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LAmom

If you have multiple kids: combine or keep separate?

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This is for history, literature, etc. I am wanting to know what you have found to work best. Some combine with things like MFW, TOG, SOTW, etc., and others have each kid do their own thing. Then there is really another option of things like HOD and Sonlight where you could combine some but be running different teacher's guides.

 

So what do you prefer? I am finding it is actually hard to combine. Or I am making it hard. If you do each his own, what do you use?

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I am planning to Wayfarers this summer or fall depending on when it comes our and how fast I can gather the books.  My plan right now is to have my oldest two read at least the books that are meant for grammar and dialectic by themselves and I may read the ones just for dialectic to them.  I will read to my grammar stage kiddos the books for grammar stage and the Pathways books to my K'er and preschooler.  If I get pressed for time I will have my oldest two also read the dialectic books on their own and I will read them on my own so we can at least talk about them.  So in a way we will all be on the same page but not dependent on doing all the readings together.  This is also how the author of Wayfarers does it.  It can be found at barefootmeandering.com

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I've combined a great deal in the past, but as they get older I'm finding it's easier to give them their own work. 

 

 

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This is for history, literature, etc. I am wanting to know what you have found to work best. Some combine with things like MFW, TOG, SOTW, etc., and others have each kid do their own thing. Then there is really another option of things like HOD and Sonlight where you could combine some but be running different teacher's guides.

 

So what do you prefer? I am finding it is actually hard to combine. Or I am making it hard. If you do each his own, what do you use?

 

One of the best things about homeschooling is that our children can learn many things together. The saddest thing to me would be to have my dc sitting at the table doing every day just like school. :-(

 

Math skills and English skills usually need to be done individually, but everything else, I prefer to have my children doing together as much as possible.

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One of the best things about homeschooling is that our children can learn many things together. The saddest thing to me would be to have my dc sitting at the table doing every day just like school. :-(

 

Math skills and English skills usually need to be done individually, but everything else, I prefer to have my children doing together as much as possible.

 

Subjects my children do separately certainly don't turn my house into a traditional classroom. We end up all being interested in the best of each person's assignments. 

 

I have done a lot of combining in the past, but like a previous poster, I am finding it is working less well as they get older. They want more tasks that they can take initiative on rather than waiting for mom. My younger ones want to engage with the material without being overshadowed by an older, more knowledgeable sibling. I am looking at switching to Moving Beyond the Page with my older two next year. Their ages both fall into the range for one level, but it is obvious to me that that level isn't the best fit for either of them. Rather than compromise, I intend to order the level above and below the compromise option so that they both have a perfect fit. I believe we will all enjoy things more with this plan.

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One of the best things about homeschooling is that our children can learn many things together. The saddest thing to me would be to have my dc sitting at the table doing every day just like school. :-(

 

Math skills and English skills usually need to be done individually, but everything else, I prefer to have my children doing together as much as possible.

 

 

We have done a lot together on the couch in the past, but mine are outgrowing this.

 

Individual work here looks like tucking a book under their arm and wandering off...to bring it back (with narration) in 20-30 min.  As the weather warms up, I'll probably have to yank them out of trees for their next assignments.

 

 

We are at the table for math/spelling/dictations/grammar and eating...and science...preferably not eating while we are doing science, but...

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I keep everyone on the same history cycle and we occasionally have the same read-aloud, but I have a huge age spread among my kids....I have at times combined a few kids together who are <5years apart in age range.

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My DC are combined for most subjects.  We do our history and science readings together.  I assign worksheets and quizzes/tests to them depending on their capabilities.  We are currently using AIG's God's Design for Science and Mystery of History.  For MOH, I add in some extra read alouds or assign them books to read on their own.  We also do Bible together...it's mostly catechism/Bible memory work, hymn study, devotions/readings, etc.  I try to vary our readings so it appeals to all of them...some days we just read a children's Bible and other days we read more challenging books.  We also do a lot of Charlotte Mason type subjects/activities, and these are very easy to carry out in a group setting.

 

For individual subjects, we use LLATL and MUS.  I like that they are open and go so there is very little prep work on my part.  My youngest uses MCP phonics and Saxon K, both of which are easy to teach as well.  I add to these programs as needed...One is using Wordsmith Apprentice and another is using Cheerful Cursive...both programs are fairly independent.  I spend 20-30 minutes with each child, then they finish up on their own.

I'm not sure yet what we'll be doing for the high school years.  I'm sure they'll have more independent work at that point, but I may try to keep them together as much as possible (or at least in the same time period or science topics).  I love learning together as a family!  

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With a lot of kids I decided to wait on history and science until they could do it independently, about third grade. My time as teacher is spent on teaching one on one skills.

My girls can do apologia notebooks indepently and they enjoy them. I let them pick which text to do each year. And I have them read the Tiner books. History has been MP's classical study the last two years with the workbooks. Next year we won't do workbooks, I'll just have them read and summarize or outline. Literature, I gift them a kindle paper light when they learn to read, load it with classics, send them to bed an hour early, and allow them to "stay up" and read in bed for an hour every night. Works beautifully.

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I've combined a great deal in the past, but as they get older I'm finding it's easier to give them their own work. 

This. Mine are all still fairly young, and we still combine a lot, but my 6th grader can do a lot that my 3rd and K can't. My 8yo is really more of a first grader, so I anticipate my younger 4 will be together for a long time.

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We do Morning meeting together - sing a song, do a devotional - and then History with MOH.  After the lesson I ask my 1st grader some comprehension questions and the older 3 have other history assignments according to their abilities and interests.  At lunchtime we have a group read aloud and watch CNN Student News together and discuss it.  Other than that, they're all doing stuff independently.

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All three are combined with Bible reading and art study (very simplified).  I've always combined my boys, two years apart, in history and literature.  Little dd often listens in while I am reading aloud the boys' subjects.  She has her own  history.  In reality, since we are all in the same room, they all listen in to each other's history, poetry, and literature.

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So for those that answered and didn't mention what you use that works, will you share?  What would work for a 7th grader to challenge her and to also interest a 1st grader, 3rd grader, 5th grader!?!  I have my eye on MFW but worry that it will not challenge my 7th grader.  Or what curriculum do you use that is individual?

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People with more rigid ideas about what children MUST learn at KEY times and HOW they are going to learn it are not going to do well with combined.

 

People who think both Winnie the Pooh and the Odyssey are examples of great literature that go beyond age levels are going to read both books to both their preschooler and their teenager at the same time.

 

It's not about whether combined is good or not good in itself; it's about YOU and what YOU think about learning and books and education in general. It's about how you work and think.

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We separate everything. I tried to do science and history together and it was a disaster. The level necessary for my oldest left my youngest in the dust. The level necessary for my youngest left my oldest bored. And the middle one was distractable and off in his own world the moment I wasn't talking to him.

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I combined more when they were younger. But my oldest two children have very different strengths and learning styles and needs, so combining really doesn't work. We use History Odyssey for history and literature (currently Levels 1 and 2; next year, being 5th and 8th grade, they will both be Level 2, but will do different years -- Ancients for one, Modern for the other, Modern being harder in workload), and I supplement for literature based on what else I'd like them to read.

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We've done a lot together, but dd doesn't particularly like waiting around for her brother who works at a slower pace and my oldest likes reading on his own. We've done lots of things together, but this year the only thing they share is history. My dds wanted to study something different than their brother for science and I wanted to honor that so we're doing separate science.

 

Next year, my dd and her tagalong sister will drop back to SOTW1 while their brother koves forward to SOTW4 and we'll do science together, but literature will be separate again. I really don't think this looks like "school" in the negative sort of way it was referred above. To me, it looks like following a child's interest with more than one child.

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Mine are 12 and 8.  We do SOTW together, read-alouds together, and science together.  I could see where science could be hard to combine for a lot of people, it depends on the kids.  My oldest was public schooled through 4th grade, and had almost no science at all in public school, so any science we do is new and interesting to her.  My 8 yo DS is a science fanatic, and can keep up with science well ahead of his grade level.  So I stuck them both in Logic Stage Elemental Science and that has worked pretty well.  Honestly, I often get more written output from the 2nd grader than the 6th grader.  :glare:  If my oldest was more advanced in science, I wouldn't hesitate to separate them, and I will be separating them in a couple years as DD gets ready for high school science.  

 

They each do their own math, English, American History, and foreign language.  I wish I could combine on foreign language, but DS adores Latin, DD just wants to learn Spanish.  

 

ETA: We do Bible together as well.

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I see the merits of both combined and separate but for me it is all about what gets done without causing me to want to go back to bed.  That is going to vary year to year and kiddo to kiddo.  At this point my oldest two combine well followed by the next two and the next two.  That hasn't always been the case and it won't always be.  Anymore than three at a time for me usually ends up with either giggling or arguing or what have you.  Even with read aloud we all are in the same room for the most part, but I don't expect them to all listen at the same time or pay attention completely or whatever.  I target a few kids and expect them to listen depending on what I am reading and who it is aimed at.  If the olders or youngers listen in then great!  

 

So I would say that sometimes it has to do with what Mom can handle and what happens when you combine different kids.  I like something like Wayfarers where everyone can combine if we want (or at least be close to the same period in history and topics in science) but I can also have older ones read by themselves and have younger kids sit with me in small groups.  I can change it up as often as I want depending on what is going on with me and them each day/week/month, etc.  I also like having nothing to follow but their interests and relaxing about who gets what when out of what we read :-)

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We do school kind of like a pile o' puppies.  :)

 

We are all in the same room working on most subjects.  That would happen to be the living room.  We couch school, recliner school and floor school. 

 

When I combined my two boys for elementary history and lit, I used Sonlight.  I chose the Core meant for the older one, and the younger one listened in, as well.  When I added little dd to the mix, she used the Cores that the boys had outgrown.  I kept everyone in the same history time period/subject every year because we do so much combined work.  This year, I altered a SL Core 100 (US History) so much that it was unrecognizable, and did that with my boys while I combined the two elementary SL Cores for US history into one for little dd.  We all worked together, though, and all the kids ended up listening to the history and lit read alouds of both levels of US history.  Little dd memorized the preamble to the Constitution along with my boys even though it was technically her brothers' work.  I have enjoyed doing it this way, and the kids have benefited.  It is not for everyone.

 

As Hunter said, I don't differentiate terribly much between age/grade levels when reading good lit.  Little dd has heard read aloud some more advanced works because of her brothers, and the boys have heard some old favorites from earlier childhood and some that we missed the first time around.  I am reading aloud the My Bookhouse series to all three of them when I have time, which means mostly in the summers.  So my boys are listening to children's poetry and stories.  My 12 year old likes them quite a lot and asks for them.

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We have six school-aged children and three littles running around besides.  For our family, combining through Apologia and Tapestry of Grace has been a life saver.  We combine where it makes sense (example: read alouds) and separate where it makes sense (DS11 does the botany crossword exercise while DD7 does the botany coloring pages). 

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My oldest two have been capable of combining history and science since my oldest was 6 and my second was four, ESPECIALLY with science.

 

Next year we will add in my next kid. I'm not sure how she'll do with history being it'll be SOTW 4. She is chattery and social so she is not very good at being quiet while we're reading. If that doesn't work out, she'll do geography and hold off on history until 2nd where we will start the cycle over again. That'd put my oldest solidly doing logic stage recommendations, and my second and third kid doing SOTW 1 with a Ker listening in.

 

So, for us, combined still makes sense.

 

Literature, though... Even now, my 8yo is leaps and bounds past my 7yo. We do that separate.

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I combine the girls and it works out great.  I will be sad when Rebecca has to do her own science next year and when she hits high school and the girls will be completely separate.  :(

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Well, two of mine are twins, and so far I combine them for everything.  They're also doing SOTW2 and RSO Earth & Space together with their older sister.  She has her own math and language arts, and often she has a bit of independent reading or written work to go along with history and science that the twins don't do yet.

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For radical combiners, often the family does not do formal high school textbook science. Instead they read real books about science and watch documentaries. High school will often include the Eyewitness books, encyclopedias, and trade books. The introduction to Science Matters is a recommended read. Many libraries and bookstores have a copy. The intro is short enough, you could probably read it at the bookstore without buying it.

http://www.amazon.com/Science-Matters-Achieving-Scientific-Literacy/dp/0307454584/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1426388933&sr=8-1&keywords=science+matters

 

They often do not do many grammar exercises that require answer keys. They might use something like this lesson on nouns in Student of the Word.

http://www.sowcurriculum.com/sow/english.htm

More samples of SOW combined age lessons

http://www.sowcurriculum.com/sow/newpage1.htm

 

Literature is enjoyed and discussed in light of the family's worldview instead of with a lot of literary terms.

 

History really varies, but most families seem to figure this out and often in some pretty unique ways based on their worldview/religion :patriot:  and personalities, habits and quirks. :biggrinjester:

 

Moms who are at peace in general often find combining easier. Whether that mom is an unschooler :001_tt2: , radical Christian :001_tt1: , just plain negligent :auto:  , or on drugs :chillpill:  , moms who are a Mary  :001_smile:   rather than a Martha :willy_nilly:  find combining easier.

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Combining is easier for me. I have run multiple guides with SL & HOD and overwhelmed myself, especially with the littles to take care of too :) last year we combined the oldest with HOD Preparing and it was great! I probably would of kept going but my 8 year old was not ready to move up to the next guide. This year we are starting MFW and I love it so far. We are doing Adv-1850 since we haven't done much American history. They suggest starting at ECC. One thing I love about this is there are the supplements for the older and younger kids. My amost 5 year old enjoys some of the stuff so she is just tagging along and then does her own reading and math program. Also with MFW they have book basket time so during this time you can have the kids pick out library books that are more grade appropriate. Truthfully when I have looked at the program it didn't appeal to me as much as some of the others, but. There are many big families that have used it and stuck with it for years so I figured trying it for a year couldn't hurt. :)

I think though if I had an older child who wanted to do more independently(mine doesn't) and they were ready for HOD CTC or up I would go with that. I do love HOD programs :)

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I homeschool so that I can give my kids an individualized education. This certainly does not mean that I am replicating public school at home or that I am not "at peace." It means I choose the things that are best for them that also work in our home. Sometimes that is combining and sometimes that is separate assignments. 

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I've always combined at least 2 dc as it was the most natural and easiest way to function.  The groupings of children and curriculum have varied over the 10 years.  The most stressful times have been when I've tried to follow a curriculum too closely instead of progressing at our own pace, or when I've tried to combine too many children when it wasn't a good fit. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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I homeschool so that I can give my kids an individualized education. This certainly does not mean that I am replicating public school at home or that I am not "at peace." It means I choose the things that are best for them that also work in our home. Sometimes that is combining and sometimes that is separate assignments.

I thought is was clear that I was overgeneralizing by using humor, since I linked up peace with being on drugs and being negligent. I need to be more careful. Sorry.

 

I think fewer radical combiners prioritize an individualized education to each child. I think most radical combiners have other first priorities.

 

I'm struggling to describe the trends I have noticed without offending anyone with over generalizations or judgemental sounding terms. I do believe there are some trends if I were more eleoquent that I could describe in such a way that might help some people avoid an expensive purchase mistake.

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I thought is was clear that I was overgeneralizing by using humor, since I linked up peace with being on drugs and being negligent. I need to be more careful. Sorry.

 

I think fewer radical combiners prioritize an individualized education to each child. I think most radical combiners have other first priorities.

 

I'm struggling to describe the trends I have noticed without offending anyone with over generalizations or judgemental sounding terms. I do believe there are some trends if I were more eleoquent that I could describe in such a way that might help some people avoid an expensive purchase mistake.

I liked your description! Gave me a good laugh.

 

I was looking at wayfarers again today but I just can't do it. I'm not a combiner. You are right that it is a personality I think.

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I am combining, but using sources from each age-range.  That means we do discussions together, and then each grade kid may have a different amount of work due, and they may listen to different books.  It seems to be working pretty well for science and history to do this.  THey all love doing the projects together, but they can also be assigned their own book to read, writing assignments, ect. based on their abilities.

 

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We tried combining literature, history, and science this year. It was my plan all along, most moms I'd talked to suggested it as the only and best way to do multiple kids homeschooling. But for us it's been a disaster. My oldest is too far behind and my second is too far ahead and so neither one is happy. Next year I'll be trying all separate subjects so my oldest can have her special needs kind of stuff and my second can have his advanced curriculums and my third can do his preschool stuff and focus on just learning to read. We'll see if it goes well but this year was such a disaster in history/science that I figure it can't get worse, lol

 

 

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We combine Bible, History, read alouds, and Science up until High School.  So far this has worked pretty well for us.  We use MFW which provided supplements for years when the topics would be too advanced for the youngers or too simple for the olders.  If I didn't combine I am not sure I would get through everything in a day.  We do our combined subjects first in the morning and then individual afterward. 

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It depends on what one means by combining. We do the same topics as a family, but that doesn't mean we are reading all the same books or all at the same time aloud, etc. So I can do Wayfarers because I can assign my kids to read the books alone or choose a few to read aloud. But I don't have to read all the same books to everyone aloud. When I do combine in a literal sense, I usually don't group more than three together at a time anymore. I have done more than that but it is organized chaos and really hard for me to pull off for more than one subject per day anymore because of my low energy level.

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I only have 2 children, but we combined history/literature (Sonlight) and science (Apologia) up to a certain point.   When they were in 5th & 3rd grades, my DS asked if he could do science at a faster pace than what I scheduled, then completed 2 Apologia science books that year.   From that point they've done separate sciences.   This year (7th & 5th grades) I separated them into separate Sonlight Cores and will keep them separate from this point forward.

 

For us, because they were relatively close in age, combining made sense and worked well when my kids needed more interaction from me.  As they've grown older and have become more independent, splitting them has been better.

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When young, say 10 and under, I combined. Once they hit resend, the needed to be apart because they would fight or just act completly silly.

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I would always keep them on the same History topics. One year I might be assigning Spielvogel, Holt World History, and SOTW, as well as Beowulf, Adam of the Road, and The Door in the Wall. Each kid had books at their own level, but I would only have to be thinking about one area of history. The little ones would be doing the 13 Colonies Coloring book and the big ones would be reading The Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin. Not lined up exactly, but we could all follow the same general ideas all year. This worked till my 3rd was in High School!

 

For Science, I tried to keep it to only 2 topics per year, so I wouldn't be too scattered.

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Combining is usually disastrous for our family. We do them separately.

 

Eta: I'm pretty easy-going, not high-strung, and generally "peaceful", as are my house and kids.

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