Many of you have been following our homeschooling series and have asked about how I homeschool different grade levels and the curriculum we use. This is how I balance the different ages and grade levesl as well as a full curriculum haul.
Homeschooling in general can be hard to balance, but having different ages and different grade levels is all about finding balance. Those of you following along know that FIRST we begin each morning with a pow-wow to discuss daily tasks. When you start with a group Pow-wow, everyone has a chance to communicate what they have on their personal school tasks as well as what time the group lessons are at and other responsibilities. From there, we split up to do work & try to follow the time schedule of the day. The older kids work mostly independently, and the younger kids need a little more guidance.
At designated times of the day we have group subjects that apply to all ages. These subjects can be science, history, religion, business, art, etc. Here are a few of our favorite group subjects that we use.
Scripture Study: The first subject we start with every morning is family scripture study. We use a curriculum set forth by our church called Come Follow Me. The older kids go to Seminary each morning where they study the scriptures deeper.
History: We love The Good and The Beautiful curriculum and among other subjects, we use them for history. I love how well laid out their lessons are. I also like that they provide different worksheets for different grade levels. We also like Libraries of Hope/Well Educated Heart. This year we are studying US History and we are reading aloud from the Freedom Series.
Science: For science, we use The Good and the Beautiful Science units. We are currently studying Maturation as well as Anatomy. We also do interest led learning where a child will dive deeper into a particular subject that they are interested in. Once a week we will do science experiments.
Throughout the day each child has time set aside to work on individual subjects. I will help certain children at scheduled times, to make sure I get enough time with each child that needs it. Language Arts and Math are the main subjects each student does individually. We do add on other subjects that they are interested in that maybe the whole group doesn't do; foreign languages, sciences, business, etc. Here are a few of our favorite subjects and what we use.
Language Arts: All of our children use The Good and the Beautiful Language Arts as they have it from pre-k all the way to high school. If you are transitioning to homeschool this is a great program to start with because like history lessons, everything is laid out for you and there is little to no prep.
Math: Our younger kids use The Good and the Beautiful Math while our older kids use the Life of Fred. Life of Fred teaches math through story and it covers elementary math to high school math. Wyatt, who is our math whiz uses Lessons for a living education. I like that it is straightforward, reviews concepts that they have learned, and introduces new concepts. It does not follow common core, which I like.
Handwriting: For handwriting, we do 3 books a year. They do a review from last year, their current level, and the next level. I feel handwriting is very important, so we really emphasize it in our homeschool curriculum. We use both The Good and the Beautiful and Handwriting without Tears for our handwriting curriculum.
Electives: We encourage our children to pursue their interests and for that reason, we have included some electives into our homeschool curriculum.
Art: For art, I found Waldorfish, an online class. Each lesson has a couple of videos to help you learn each new concept. It teaches technique, correct art terms, etc. It also has a list of materials needed so that you know exactly what to get.
Animation Shae is interested in Animation and he is learning that through Khan Academy. Khan Academy is a great FREE resource for many subjects including language, math, science, history, economics, etc.
Personal Finance: We feel it's important for our children to learn life skills so that they can be well equipped when we send them out into the real world. We feel finance is an important life skill so our high school kids are taking Dave Ramsey's Foundations in Personal Finance course.
Business: Our highschool kiddos also take business courses. This course is curated by Jase and me. We will typically have them read a business or leadership book and write an essay on it. We ask them specific questions about what they've learned and how it applies to their own businesses.
Foreign Language: We have a few kids interested in learning a foreign language and for that we use Duolingo.
*We ask that before our children start on an elective course they finish their core subjects first.
I hope this homeschool curriculum haul was helpful for you as you make plans for how to teach multiple grade levels and which curriculum to use. As always, do what works for your family. Don't be afraid to change the curriculum if you find that a certain one isn't working for your child. You know their needs best.
If you want to see how we set up our homeschool classroom, check out this post.