Navigating Curriculum with Multiple Ages

Working with 3 children varying in age, learning styles and abilities keeps me flexible.  Then add to the mix:  Me. I want the curriculum to match me as well.   As my children progress, there are new challenges and learning curves.
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                                         How do you coordinate all of the learning?!                                      

Keeping up with multiple children…its hard to adjust to the curve balls that come! Different needs, personalities, strengths, weakness and time.  Here is a look at how we play the game. 

 

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While looking for curriculum,  keep in mind which subjects you would like to do as a family and those that you want your child to be able to do independently.  Remember that you will need to be involved  and consider pairing your kids to work together.

Independent Classes

The only way I can work one-on-one with each of my children is to make sure they are able to work on subjects independently.   When I first began to homeschool, I wanted to be involved in ALL of their subjects.  Now, I see the importance of having subjects that they can do each day and learn on their own.  The end goal of homeschooling is to launch  your children.  Giving them independent work is a great first step.

Classes that have worked well for us with our children being independent include:language, handwriting, reading, writing and typing. 
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Helpful hint for math: when beginning with kids above kindergarten, you want to build their math confidence.   If your children could use a dose of confidence, start with math a grade below their level.  You want  them to be independent and its a struggle if they are having difficulty every day.  When you begin with concepts they are familiar with, they will fill in any gaps and be ready for more challenging material later on.    Not all students fall into this category.  However, if you sense your child may crater at the thought of math, be open to starting a year younger.

Please click here to see the post that Brenda, a math friend, wrote covering the different math curricula.  

 

Teacher Involvement

Depending on your children’s age, ability and confidence levels,  you will need to assess your children’s needs for you to be involved in specific subjects.

For us this year, here is how we work fluctuate between teacher directed and independent work. 

For my 5 year old son:

He is a strong self -learner.  He reads with me daily, we go over one page in his phonics book and he takes a short spelling test. I teach him and his sister a math lesson together , and I go over the work in his other books that he needs to accomplish.  I work with him first. Typically the youngest needs the most attention at the beginning of the day.

8 year old daughter:

She is stronger in language arts.  I am with her at the beginning teaching her the math lesson with her brother. The two of them play a math game together while I check on my oldest who is working on math.  After the math game, my daughter works on her independent work while I finish the other subjects with her younger brother.  She also reads with her younger brother and practices piano.

10 year old son:

He is the most independent.  Keep in mind that the oldest is not always the most independent.  He works on math, writing, and language. I monitor his progress along the way.  He is a strong math student.  However if he doesn’t understand a concept he knows that he can skip it until I can come back to him.  Sometimes he is too overwhelmed to skip over it. At those times, I allow him to go to an easier subject until I can help him.   (Math can bring out the worst fears of not being smart enough.  In advance, have the math talk of what to do if you are feeling overwhelmed.  If you have a plan, then its easier to communicate inside of the math  madness).  Before lunch, he needs to complete his independent work and I give him a spelling test.  For my oldest, my role is that of discussing and checking for understanding. 

 

curriculum with multiple ages

 

Math Madness sidenote

On a side note, Math can bring out the worst fears in a child of not being smart enough.  Have the math talk with them periodically.  Let your child know that it is possible they will feel helpless and unable to work on math.    Give them words to tell you, Mom this is hard for me right now.  If you are working with another child, let them know they can talk to you and you will allow them to work on another subject.   If you have a plan, then its easier to communicate inside of the math  meltdown. 

Together Classes

Together classes are the things that we do throughout the day.  We do not do every class listed below everyday.   However, everyday we do Bible. The rest of the classes we do 2-3 times per week.  

P.E.: Family Time Fitness  Perfect for families of all ages.  I know it is an effort to get active.  However, you can choose your activities.   There are a variety of exercises and mini games to play with your children.  Family Time Fitness (Proper noun?  offers free samples Look at their website and see if it might be beneficial for your family.  Learning a new skill or game together can be a fun break for the whole family.  We had a great time with jump rope rhymes, learning how to throw a football, crab crawling and other things around the house. 

Family Bible: PeacemakersTeaching Students to Respond to Conflict God’s Way  by Corlette Sande   Do you have conflict in your home? According to Peacemakers,  a conflict “is a fight between people who think or act differently.” The book provides vocabulary and understanding to resolve conflict and build healthy relationships.   At the beginning of each chapter, there is a story to read and a Scripture to memorize.    Throughout the chapter the story illustrates the point and gives you a way to apply it personally.  A set of student activity/comic books is included.  Amazing resource for all families!

BSF :  Bible Study Fellowship: My two oldest attend BSF weekly with their dad.  They have questions to answer from the book of the BIble that they are studying.  ” BSF believes life’s answers are found in the Bible — helping the next generation get to know and love God and His Word. That’s why BSF offers Bible classes for school-age youth as part of women’s and men’s evening classes.”

Current Events:  God’s World Magazine   Offers different magazines for different ages. Altogether my 3 children read the youngest edition of God’s World Magazine.  My middle child reads the regular print, my oldest reads the adult portion and my youngest listens.   My oldest also reads his age appropriate magazine and completes the mini quizzes   Together we are able to discuss the bigger issues and ideas from around the world.

Science: Apologia is a creation based excellent resource.    We read the textbook together.   There is a JR. notebook and a regular notebook that goes along with the textbook.  The younger book has more coloring and simple writing with fascinating facts & Scripture.  The older notebook has more written work, questions, Try This activities that we all do, but their is a write up for the older students to explain the results.     I copy the coloring pages from junior notebook for our youngest child to color  while I read.

Texas History:  A Gentle Tour Through Texas History by Jodi Guerra.  This book takes you through Texas via good literature.   There are so many great books to bring us into life in the early days.  We especially liked Johnny Texas.  We are enjoying field trips and the books that make Texas history come alive for us.

Music: Hymns for Family Worship – A simple book with  over  62 hymns with  sheet music and the history of the songs.  It is accompanied by a 3 CDs  of instrumental piano music  for each hymn.

 

How a family navigates their day varies, but as you understand the levels of involvement it can make the daunting task of educating possible.

 

More on curriculum in another log post:   “The White House curriculum choices

 

 

 

 

 

 

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