One of the best things about homeschooling your children is the variety brought to the conversation by having multiple age groups working together in the same room. But it can also be a challenge. Coming up with a homeschool unit that makes sense for all the age groups you’re representing in your home can be a massive stretch to your creativity. Depending on the age span of your children, you may always have to do some level of independent teaching, but the more that you can bring them together for their lessons, the more that you promote them working together and stretching their understanding of the subject matter. It’s also easier for you to teach one unit than five, which will save you time and sanity. With that in mind, here are some homeschool unit ideas that work great for multiple age groups.
The Human Body
Learning about the human body is a great science unit that can be modified for any age group you have going. For your littlest homeschoolers—or even pre-homeschoolers who just like to hang out with their big siblings during the day—games like Head, Shoulders, Knees & Toes can keep them on the same subject as their siblings. For children right around the age of puberty, this can be a great time to teach about the proper health and hygiene of a human body. And for your oldest homeschoolers, you can discuss the systems of the human body and the locations of different organs and bones in the body.
Plants are another great way to bring all your kids together. Your youngest homeschoolers will love the sensory experience of planting a seed and watching it grow throughout the course of the homeschooling unit. They even make window plant boxes that allow your young homeschooler to see the seeds and roots in action. Each day, you can talk about how the plant is growing—or why it might not be growing. Meanwhile, your older kids can learn about how plants reproduce and how the ecosystem works together, and your oldest kids can learn about plant biology down to the cellular level.
How is baking a homeschool unit? First of all, it’s a life skill, which is important for all of your kids. Your youngest homeschoolers can help with stirring ingredients. Middle-aged children can read off recipes and use measuring ingredients to help them learn fractions. Meanwhile, your oldest kids can make suggestions about how to modify recipes, and you can discuss the science behind things like why yeast makes bread rise.
Money is another life skill that all of your children need to know about. Your youngest homeschoolers can use your unit on money to learn about counting. Slightly older kids can use it to help with fractions and addition and subtraction skills as they make change for their siblings in your imaginary supermarket. Meanwhile, with older kids you can teach about things like budgeting, balancing checkbooks, paying bills, and even the stock market. There are limitless possibilities when teaching your kids about money. If you’re teaching older kids alongside younger kids, you can have the eldest ones budget for an imaginary family and then send your youngest kids to the grocery store to buy items on a list and get used to exchanging money with your imaginary clerk. This is a really fun unit to work with your children on. You can also incorporate history into this unit by talking about things like the California Gold Rush, the invention of currency as an idea, and how trade societies work.
The Solar System
The solar system is a fun unit, especially for any kids who are interested in astronauts and space exploration. With your youngest homeschoolers, you can use studying the solar system as a way to practice counting skills and colors. With older homeschoolers you can discuss space exploration and why seasons and years exist. Your very oldest homeschoolers can explore ideas like what it would take to settle a different planet, how the differing masses on planets affect them, and other celestial bodies. You can even explore what would happen if a planet suddenly disappeared, or if a new planet suddenly appeared.
If you think that learning about farm animals is just for the youngest homeschoolers in your brood, think again. While your youngest homeschoolers can certainly use it as an opportunity to learn about animal names, sounds, and spelling, your older homeschoolers can also learn from a unit on farm animals. You can discuss how farm animals help create the food that they eat every day and the economy of living on a farm. Your eldest homeschoolers can learn about animal biology and the taming of farm animals. And all of your kids would love a visit to a local farm to meet the animals and learn how to do things like milk a cow or gather eggs from chickens.
There are a lot of ways to teach your children a cohesive unit together. While there might be some independent work, you can bring them together to tell stories or discuss ideas that might be relevant to the whole group. You can even create a trivia game for your kids with different questions on each card depending on the age group who winds up getting asked the question. This is a great way to make it fun and have a competitive game going for each of your children while helping them learn. Reading out loud as a family can also be impactful, and even your oldest kids will like the occasional story being read out loud to them.