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Someone's probably going to slam me for this...is it wise?


lacell
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My oldest child is a boy and has ADHD. He has only now become ready for sit down type of work. He's almost 7. He writes cursive letters and his numbers well. My almost 5 yr old girl seems to be able as well, though her attention span for traditional work seems about 20 min shorter. We take frequent mini-trampoline breaks. I really like combining them for content. I feel like we could combine for more skills as well if I caught her up. She has the readiness (phonemic awareness, etc.) he didn't have at his age but I haven't spent much time teaching her how to write her letters or numbers, so I'm transcribing a lot for her and having her trace just some of my writing. She does know most of her letter sounds and blends easily. I guess I'm just wondering how much of a disservice I would be doing my son to take some of his tutor time on reading to help her with the writing and catch her up to his reading level (CVC words, simple silent E words, some consonant digraph words). Then we could do more group reading and spelling dictation lessons. He does seem to like doing the easier work with her because it makes him feel like the big brother who knows more :) But I worry that she will feel stupid by comparing himself to her. Has anyone done this? Do you regret it?

Edited by lacell
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DIsclaimer: This is just my personal opinion. 

 

My children are the same age difference as yours. I wouldn't hold back one to let the other catch up. You do know your own children better though. There's a lot going on and developing in those ages and I just wouldn't want to miss a moment to keep nudging the oldest forward. 

 

We are all different though, so find out what works for your family. :)

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You could. BUT...from my experience with this age, I bet the 7 yr old moves forward quickly now that he has gotten over this hard hump, and the 5 yr old will move slower, because she is young. I am not guaranteeing that is what will happen next, but I have seen it a lot. So, if you kind of hold him still where he is in hopes of catching her up, you would more likely just hold him back just as he begins to soar, and push her forward, just as she is blooming and learning to love it all.

 

Combine science, history, geography, etc, but not phonics, handwriting, or math, or spelling. 

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My kids are 8 and 6. I do skill work with each child individually (math and language arts) and then I do all other content areas together (science, history, art, health, etc.) In the combined content areas, I just expect different things depending on age. (So, my 8-year-old might write a paragraph, while the 6-year-old writes one sentence--that sort of thing.) We also do most read alouds together. 

 

So, I totally understand the desire to combine and streamline things, but in my experience, there are no shortcuts when it comes to skill work. For us, math and all language arts must be done individually, in order to keep each child progressing at her own proper pace. 

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Yeah. Combining is the dream right? But I agree with others, he will always be ahead even if you do take the time to "catch her up". He'll plain be quicker.

 

And I'd be concerned he wouldn't be challenged enough and that nice "big brother" feeling will turn into plain laziness/egotism. :/

 

Combine in the content! Leave the skills alone.

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My older two (14 mos apart) were actually working at the same pace initially--when ODS started sounding out words, DD did, too; when ODS wanted to learn more about numbers, DD was right there with him.  Last year, however, I decided that I had to separate them for math and language arts.  Even though they are very similar in ability, DD is very competitive, and it was frustrating both of them.  Also, their strengths and weaknesses are just different enough that they each needed to slow down for different things, which frustrated the other child who didn't need more work on that topic...and isn't that part of why I'm homeschooling?  So while it was really easy to teach everything together, it just didn't work practically.  Everyone is much happier now that they're doing work independently, though scheduling is a little more hairy.  Of course, YMMV.

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I have kids who are close age-wise and combine where I can. You can always add time to your schedule, but I wouldn't sacrifice (take away) time with the older one for the younger at this age.

 

Anytime you combine for anything, you have to be aware of when it is time to separate them. My two oldest worked really well together for content subjects and a few other things like spelling and Latin until it become obvious (even to me - Miss Thick skull) that the oldest was ready to move on & the younger one needed more time for things to percolate. I was able to combine #2 & #3 by the next fall and they continue to be a good pairing for almost everything except Math and writing. (They are roughly a year apart in math although the older one is finally starting to go faster & make the gap bigger.) Next year will probably be the time when I will have to separate them for a couple more subjects.

 

#3 & #4 are very close in age but light years apart in ability. It wouldn't be fair to either of them to combine them for skill subjects. They are separate for content subjects this year, too, because they are at such different places. It is harder when you can't combine, but that's reality.

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Another thought:  

 

My oldest 2 dc are also 2 years apart. The younger outpaced the older in LA by *years* worth quickly.  If they would have been in the same materials, it would have been devastating to the oldest.  

 

Always separate those reading/writing/math skills.

 

Things you can combine:

 

History

Science

Literature & oral narrations (Foster discussion between the 3 of you!)

Art

Music

Grammar (Do FLL at the year level between. So for a 5yo and 7yo, that's FLL 1.)

Math Games!  

Other games!  (Teach them to play games together.  You can get so much mileage out of games!!!)

 

 

That leaves reading lessons, writing lessons, and math lessons to be done individually.  At 5 and 7yo, writing is mainly oral narration and copywork.  You can cover oral narrations together, and they can do copywork while the other sibling is working with you.  I would build a routine like...

 

5yo reading lesson : 7yo copywork

 

7yo reading lesson: 5yo copywork

 

Break

 

5yo math lesson: 7yo play with lego

 

7yo math lesson: 5yo play with lego

 

Do math, reading, and writing daily. All of the together things, I would plan on a loop schedule. If you get to one other thing or 4 other things, that is a good school day.

 

I hope it helps to see how I have done it.  It's crazy trying to juggle several kids!  As they get older, some things get easier - like they can read their own lessons.  Other things get harder- like writing involves more than copywork.  Enjoy the stage you are in b/c it flies by quickly.  Do lots of games and teach them to play together without you directly involved...that will give you time in the future for the 3rd child.  (I seem to remember you have another little one.)

 

 

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My DC do copywork at the same time.  Everyone gets their book and pens out, then we set a timer for 5 minutes.  I do watch closely as they are learning to form their letters so I can make any corrections immediately, but once they get going, they don't need as much supervision.  They each have their own level of copywork.  My 6yo does a couple R&S preschool pages, the 11 and 8yo are going through Print to Cursive Proverbs, and my 13yo picks her own book passages, poems, or Bible verses to copy.

 

We also do their math lessons at the same time...we use MUS, so most of their lesson is on DVD.  With any luck, they don't all need help at the same time.  If they do, they just move on to other problems or wait until I can help them.  I did teach two of my DC math together for a semester or so (they went through Gamma).  Once their learned their multiplication facts, I split them up so my older child could go at a faster pace when we got to multiple digit multiplication.  I've had them do flashcards both together and separate.  You can even turn it into a game...either who can answer the card fastest or they can take turns, each with their own card.  

 

Some years they've each had "mom time" where they take turns working with me.  Other years we go by subject (everyone does math, then everyone does dictation, etc.).  We are currently working by subject so school doesn't take the entire day.  Both methods have their strengths and weaknesses.  

 

If you do choose to combine them, I'd only do it for a season.  Re-evaluate every so often to make sure you aren't holding one back or moving the other too fast.  

Edited by Holly
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My oldest child is a boy and has ADHD. He has only now become ready for sit down type of work. He's almost 7. He writes cursive letters and his numbers well. My almost 5 yr old girl seems to be able as well, though her attention span for traditional work seems about 20 min shorter. We take frequent mini-trampoline breaks. I really like combining them for content. I feel like we could combine for more skills as well if I caught her up. She has the readiness (phonemic awareness, etc.) he didn't have at his age but I haven't spent much time teaching her how to write her letters or numbers, so I'm transcribing a lot for her and having her trace just some of my writing. She does know most of her letter sounds and blends easily. I guess I'm just wondering how much of a disservice I would be doing my son to take some of his tutor time on reading to help her with the writing and catch her up to his reading level (CVC words, simple silent E words, some consonant digraph words). Then we could do more group reading and spelling dictation lessons. He does seem to like doing the easier work with her because it makes him feel like the big brother who knows more :) But I worry that she will feel stupid by comparing himself to her. Has anyone done this? Do you regret it?

 

I'm fuzzy on what you mean by "tutor time." Are you teaching him yourself, or are you paying someone to tutor him?

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I'm going to agree with the majority and say to keep the math and LA separate.

 

One thing we have been able to do though as mine have gotten older is do some skills area work together - we do Life of Fred together and multiplication table drills together and sometimes I assign them the same book to read so we can discuss it later (although this is rare as it is hard to find books that are challenging enough for the older one whilst being still within the younger's range).

 

However, this has really only happened in the last year.  Prior to this history/science/social studies/art/music was together and still is, but no math or LA.

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I do think it depends on exacatly what you are doing. I combine reading and math at times with my two youngest who are now 8 and 10. It has helped them with skills like being patient. A five year old will be less able to work as long, as you already mentioned, so I would do extra with the 7 year old and not hold him back purposely.

 

For example, I use Barton for reading and writing. My youngest needs it for speech and because he struggles even hearing all the sounds in words. He was an ok sight reader for his age last year but it was entirely comprehension and memory based. My oldest is using it because he can't remember words in writing for the life of him and he struggles to remember the rules of writing and getting the correct letter so we do things separately except for sight words. The younger actually memorizes them quicker then the oldest but the oldest knows more of them so it works out about right. The youngest is in a lower level for all his other work but memorizes the sight words in his brothers level with him through games and such. Then I just focus on sounds, blending, and pronunciation with the youngest in his alone time. I would never hold the older back to wait for the younger though. The younger can just easily keep up with the older in that particular area.

 

The same with math I will present new material together. The youngest picks up patterns, math tricks, and memorizing better. The older does all the visual stuff and word problems faster. So I present stuff together and they do games together but I also have days where they each work on opposite stuff to keep up with the other. It is the stuff that they both need extra practice on anyway. My oldest is behind though and I've never held him back and never would on purpose. The youngest is also really quick and self taught a lot when he was little.

 

So there are some examples of how it could be done. If a child is struggling with something though, one on one trumps everything.

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One more thought, you mentioned your son was ADHD. I'm thinking you have a limited focus time with him, especially if you let him get bored, so perhaps games and content areas would be best. Remember there is only so much attention to school work that you are going to get from him at once. Don't waste it! You will get even less if he gets bored with his school work.

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My two oldest are combined for skill in the following way:  

 

(No LDs here, but my ds is a bad speller in both of his native languages and dd is probably average)

 

- Spelling- same level of Apples and Pears, we do the lessons together.  This level has been a really good fit for both kids.  

 

- Handwriting- I just started cursive for both kids, after being cursive resistant for a few years.  On lined paper, their print handwriting is at about the same level, on unlined, ds has better handwriting.  In cursive, they each perform at their own level, but I do the "lesson" together and they work on the same page in their separate (but same level) workbooks.

 

- French spelling- DS does dd's lesson with her as a warm-up.  When we've dictated the last sentence, we leave it up on the whiteboard and dd finds the nouns, identifies them as common or proper, and also find the verbs.  DS then identifies all the other words in the sentence.  DD is then done and DS goes on to his own more advanced French LA lesson.  He needs the extra reinforcement/review, so this is working well.  

 

Personally, I would not combine children for reading instruction, even if they were at the exact same level.  Reading is so much more efficient and targeted when done one-on-one.  Not to mention it is such a good cuddle subject and fond-memory-building subject.  :-D

 

 

 

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What about things like phonics and math flashcards together? Is that skill or content?

 

 

Flashcards are probably OK together. I sound like a broken record, but you will get more mileage out of games.

 

Happy Phonics.  They will know those phonograms forwards and backwards, and they can play together (without much help from you).

 

There are all sorts of math games for sale these days.  The kids will sit for an hour playing a game happily.  They will get so much more out of it too.  

 

Sometimes flashcards present more like a quiz, uncovering what they do NOT know.  Games, however, present like a challenge to figure it out faster than your opponent. Kids wilt under quiz-pressure, but thrive under game pressure.

 

It may seem like playing hookie from school, but especially with children so closely spaced, teach them games.  Even games that are not directly phonics & math are highly beneficial.  Strategy games, basic checkers & chess, build mathematical problem solving skills.  Those skills pay off big time when you are entering middle and high school.  

 

I'll stop hijacking your threads to tell you to play games now...

 

....but PLAY GAMES!!! :lol:  :lol:  :lol:

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I agree that games are good for 2 kids of similar age/level.

 

Also rather than taking time away from making progress with your son, they might be able to play school such that he could teach her some of the things he has learned, such as CVC, CVCe words, making it fun for them both and exposing her to it, while helping him to cement it.

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