For those teaching history to multiple grade levels, choosing curriculum can be challenging. Do you use separate studies for each child? Or do you choose one study and try to make it work for various ages?
Having the ability to cater your homeschool to your family's needs and desires is one of the top reasons parents choose to homeschool in the first place. And as curriculum developers we understand the need for flexibility in the curriculum we develop. This is one reason why we recommend our courses for a grade range (i.e. K-3) rather than a specific grade. Not every third grade child is alike which is why not every third grader should use the same study.
When teaching multiple grade levels here are 3 tips to help!
1. Evaluate Your Children's Learning Abilities
If you have children who are within three or four grade levels it's typically best to use one study and alter it if necessary.
Not only is this easier for the teacher but we find learning as a group to be rewarding and beneficial in creating space for multiple perspectives on a subject. Working with one study, and customizing it for your children, is often a better approach than jumping back and forth between two different studies. Using one study can also eliminate the possible confusion of studying different time periods.
Note! For those whose oldest is entering junior high, this is a natural transition for when your oldest can, and likely should, begin using their own coursework. The level of reading, advanced vocabulary, and emphasis on writing are all factors that lend themselves to junior high students working independently of their younger siblings.
2. Choose A Study For Your Oldest
This approach is a great solution for families who have multiple grade levels where the oldest is between fourth and eighth grade and younger siblings are spaced out a grade or two below, i.e. 8th, 6th, 4th, or 6th, 4th, and 2nd.
Because the oldest child is most in need of age-appropriate work, as they prepare for high school and beyond, the focus should be on their needs. Choosing a study that fits your oldest child is a way to accomplish that and also include your younger students. The oldest can complete all the coursework as written while readings and assignments can be simplified for younger siblings. Because our studies are designed as read-alouds, children of many different age levels can enjoy books that would normally be either too difficult or simple. Reading aloud is a wonderful way of sharing great stories, and as we all know, the best way to learn history. Parents will have to evaluate whether this approach is a good fit for their children’s needs.
3. Choose A Study That Fits Most, Then Supplement
Going with a study that suits most of your children allows you to use just one study and supplement for maybe an older child that falls outside of the suggested grade range.
This method can work well for those who have multiple children in the K-3rd grade range and maybe an older child in sixth grade, for example. As stated above, reading aloud is a wonderful equalizer in presenting history to children. Older students can learn so much from simple picture books and younger students are better able to comprehend more advanced books than we give them credit. It's one of the many reasons why keeping all your children in one study is so rewarding! In choosing a study that may be too easy for the oldest child, you can use the book recommendations listed in each of our teacher guides to beef up the study while still using the required books with your whole group. Depending on the needs of your oldest you can add age-appropriate writing assignments, copy work, or notebooking to make an easier study a bit more challenging.
If you would like a personalized recommendation for your family we would love to talk!
Call us at 805-439-2725.