I think somewhere in the unwritten rules of blogging as a homeschool mom there is a criteria that we all must address, "How do you teach so many different grades?" It is definitely one of the first thing people ask when I tell them we are a homeschooling family. Today I will show you what it looks like for us!
Working Together but Separate
Our topic right now in Geography is land and water forms. Notice my knitting in the bottom left of the picture- I am there to support but this is independent work not lessons. Farther to the left, outside the frame is a toddler having a snack.
Preschool- Land & Water Tray
There are many iterations of this work, but we use play sand in a cake pan and a pitcher of water. She can pour in the water and then create landforms (actually they form spontaneously as she pours). I sit close by and point out new vocabulary for shapes that have formed and sometimes she calls us all over to look at her mountain or island! When she is done, I put the sand tray in the sun and it dries out and is ready to use again the next day.
Kylee also wanted to make a booklet, "Like Caba." It was fascinating to watch her following his lead and color a few landforms before cutting them out and gluing them into her own booklet. She then dictated labels for the pages. The important thing to note about this work is that is was very much a choice. At barely three it is not a work I would have introduced to her just yet, but she was drawn to it as she watched her brother and is very much in a period of being drawn to scissors and colors right now.
K/1- Landform Booklet
Caleb colored the opposing pairs of landforms (lake/island, cape/bay, isthmus/strait, gulf/peninsula) and then made them into a booklet. Being more capable with writing, he copied the words from a master sheet instead of having me write.
3rd Grade- Research
Aidan has mastered the names of the various landforms in previous years, so he chose a specific landform to do further research on. He used library books (see above picture) and then used the computer for further information. He put this information into the form of an outline, a skill we are working on this year. He really enjoys doing Google searches and after he found a list of straits around the world, he spent some time browsing through the country pages on Wikipedia. I limited this type of research today due to time and other assignments, but I reminded him that computer research is always a choice when his assignments are completed.
In our family, Geography (Thursday) and Science (Monday) tend to trend naturally towards this style of teaching and learning, but we also do History (Tuesday), Art & Music (Varied), and Religion (Daily) in a similar manner with a broad group topic and individual follow up work as appropriate.
Sometimes at home it can be a challenge to balance (1) leaving the materials available for them to "come back to" when they want to practice what they are learning and (2) the premium that we have on shelf space. This is where group themes become invaluable for us because they are all using similar materials and topics in development appropriate ways!