Homeschooling: Putting it All Together – 4 Moms

4 Moms, 35 Kids have discussed teaching big kids and teaching little kids, so how do we put it all together? Read what the other moms of many have to say:

KimC @ Life in a Shoe
Connie @ Smockity Frocks
Deputy Headmistress @ The Common Room

In our home we educate our big kids and our little kids together in many (most?) subjects.  There are many reasons for this and if you’re interested you may read:

For more info on how we teach multiple levels together check out my homeschool page.

So with an age range of 2-13 how do we put it all together?  How do we educate our children so that we can discuss things as a family, they can build stronger relationships with us and with each other and we can talk of things as we stand up, as we lie down and as we walk by the way?

The basic answer to this question is that we teach and talk with our children throughout the whole day, every day.

At Breakfast:

Each morning at the breakfast table Mark reads the passage of Scripture that he will be teaching from during family worship that evening. (I also read this passage to the children at lunch time.)  Mark is also reading and discussing “Making Brothers and Sisters Best Friends” for the second time.  After Mark is finished we work through our memorization box.


As soon as we finish chores each morning, I sit down with one of my beginning readers.  The older children (9, 11, 12 and 13) work on their independent assignments; Greek, math, music practice and writing.  The other younger children work on their handwriting, copy work and/or dictation.

I spend time with each of the younger children (2, 3, 5, 6 and 7) either reading to them or listening to them read to me.

Each Wednesday instead of reading with the little ones we do a hands-on project that reinforces what we’ve been studying in history.  We’ve made mud bricks with straw like the Israelites,  pottery bowls like those found in Mesopotamia, paint out of charcoal, etc.

Younger kids reading/discussion:

(The older children continue to work on their independent assignments.)

We’ve chosen a variety of resources for our younger kids that coincide with the topics and subjects that the older children are studying. (Many resources are from Sonlight 1.)  Each day we read from a book on their level about  the topic/event that the bigger kids will be studying  later that day.  We also read poetry, memorize additional Scripture and are working through a Bible study for young children.

Several of our older children join us for this time of reading and discussion.  They’ve already been through most of this material, but they love it and want to hear it again.

Older kids reading/discussion:

When the younger kids are finished with their time we gather everyone together.  Our little kids are included in much of this time with our older kids.

We are using Sonlight 6 this year and begin with Bible reading and then a Bible assignment.  (The big kids work on all of their assignments later.)

Next we read the history portions.  Here we cover the same things (but more in depth) that our younger kids studied earlier.  The little ones LOVE being able to tell the big kids what they already know, show them the area on the map or add an event to the time line.  Once we’ve finished the reading portion our younger children are allowed to follow their own interests while we discuss the readings.  They most commonly stay in the room and play quietly.

We read more poetry, read our read aloud and assign independent reading.  The 5 and 6 year old almost always wish to hear this portion.  As always we discuss what we’re reading.

Other school assignments:

Art, writing, logic, nature journals and other assignments are passed out at this time for the children to complete either in groups or independently.  We do not cover all subjects each day.  We think that it is very important for our children to have free time to discover and learn on their own and we make sure that they have plenty of free time each day.

Amber is working through Apologia Science on her own, rather that is her assignment.  It usually works out that she is reading the information and doing the experiments with a group of children who are intensely interested in her level of science.

Has anyone done Apologia Physical Science with children much younger than 7th grade?  I’m wondering if I should do more level combining.

More reading aloud:

Just before dinner, we usually read aloud to the children again.  “Trial and Triumph: Stories from Church History“, “The Blue Fairy Book“, Beautiful Stories from Shakespeare” and “Charlotte’s Web” are some of the books we’ve read in the past 3 weeks.

Family worship:

I’ve posted about this in more depth, but we are currently working through the Proverbs very slowly with lots of discussion.

Character Study/Literature:

Our oldest 3 children stay up after the younger ones go to bed and Mark is reading and discussing John G. Paton’s autobiography with them.

Everyday learning:

Kids are always learning and we don’t stop teaching on weekends or on days that we don’t work on ‘school work’.   The children don’t watch television, very rarely watch videos and don’t play video games.  This leaves plenty of time for living life and taking dominion over creation.

Check out how the other moms put it all together:

KimC @ Life in a Shoe
Connie @ Smockity Frocks
Deputy Headmistress @ The Common Room

I’d love to hear your ideas and plans for homeschooling big and little kids.  How much will this change as our big kids get bigger?

What about adding another baby?  How does your school change when you have a newborn?

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14 Responses to Homeschooling: Putting it All Together – 4 Moms
  1. Bonni
    June 3, 2010 | 8:19 am

    I found that the math included in Apologias Physical science was difficult for my 8th grader. I used the book to teach Physical Science at our homeschool coop to 9-11th graders, and it went well, with the exception of 1 chapter because of the algebra problems included.


    Kimberly @ Raising Olives Reply:

    Thank you Bonni. It seemed that I’d been told that it was a bit advanced for younger students, now I know.


  2. Jenn
    June 3, 2010 | 8:40 am

    Hi Kimberly,

    My olders often want to join in with what my youngers are doing as well… what do you do in your house about the fact that when they join, they are not getting as much of their independent work finished at that time? Do they still have enough free time later in the day or do they end up having left over school work?

    Also, about how long are you spending with the youngers before you start the Bible group time? Or, put another way, are you able to finish this before lunch usually?

    Thank you, as always. 🙂



    Kimberly @ Raising Olives Reply:

    The children that are joining in generally have enough free time in the afternoon. Those who have a heavier work load either don’t join in or get up extra early to get their work done.

    Our kids tend to be very responsible about what they have to do and if they know that they won’t be done by the time it’s free time, they will just keep working on their own things. Often I’ll find them curled up with the book that they missed, reading it themselves.

    We nearly always finish the reading/discussion time by lunch, although we have been known to delay lunch in order to finish.


  3. April
    June 3, 2010 | 8:40 am

    I only have five (10 and under) with one due in September, but I have tried both ways of homeschooling–it is not often I can say “only”. THere is the “Please sit at the table and do not talk.” and there is “learning, reading, working, and playing together.” Together works so much better. Now if I can just remember that and not compare! My plan (and I have used it in the past) is to homeschool from my little corner of the couch when the newest little person arrives! The children can come to me to get reading instructions, math help or a kiss! It will simply take longer with the new distraction!

    Thank you for this series–it is a wonderful encourage.


    Kimberly @ Raising Olives Reply:

    Thank you April. I’m hoping that many things can continue as above when our newest member arrives. A lot will depend upon her personality. 🙂


  4. Tristan from the Crew
    June 3, 2010 | 8:51 am

    When a baby arrives the ‘plan’ is always to take a month off and only spend time reading aloud. I think I need to emphasise the plan to the children a bit more in advance this time around though. Last baby we were back to lapbooking and homeschool before the baby was 2 weeks old because the kids just insisted. Sigh. I would really like a longer break for baby #6’s birth.

    Okay, so maybe this time I should just print out things for the kids so they can do it independently when the mood strikes? Of course, this baby is due on Thanksgiving Day, which leads into the wonderful Christmas season so maybe they will be more up for relaxing. Last time is was the end of February and there is nothing going on then. This time thay can work on Christmas projects, bake for others, practice their Nativity play (a family fun thing we do on Christmas Eve with the video camera), etc.

    We’ll see! Thanks for posting this, it is great to see how things can still be doable as the number of children increases. Praying your last few weeks pregnant go smoothly!


    Kimberly @ Raising Olives Reply:

    I also hope to take some time off of our more formal ‘school’ work when the baby comes. We’ve already gotten a nice start on our year, so we’ll be very flexible.


  5. Jamie
    June 3, 2010 | 9:53 am

    Amazing! I am in awe :). Something that struck me as amusing, however, is that I have my kids separated into “older” and “littler” groups as well… the difference is that ALL of mine fit into your “younger ones” category :). Fun.
    Hope all continues going well as you finish up your pregnancy!


    Kimberly @ Raising Olives Reply:

    No awe allowed!! 😉

    Thank you, I’m happy that I can finally say the baby will be here next month!!!


  6. […] Raising Olives gives a play-by-play example of how she teaches a wide range of ages during the course of the day. […]

  7. Andrea
    June 3, 2010 | 12:29 pm

    Wow, you are amazing!This routine and topics of study is wonderful~ I wish our 4 children could go to “your school”


  8. Kylee
    June 3, 2010 | 2:22 pm

    I’m not a mom, but I just wanted to let you know that I have done Physical Science, Biology, Chemistry, and Anatomy and Physiology with Apologia and I absolutely have loved it. So I can’t help you with the little sciences, but I know that their highschool sciences are great! I’m doing Physics next year for my senior year!

    ~Kylee (


  9. Kathi
    June 3, 2010 | 11:27 pm

    I’ve been told by a very dear friend at church with 15 and 17 yr old daughters, that Apologia’s Physical Science is very hard work. She suggested I borrow hers and look through it before buying it for Kylie (13 yrs). Just thought I’d share that with you. It seems like a few others feel this way too.

    Your day sounds a lot like ours. I combine more and more as we get further into our Homeschool Journey. It’s so much easier, and makes or Family so much closer.

    We took an entire month off when Judah arrived. Two weeks didn’t seem like enough, and six seemed like too many. Once we got back going, we just did things as we always had…with him in my lap.


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