How to Teach One History Lesson to Multiple AgesJanelle Knutson
When you homeschool multiple ages, it doesn’t take long to realize that teaching each child an individual lesson in every subject is going to take more time than you actually have. One solution is to find subjects that allow you to combine several grade levels into one instructional time.
The key to multi-age learning is knowing when to let each child off the bus.
Think of your history lesson as a bus ride. All your kids will climb on board while you read the lesson, and then little ones will get off the bus at earlier stops. Your older kids will stay on for a longer ride while doing more difficult assignments. Here is how it might look.
Read the Lesson and Point Out the Facts
Children of all ages can listen to the history lesson read aloud. Little hands like to stay busy while the lesson is being read, so bring out (affiliate) playdough, coloring pages, or other toys for them to play with as they listen.
Younger children have shorter attention spans, so it’s a good idea to break up the lesson by pausing to point out facts or ask questions. Having special treats on hand for good listeners motivates children of all ages to stay engaged in the lesson. Once you have finished teaching the history lesson, you can send toddlers, preschoolers, and kindergartners off to play.
Narrate the Lesson Orally
Kids around first and second grades are usually able to summarize the history lesson orally or point out a few facts that they learned. Older kids can also narrate the story orally which provides a model for the younger siblings to follow. After a few minutes of oral narration, your first and second graders are probably ready to move on to another activity.
Narrate the Lesson in Writing
At this point, your older children write their narrations. Narrating a story in written form can be challenging for many students. Offering assistance while your student makes the transition from oral narration to written narration is perfectly fine. You can outline your child’s oral narration for them to work from or offer them a few questions as writing prompts.
Notebooking is another form of narration that can provide your student with an opportunity to summarize the material they are learning. Notebooking pages give your kids a beautiful template to write their narrations on.
Once your kids finish their written narrations, it is time to gather the older kids together to discuss the lesson in more detail.
Discuss the Lesson in More Detail
Middle school and high school students are usually ready for in-depth discussions about what they are learning. This is the time to discuss the why and how of an event in history. Take time to analyze the event through a Christian worldview and talk about the causes and consequences of people’s actions throughout history.
High school students are usually up for the challenge of further research. They can delve deeper into one aspect of the historical event you are learning about as a family.
Having them write a report or prepare an oral presentation is a great way for them to practice summarizing their research and articulating their point of view.
Combining your kids into one history lesson not only saves you time but also offers more opportunities for your family to interact together. Children of all ages can participate in history discussions with the whole family because everyone is learning about the same historical events.
My family’s favorite history curriculum is The Mystery of History. It is an excellent curriculum for multi-age learning with numerous options for engaging all ages and learning styles. You can read how our family uses The Mystery of History with multiple ages here.