This past week has been a very relaxed learning week (I really needed a small break) but one thing that I realized was how much the kids were actually learning from the each other’s projects. What do I mean ?
My daughter is working on multiple History projects, all self-initiated, she loves it, she is creating timelines, writing stories, researching Kings and Queens and really it seems to be her whole learning world at the moment. Her brother is not interested in his sister’s History project and I have not pushed it as I honestly feel for an eight-year-old he is actually learning quite a lot of History in his own way (we have been using short Historical readers with him) and I have instead left him to read about the animals that he loves. After reading a few books he somehow started on a shark / whale theme – not entirely sure how he got there but anyway he did. His way of learning is also different to his sisters, he likes to draw pictures about the topics that he is learning and then labels them and creates games about the animals and their habitats.
So 2 very different learning projects and 2 very different learning styles. But the kids tend to do their projects in close proximity of each other. They have 2 desks that face each other and they often work away and chat to each other while they are writing or drawing OR they sit at our kitchen table and again they work and chat. (Sorry not the best picture but I don’t have that many as I tend to take close-up photos of what they are doing).
So although they are working on very different topics they are aware of what the other one is doing. And they do join in for quick bursts, if they hear something that interests them – but really it is just a few minutes of a quick read or a quick question and then they go back to their own project.
But this past week I realized that although they are working on very separate projects they really are sponging off each other.
Someone else casually made a comment about Bloody Mary which was incorrect they actually meant Mary, Queen of Scots. And it was my son who actually picked up the error and then explained the two different characters and where they fitted in on a timeline. And he got it 100% correct. The child who is NOT doing the history project had actually picked up and retained information from his siblings project. I was really surprised so later on I asked him a few detailed questions and he kept answering me correctly. He then summarized it like this “When I get to sit and work on my animal drawings I am happy so I listen to what you and my sister are talking about in a happy mood and what I hear sticks.”
And just to prove his point the following day his sister explained the differences in types of sharks to me – The History girl had in fact picked up the Shark Facts that her brother was learning.
Now I must admit I did not expect this. In the past we have always worked on projects together and I liked it that way. I liked to be able to say both kids have covered x topic and then move on. But the kids are getting older and their areas of interest are getting more and more defined. It has been something that I was feeling unsure of, as I want to encourage them in the areas that they find fascinating but I also want them to have a good wide base of knowledge.
But after this past week we are going to continue with our seperate projects. We will still work close together because, well – space is limited and we just have to, so I am hoping that the sponging off each other’s interests will continue.
Note – the British Monarch printouts in the photos are above are from Twinkl Resources it is the British Monarchs Timeline set