I had someone ask me recently about how I teach so many different subjects to so many children of different ages. I had to think about that for a moment. I have been educating my children since the day my firstborn was born. It's not like I pulled all ten (school age) children out of school one day and began "teaching them school". I have just spent nearly every day of their lives living and learning with them.
After some thought, I answered that the only subjects I teach separately are math and reading. All other subjects (history, science, cooking, music appreciation) are studied as a group, each child learning what they are ready for. And once a child can read independently, I am done on that front. As far as how I teach a subject to multi-age children, let me show you how a typical week of history plays out.
We started volume three of Story of the World this year. On Monday, I read the chapter aloud, while the children color the corresponding picture. Now that my "little ones" are older, they often sit at the table and join us. Everyone from Keziah (16) to Kalina (7) is required to be there, and usually Jubilee (5) and Hezekiah (4) choose to join us. After I read, I ask the questions provided in the activity guide. Then I have the children write about what I have read. As soon as they are finished, I check them over, and they correct any grammatical or spelling errors. One child may write two pages, one two sentences and another simply copy related words off the dry erase board.
The next day we will read books relating to the chapter we read (Story of the World provides suggestions in the activity book, and I order these from our local library), and the older children will do the corresponding map work (to learn geography and following directions). Throughout the week we will continue to read books from that time period, and almost always do some type of fun project. All of the younger children participate in the read alouds and projects. Each child picks up information this way. It's amazing what even the younger children pick up this way. Remember Tucker's use of the word "transparent"?
We saw several examples of this multi-age learning when we met a local police officer yesterday morning.
Jubilee in the back of a cruiser
Keziah (16) asked some great, thoughtful questions (how old do you have to be to become a police officer? How long do you have to go to school?)
The middle age children asked about police dogs, how fast the cruiser could go, what were the scariest calls she went on.
And even the youngest ones asked some great questions.
Hezekiah (4) raised his hand and asked:
"What should I do if I see a man with a gun in the middle of the road, and he's not a police officer?"
And even Tucker (3) learned something yesterday. At dinner last night he said,
"Mama, police officers brush their own teeth...right?"
So see, every child will pick up some new piece of information along the way.