekend from 10-8 trapped in a car as DS14 and I did “social distanced Go Fest”, I totally understand why you would rather chew off your arms than endure speculation on “if I ran the zoo” pokemon rules.)

    The way youre doing it sounds very socratic, and when he stays on topic, would work great. You might make a list of the topics you want to cover, and when the sidetrack loses its educational value, you can gently direct it back to that. “Son, how bout if you cross off that we have discussed hot space, and next is Even Hotter Space. Once we get through this list, you can play.”

    Also, for what its worth, we are big HermitCraft fans here, and we play a lot of Minecraft, and the conversations the boys have versus the conversations the parents have are pretty different. Even being interested in the same games doesnt lead to great discussions and beig able to relate.

    Ive tried making Minecraft sort of educational, and havent succeeded. We have built castles and replicated architecture from bygone eras, we have researched the real life biomes and materials the game is based on, and its.... meh, a stretch.

    If your son would like to join my sons discord and minecraft server, I could share that info with you. (Its a private group, schoolmates and younger siblings and neighbors and neighbors cousins.)
    Homeschooling DS13, DS6.


    My spelling was fine, then my brain left me.

  4. #3


    I am a former teacher, but I had to ditch the "sage on the stage" approach pretty quickly, even when my kids were young (around 8 yo). I found the Socratic method to work best with my kids as well. Had discussions, not lectures. Even with math, I'd set them up with an example problem, then have THEM talk me through it. I still do this when I tutor high school and college students. It think by talking about things, students are better able to retain and learn.

    Homeschooled two kids for 11 years, now trying to pay it forward

    Daughter -- a University of Iowa graduate: BA in English with Creative Writing, BA in Journalism, and a minor in Gender, Women & Sexuality Studies

    Son -- a Purdue University graduate: BS in Computer Science, minor in math, geology, anthropology, and history

  5. #4


    Yes, I agree that talking about it seems to work best. Have you thought about turning it around and asking him if Pokeman were on the sun, how would that change things or how would lack of gravity impact Pokeman. Integrating what they are interested into the lesson might help.

  6. #5
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    Feb 2012


    I do the same thing you are doing right now, lots of discussion. Sometimes when the off topic topics keep coming up, we'll start a brain dump list, a place to write down all the things they want to talk about after the task is over.
    DS 15, DD 13
    Year 9

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typical "lesson" for your family?