I have always liked the idea of doing our topics in order, for me that makes sense. And I always want to finish off a topic 100% and tie it up with a neat bow before we start the next topic. So I want to finish looking at Reptiles before we move onto Sharks or I want to finish with Tudors before we start looking at the Battle of Hastings.
But the truth is, that is just not how my kids work. My daughter often has 4 or 5 books that she is reading at the same time (currently a book about Elizabeth II, an Anglo-Saxon fictional story, a library book, the Railway children and a book on Tudors). And she switches between them without batting an eyelid and never gets the books mixed up. She just likes it like that. And I am noticing the more that she is driving her own learning topics the more she is doing the exact same thing in her learning.
We are still working on some Tudor activities (no neat bow yet) and even though she loves the Tudors – she recently told me that History should not be considered a subject because it is just so fascinating – she is still branching off and reading up about other Historical periods/ people. Over the weekend she started talking to her dad about the battle of Hastings which lead to a whole morning of the two of them researching different Anglo-Saxon rulers and where everyone came from. She loved it. But I must admit there is this part of me that wants to say “Wait lets finish the Tudors before we start something new.” And a few years ago I probably would have been a bit irritated that her dad encouraged the new topic when he knows we are still working on a different History topic (really doesn’t he know we need to wrap a neat bow around it and pack it away before he can start them on something new ???)
But the amazing thing is she never once got mixed up or confused. She totally gets the difference. For her there is no need to only learn about only 1 History topic at a time. She is driving the learning, fascinated by it and just soaking it up.
And it is exactly the same with my son he is doing crazy in-depth learning about Reptiles and Sharks at the same time, and switches between them almost mid-sentence without a thought.
Why did I assume that we had to only work on 1 topic per subject at a time ? Not sure, maybe that is from my school days ? Maybe that is just the way I like to work ? Really not sure. But when it comes to subjects that the kids are interested in they are both capable of learning about multiple topics at the same time without getting confused.
So time to forget about those expectations and those neat bows. Afterall they were really just about what suited me and really had nothing to do with facilitating/ encouraging learning.
FYI – for those interested the book in the photo is the Usborne History of Britain Tudors and Stuarts book and the Battle of Hastings booklet is from the Oaka Books topic pack for KS3 ages.