Go-along. What a great expression! But, when I first started homeschooling, I had no idea what it meant. (Privately, I imagined things like baby blankets, footsie-pajamas, and outdoor survival tools.) I really had no clue. Go along with what?
Sheepishly, I typed a question onto a homeschooling Q&A board. Was I ever glad I did! What I learned was an idea that I ended up applying for the next 20 years. Perhaps you can use this, too.
A go-along is anything that “goes along” with something else. In the homeschool community, it refers to a book, material, toy, game, web site, craft, science experiment, field trip or ANY resource or activity designed to compliment, supplement, or basically “Go Along” with something else you’re teaching or studying.
For instance, if your children are learning about the season of WINTER, go-alongs might include things having to do with winter — or seasons, or snow, or cold places, or snowflakes, or anything at all!
Book go-alongs for winter might include:
The Snowy Day by Ezra Jack Keats
Mr. Popper’s Penguins by Richard and Florence Atwater
Katy and the Big Snow by Virginia Lee Burton
The Bravest Dog Ever: The Story of Balto by Natalie Standiford and Donald Cook
Winter board games might include:
Related winter activities could be:
- Cutting snowflakes
- Making artificial snow
- Freezing water into shapes
- Melting ice with salt
- Making ice cream
- Studying Antarctica or discovering cold places on a globe
- Drawing polar bears
- Looking at water droplets under a microscope
- Baking snow-covered cupcakes
- Making snow globes
- Learning about the Winter Olympics
- Watching “March of the Penguins” on DVD
…and so on.
The nice thing about go-alongs is that they allow children to extend learning way beyond the primary lesson you have planned. Keep adding go-alongs — or allow children to choose them – until (a) they’ve had their fill; or, (b) you have exhausted the time you planned for the unit.
Remember go-alongs as you teach, and as your students learn. Keep eyes and ears constantly open for opportunities to form learning relationships, bridge learning gaps, and make additional connections for your children. Expose them to many different resources, too, allowing them to make connections on their own, too.
Children gather facts and information, investigate topics of interest, and apply what they have learned in many different ways. Go-alongs help make it possible — and super easy!