When you’re schooling multiple ages, it can be a sanity-saver to find ways the whole family can learn together. Try these four that are great for all ages.
As homeschool parents, we’re often pulled in many directions all at once. Does this sound familiar?
“Mom, I need help with this math problem!”
“Will you read this book to me, Mom?”
“Mom, can we do this science experiment now?”
All of that from three different children of three different ages going in three different directions. I can’t count how many times I wished I could make a copy of myself so I could do everything at once!
Of course, we know that isn’t possible, so I decided to do the next best thing: come up with fun and educational activities we could all do together.
Even though my daughters currently range in age from 9-17, I’ve found that some of our best learning opportunities happen when we’re all spending meaningful time together.
The whole family can enjoy many educational opportunities together. Some obvious options are field trips (a.k.a. family vacations) and educational documentaries and movies. However, those are usually on the schedule only occasionally. Don’t miss the simple ways you can include family learning time for all ages every day in your homeschool.
I use the term morning basket because it’s familiar to most homeschoolers, but you don’t have to complete these activities in the morning. Afternoon or evening baskets work just as well! We don’t keep a strict schedule in our family. It’s more of an ebb and flow with delight-directed learning. However, all of my girls enjoy our morning basket time.
I include books, activities, audio theater, games, music, art, and more in our morning basket time. I choose activities and books that all ages can appreciate, and we rotate through them on a regular basis. For instance, chalk pastels are a favorite that all three of my daughters can work on together in spite of age and ability differences. You can read my post about 100+ things to put in a morning basket for more ideas of things to include for all ages.
I create custom unit studies for my daughters based on their interests. One of the ways I simplify the process is by finding topics that interest all three girls and creating activities and reading lists from that shared interest. We’ve done unit studies on horses, dogs, seashells, lighthouses, and seasons.
Before you think unit studies are just fluff, consider that the kids are learning more about a topic that interests them, which in turn encourages their love of learning. The rewards from that alone pay off in many ways! They’re also covering science, math, language arts, art, and other subjects at age-appropriate levels all centered around a topic they can learn about together.
We usually include a lapbook for my younger daughters and notebooking pages for my older daughter. These tools give them a sense of accomplishment in their work and something to review from time to time. Plus, these projects are great for portfolios if your state requires them.
Games aren’t just for fun, though the family time together makes them worth playing for just that reason. Kids also learn essential skills like cooperation, healthy competition, how to be a good sport, critical thinking, and taking turns. They may also pick up other skills like math, reading, and spelling depending on the game you’re playing.
When we’re stuck in a rut or feeling overwhelmed, playing games together can relieve stress and provide an educational opportunity. Never underestimate the educational power of games for a fun, whole family learning experience.
Living books are part of the foundation of our homeschool. Even if you aren’t laser-focused on a literature-rich approach in your homeschool, living books are a great way to share family learning time. All ages can enjoy read-alouds of classic books. Learning history in a way that comes alive can appeal to the whole family.
If reading aloud isn’t your favorite thing, don’t be afraid to use audiobooks. The whole family can listen together while putting together a puzzle, eating a meal, doing artwork, or just enjoying some quiet time to absorb the story.
These are four of my favorite ways to easily incorporate learning time for the whole family, regardless of age. What works in your family?
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Sara Jordan is a homeschooling mom of three creative girls. They believe in literature-rich learning with living books. Relaxed, delight-directed learning is their approach so they follow interests and explore ideas to encourage a lifelong love of learning. Their emphasis is on nurturing creativity, curiosity, character, and connection. Sara is an author/speaker/consultant who loves to inspire other homeschool moms on her blog, Heart and Soul Homeschooling, and with the resources she creates in the Heart and Soul Homeschooling shop. You can find her on Pinterest, Facebook, and Twitter.