Teach Multi-ages Family Style

When it comes to homeschooling multi-ages, life can get super busy, super FAST!

I keenly remember having all seven of my children in one year, K through 11th grade! Whoosh!!

Many of the curriculum programs lay out different periods of history based solely on grade level.

Reality check here…

Teaching a variety of ages, whereby each child does their own history, ties up way too much time from mom, and eats up time the children need on their other subjects. And let’s face it, it can get expensive too with separate lesson plans and separate books to buy!

What is a mom to do??? What did I do? What did I coach hundreds of families to do that really works??

I found that with the right tools in your homeschool tool belt you can cut down time, save money and save your sanity in the process…and that doing history family style, with multiple ages melds well with a natural family homeschool life!

How??? It is easy…once you use these 5 KEYS to unlock HISTORY Family Style!

1. Pick a time period
2. Use a timeline
3. Use a framework text (one with a Catholic lens)
4. Pick “living history” novels
5. Add in maps, writing, Hands-on Fun and/or field trips

And here’s a secret, two of these KEYS are optional too!!!

Let’s Begin…KEY 1: Choose from one of these 6 time periods:

Ancient Egypt
Ancient Rome & Greece
Medieval Times
American History – Early Exploration to American Revolution
American History – American Revolution to Civil War
Modern Times

And for those of you International folks, pick a origin period of your country..

KEY 2: Pick a timeline approach:

  • Have one family timeline mounted on the wall
  • Make one big family timeline in a binder
  • Have each child make their own notebook version
  • Team up a big kid with a little kiddo to make team versions

homeschool timeline

TIMELINES Make History Accessible and Memorable

History Worth Remembering Timeline Sets makes this part super fun and easy….and saves you money…buy it only once and use it as often as you want for the entire family! They include the contributions of Catholics throughout time; they are fairly represented in the context of other events.

I tried in vain to find a good reliable set that presented a balanced view of history, to no avail. I even asked secualr and our protestant brothers in Christ to make sets for us, still no one came through.

So my family embarked on our own adventure to present to you, what we hope will be your jumping off place to a rich and lively study of history for multi-ages! Choose the set that matches the same time period you are studying and simply download. Print the sheets on sticky back paper or regular paper (you will need glue for regular paper). Color, Cut and Go!

Our family loved doing timelines on the same day each week (Timeline Tuesday). Each one of us looked at the set we had for the time period we were studying and easily and quickly found the people and events they just read about or were about to study in the coming week!

For another approach, you can make the entire timeline in the first month of school, spending 3-4 days a week for about 20-30 minutes, adding the figures to get a sweeping overview of the entire time period!!

History makes sense when the people and events are placed in context of the entire time period. Have fun discovering new people and events you never knew happened at the same time!

Add your own people, events and notes too!

KEY 3: Choose a framework text (or not)

Yes, that’s right, you can skip this step…it is truly optional, It is really up to your unique family!

However, this is an excellent time to get read aloud time in with everyone at once.

If you pick an engaging text like the Catholic School Projects texts, you can read a chapter aloud every week or two, moving at your family’s pace.  Then simply use the questions in the text for oral discussion.

You can assign silent reading to just the older kids…or simply skip this step.

KEY 4: Pick Historical Novels

There is nothing better than immersing yourself in a good historical novel to get the real feel of the time period.

There are so many good books out there…how do you know which ones to choose??…

Well I did a bunch of this work for you too…just look over at my blog where I give you my TOP picks of each time period in my “Paola’s Book Bites – History Book reviews.”

I have more coming in the next few weeks too!

KEY 5: Add-on Maps, Writing and Hands-on Activities (and field trips too)

This too is an optional KEY because the idea here is to tailor the study of history to your unique family!!

It might be just too much to layer in these items and take too much time away from the other subjects that might need more of your valuable and precious time…that is perfectly OK!! Yes, go ahead and skip it if you must! You will not ruin your kids, you will not deprive them and most importantly, remember you will be doing more than enough history immersion with the other KEYS to cover history.

Map work is super easy to add with FREE online mapping software like Seterra or History Portfolio Maps from Homeschool Journey, These products are all done for you,  you just print and go…once a week…then add them to your timeline binder.

Writing can be added easily too with IEW’s wonderful “History Based Writing Lessons.” Do some of the lessons with several of the kids, leaving this KEY off for the younger set not writing yet! These coordinate beautifully and seamlessly with each time period.

Catholic homeschooling consulting coaching historyHistory Pockets

Hands-on projects and mini-books provide creative, sustained-learning!

Hands-on projects and lapbooking can be super fun…several of my kids are tactile learners so they really LOVE this part.

We have used Evan-Moor’s History Pockets Series eBooks,  Just download and create!  However, since they do not have an option for Medieval Times, we used History Portfolios, another great option which contains plenty of great hands-ons templates and ideas (and even has maps too).

These make great keepsakes and portfolios that real learning has occurred.  Big kids can work with the little ones to create a family album!

Field Trip[ Chadd's Ford

Let’s not forget to take a few FIELD TRIPS

Above is a sample of my family’s historic adventures! Our Anne did an internship at a local museum and we got to take her tour.

Take plenty of pics from your family’s trip into the past too!

Give this task to the teens as a better option to “Instagram.” The little ones can pose as the bigger ones snap away!  Creating albums using photo book services rewards the entire family with a keepsake they will open time and time again, as well as provide you with a portfolio too!

We Honor those before us by studying the past…take your family on a journey through time!




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