Can you imagine attempting to use 30 or more separate curricula in your homeschool between all of your children? Even a smaller family may be looking using and purchasing 10 different programs to homeschool their children. It’s overwhelming and too much!
While combining children in skill subjects such as math and phonics rarely works, most content subject are able to be combined successfully. In general I’ve found two simple methods to combine children. Combine them in the same curriculum or combine them by studying the same topic.
Using the same curriculum for most or all of your children is the easiest way to combine kids. Many curriculum, such as Tapestry of Grace, Mystery of History, Biblioplan, and Christian Kids Explore Science are meant to be used by a wide range of ages.
My family uses Tapestry of Grace so I’ll use it to demonstrate the benefits of combining children into the same curriculum.
Tapestry of Grace is a unit study which includes literature, writing, history, geography, fine arts, world view, and even government and philosophy for rhetoric students. When I open my week plan for Tapestry, I see the assignments for my 5 and 6 year olds as well as my older children.
For instance this week my kindergartner has no writing assignment. (To be frank, kindergartners are never given a writing assignment.) My 1st grader this week is writing a sentence about John Quincy Adams’ presidency. My 8th grader is starting a report about the settlement of Texas and my 11th grader is beginning a literary analysis paper.
We’re all enjoying a read-aloud about Queen Victoria and will read this book gradually over the remainder of this year.
All my kids are studying the same historical and geographical topic. Literature varies, but I can find the assignments on the same page. Fine arts is also easy to combine by having all the children doing the same projects or reading about the same artist or musician.
My life is easier since I’m not trying to find information on dozens of different topics.
You don’t have to combine children into the same curriculum though. Instead do it yourself by keeping the children studying the same topic. For instance the entire family could study dolphins.
Find each child books on dolphins at their reading level. Assign appropriate writing assignments or simply using notebooking pages for children to show what they’re learning.
My family did this on a larger scale with earth science and astronomy one year. Earth science and astronomy breaks down neatly into four groups: astronomy, geology, meteorology, and oceanography. Each quarter we studied one of the groups.
I found a science program for the younger children spent 8 or 9 weeks on each of the groups and included science experiments. The children and I read from the science program.
My high school teenager was too old for the science program. Instead I found books at the library on each of the 4 topics. He read those and wrote about what he learned. Notebook pages work beautifully for this purpose. Everyone studied the same topic. We did experiments and watched documentaries together. However every child in the family worked at the appropriate level.
Combining kids takes a bit of creativity. However with the appropriate books, notebook pages, or curriculum it’s the perfect solution for a large family.
Do you combine your children for some or all subjects?
Read more posts from the 31 Days to a Well-Run Homeschool series!