Differentiating Homeschool Lessons
“Differentiation consists of the efforts of teachers to respond to variance among learners in the classroom.”– Carol Ann Tomlinson. I like this definition from- Readingrockets.org. This month, I want to explain differentiation in a little more detail and provide examples of how you can differentiate homeschool lessons to help you and your child become more successful at learning.
What is Differentiation?
Another way to describe differentiation would be a teacher who implements a variety of different ways to teach a subject to make sure the needs of their students are met. In classrooms, a teacher will have a variety of different learners in their classroom. Some learners are visual, some are auditory, others are kinesthetic, and then there are reading and writing learners. Teachers need to know how to differentiate instruction to make sure all the learners in the classroom are having their educational needs met. Homeschooling is the same. Whether you are homeschooling one child or more, knowing some differentiation teaching strategies will help you to be able to better educate your child.
Four Ways To Differentiate
Content is what the student needs to learn. For example, you want to teach your three children to read. They all have different reading abilities. You would give them each a book at their reading level. If one child wasn’t ready to read, you could differentiate content with that child by working on pre-reading skills, such as holding the book correctly and turning the pages.
The process is the activities the student participates in to learn the concept. In math, you can differentiate the level of support the child needs. For example, if each of your kids is learning math, one child might learn the concept better with a ten-frame, another with counters, and the other can do the math in their head. A new example that I love is a fellow student in my Educational Psychology class who told me she is teaching a student beginning multiplication arrays with marshmallows and at the end of the lesson she gets a few marshmallows as a treat.
Products are how students apply what they have learned. I want to use reading comprehension for this example, and I have made 3 videos to show how I differentiated instruction for each of my boys for the same book. I wanted to read Happy Valentine’s Day, Mouse with the boys. This is from one of my favorite series. We read them for every holiday. For Ben and George, I read the book for them. Davyd read it to me with assistance. George answered questions with picture cards to show understanding. Benjamyn used his AAC device to answer questions. For Davyd, I gave him a worksheet, covered the answer, and helped him find the page in the book. He wrote the answer. I made these choices based on their abilities.
The learning environment is where the child learns. For some activities, if it makes your child comfortable, you can work on the floor. Teach science outside for a practical experience. Teach math with cooking. When I was in a classroom, I had students come to my teacher’s table, except one. I went to his special area. He had high anxiety and liked his cozy sensory space. We did our learning there. When your child is comfortable and relaxed, they will take more in.
Every classroom requires differentiation for learning. I wanted to provide this explanation to homeschool parents because I know sometimes, we all need a little guidance. If your child does not understand a concept, please do not give up. Just try a different idea. The Reading Rockets link I posted before, and I will add it again HERE has more great examples. You can always add comments to any of my blog posts if you have questions or would like me to do a post on something you might be struggling with. That is what I do!
- Differentiating Homeschool Lessons - January 30, 2024
- Leading Language Arts Homeschool Lessons with The Leveled Daily Curriculum: Part Two - December 29, 2023
- Leading Language Arts Homeschool Lessons with The Leveled Daily Curriculum: Part One - November 30, 2023