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Teaching All Ages Together? Tapesty of Grace/Biblioplan?


faiths13
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HI! I have been hs'ing 4 years and now my youngest two are going to be 5 & 7, and my oldest that I am hs'ing will be in 8th. I have never hs'ing them all together because they youngest were too young. Well the youngest was too young to even sit still until recently, lol. I am now wondering if it is possibly to do hs with them all together. Is it something that can really work with such a wide age range? Is it even a good idea? I have looked into programs such as Tapestry of Grace and Biblioplan and Im wondering if those programs really work for all ages together. Last year we did Heart of Dakota, which I liked, but I felt I could only concentrate on my 1st grader and didn't have much time for my older kids. I really want to feel like we can be together as a family during school. The other thing I thought of was more of a unit study approach. Thanks!

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It depends what you mean by "together."

One way you can have some together time is to do Circle TIme, or Morning TIme, which is 30+ minutes of things such as:

*monthly hymn to sing together

*monthly poem to learn together (or a couple different ones for the various ages)

*other memory work such as scripture, times tables, grammar etc.

*read-aloud, which can be one for everyone, or a few for different ages; you can do alternate days for younger vs. older reading levels, or you can read a book for the older kids and excuse the youngers to play, or you can read for the youngest first, and excuse them for the older kids' readings (the oldest stays for them all, which he may enjoy, or he may be antsy to start his independent work)

 

I did this last year when I had 8th, 2nd and pre-K. The main difficulty was that the 8th grader felt anxious to start her work and didn't really want to be part of it.

 

With TOG you still have separate reading and work for each level, but when you're all on the same time period, you feel like you're in it together. Or so they say, as I've never done it w/multiple ages.

 

Our age spread of kids is similar. I have found it best to schedule individual time w/my oldest hs'ed kid, rather than try to incorporate her into the little kids' day.  She (15yo, 9th grade) is doing TOG so we do a weekly discussion time and go out to lunch on Fridays, when the 3 little ones go to all-day Friday school. But it could also be done on Saturday, or in the evening at Starbucks. Her school is separate from the 3 littles. I do circle time w/them so they're together for that.

 

 

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Thanks! I didn't think of the fact the kids would have separate reading. I've always had this ideal in my head of us all sitting around together doing a read aloud for history or something, and enjoying it. But they are on pretty different levels.

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What do you mean by all together?

I can't imagine doing exactly the same work for a 5 year old and a teenager. At the very least, you would need to seriously tweak output and expectations, literature and assigned reading, and do separate grammar, writing, and maths.

Once your older hits high school, I can't see it working at all, really. If she/he has plans to go to college, he'll need specific credits in specific areas, and I'm not sure it would be advisable to drag a very young elementary aged student along for the ride, kwim?

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We just started our fourth year of using TOG for my kids (grades 9, 5, 1 and baby), and I have found it to be wonderful! A few ways I see the "togetherness" of TOG across a broad span of ages:

 

My oldest, brand-new high schooler does her own work, but also loves to pitch in on any project we are working on. Rather than assigning a project per kid, we do a family project. It is geared mostly to the elementary kids, but my oldest can "get her hands dirty" if she wants (which is most of the time). :)

 

TOG has a read-aloud that you can do as a family (I pick and choose which books we use for this), as well as the map work. The map assignments so far are very similar for the different levels, so we can work together on these, too. My 9th grader then will add the additional landmarks/cities/boundaries to her map at the end, as well as complete any additional maps she has been assigned.

 

They are all preparing for the Unit Celebration we will have - each with individual papers or artwork or extra projects (depending on the age) - they are working together yet separately, if that makes sense.

 

Finally, just being able to discuss the time period together has been invaluable! They love to "teach" Dad at the dinner table. My oldest has a flair for the dramatic and still loves to play with her siblings (oh, may that continue :laugh: ), so I see bits and pieces of recreated history appearing in their imaginary play. I can't imagine that happening as much if they were all studying different periods of time!

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That sounds wonderful!

Do you tailor the writing assignments and reading assignments/expectations to the different levels?

We just started our fourth year of using TOG for my kids (grades 9, 5, 1 and baby), and I have found it to be wonderful! A few ways I see the "togetherness" of TOG across a broad span of ages:

 

My oldest, brand-new high schooler does her own work, but also loves to pitch in on any project we are working on. Rather than assigning a project per kid, we do a family project. It is geared mostly to the elementary kids, but my oldest can "get her hands dirty" if she wants (which is most of the time). :)

 

TOG has a read-aloud that you can do as a family (I pick and choose which books we use for this), as well as the map work. The map assignments so far are very similar for the different levels, so we can work together on these, too. My 9th grader then will add the additional landmarks/cities/boundaries to her map at the end, as well as complete any additional maps she has been assigned.

 

They are all preparing for the Unit Celebration we will have - each with individual papers or artwork or extra projects (depending on the age) - they are working together yet separately, if that makes sense.

 

Finally, just being able to discuss the time period together has been invaluable! They love to "teach" Dad at the dinner table. My oldest has a flair for the dramatic and still loves to play with her siblings (oh, may that continue :laugh: ), so I see bits and pieces of recreated history appearing in their imaginary play. I can't imagine that happening as much if they were all studying different periods of time!

 

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That sounds wonderful!

Do you tailor the writing assignments and reading assignments/expectations to the different levels?

 

Yes, the reading and writing is all individualized to their level - we pretty much follow TOG's Lower Grammar, Upper Grammar, Dialectic, and Rhetoric book suggestions. My oldest has MUCH more reading, true essays, more questions, and a longer discussion time each week. I consider math, phonics, and handwriting to be the most important for my first grader and treat TOG as "less formal" school, so we dabble in it but don't stress about what we don't get done.  For my fifth grader, we are loosely following Writing Aids. Regarding his literature - he was my reluctant reader, but has absolutely discovered a love of reading thanks to the good books TOG suggests. Even some I thought he would hate (A Little Princess, for example), he ended up enjoying! Even though the main character was a GIRL, lol!

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I find TOG and BP to be not-so-great for your younger two ages, and as the others mentioned, they are all reading different things, so the togetherness has to do with studying the same time period. If you want to be reading the same spine, you could try MFW for a year, and just tailor the lit and extra history reading expectations to match your different ages.

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Even though you still have to tailor something like TOG, or CC like we use, I still like that all the kids are studying the same thing in a couple subjects. Even that little bit of simplifying helps me.

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