Tuesday, April 19, 2011

How Do You Do It? Homeschooling multi-age/grade levels

Trial and error. I come up with some great ideas for school. The day comes and nothing goes as planned. Do I give up? Send them on the big, yellow bus the next day? Sometimes tempting, but no.
Thats the glory of homeschooling. If it doesnt work, try something else, fine tune your idea, change it up!
How it plays out in my head isnt always the reality of my idea, but thats ok. I will try again until we find what works best for our family and learning style.
That can be especially hard when you have different ages and grades.
Currently I am schooling Pre K, K, 6th, 8th, 9th, 10, 11th grades.
Giving up my school room a few years ago so we could have our movie room means we all sit around the dining room table.
Often my kids will ask to do their schoolwork somewhere else, I have found, for us, this isnt a good idea.
We have a better school day, getting more done if we stay together.
So lets take it subject by subject - I always enjoy reading what other people use so I'll share what we're using.
English - Hands-On English. Heres how it works for me - When I read a lesson plan I read to all my kids, all grades. Is my Pre K understanding what a noun really is? Probably not, but he is hearing the word and becoming familiar with it. We read a lesson together and then do the correlating worksheet. I love teaching them something and then following up right away to see if they got it! My grades 6th to 11th do the wksht. This is our grammar.
For my younger grades we also use Explode The Code, worksheets at their level.
For spelling I have Spelling Power, although dont always use it. I keep a list of misspelled words from their work and will use that for their spelling lists.
Handwriting I do up unti about 8th grade. Cursive is included in this.
Reading is also a part of our English program. Our rule has always been, I pick a book and they pick a book, with our year ending in about 9 chapter books read. I have some big readers that read during free time, their reading lists has closer to 20 books.
Book reports and journals are done monthly.
Can you tell this is my favorite subject?
History - Mystery Of History. Love it! Same idea as my English. I read a lesson and follow up with a worksheet or project that pertains to our lesson. The easy part? Its already set up for different grades! After each lesson its broken down for me with a younger, middle and older student work.
Science - I include health in this subject and dont usually group the kids together unless its an experiment. Honestly this is one of those subjects that my kids have taken at our homeschool co-op. I worry about the labs and disecting, just not my thing. What we have used and liked has always been Apologia and Biology 101. Since we are not going back to our co-op next year I'll be looking more for programs like Biology 101, its a DVD based program.
For health we use several different texts, internet and combine them based on what we are currently studying.
Math - Another subject we dont do together, but I do have the older kids help the younger. Its good review for them! We use Math U See and workbooks I pick up for practice, flash cards, money, ect.

Schooling different ages can be hard and not every day goes as planned, but we do have a plan and a goal for each day and the important thing is we try to reach that goal.

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