A Recipe for Teaching Multiple Ages

Welcome to 10 Days of Lasagna Learning! I’m so glad you are here. As homeschool mothers, parents, we can all learn from and help each other. I hope that some part of this series will bless you – whether you are balancing the needs of an age range or just starting your homeschool journey. So I am imagining you and I sitting down for a visit. Would you like coffee or tea?

And while each of our homeschools and families are different, let me introduce you to our homeschool. Here at Hodgepodge we teach an age range of five children from four up to 14. For a long time I’ve called it Layers and Levels of Learning. That one-room schoolhouse type of learning. But Lasagna Learning describes it much more accurately.

A Recipe for Lasagna Learning: Over the remaining days of this series, I’ll be sharing the list of ingredients, the instructions for teaching multiple ages. It’s a simple recipe, really, going something like this: Place a layer of learning in the pot (like my favorite slow cooker), add another layer, season with sauce, add another layer. Keep alternating layers until it is appetizing. Cook well, seasoned with spices. It’s irresistible! Fill your plate of learning high! Little ones learning from older ones. Middle ones keeping things lively, always asking questions.

A recipe for preserving children – on my family room wall with the reflection of the children playing.

Not only do we have an age range here, we also have a wide range of learning styles. The temperature and conditions in which we serve our lasagna. See if you have any matching these descriptions:

  • 14-year-old daughter learns by reading and is visual – give her a book and she’s pretty much got it.
  • Almost 13-year-old son – is an auditory learner. He will listen to anything. I wondered why he enjoyed all those audio books when he was little. And now he thrives on Teaching Textbooks math – listening to each lecture and problem.
  • Middle Girl, at nine years old could make, create, display, concoct, play, dialogue – she’s a hands-on, kinesthetic learner.
  • Six-year-old and four-year-old’s learning styles are still emerging.
  • If you need help with determining your child’s learning style, The Way They Learn is a great resource.

So you see that I need to be aware and teaching to not only ages and ability but also to the different ways learning styles mesh together. So each child soaks up the rich vitamins of knowledge.

But I must start by encouraging you. I do not do it all. We do not fit it all in. And I must remind you– there are seasons in this homeschool life. When I was smack in the middle of having babies, we did well to get the basics in. Just the three Rs – reading, writing and arithmetic. So, dear homeschool mama, if that is where you are, please pick some gems out over the next two weeks. Bookmark my series, pin it and save the rest for later.

How to Start a Homeschool Day with a Household? Get up before the children and get on your knees. Most homeschool mamas realize this. But if there is not anything you get from what I share here in Lasagna Learning, I encourage you – impress upon you – start your day with some quiet prayer time. Wow, what 15 minutes of alone time in the morning or late at night can do for a mama! It’s good to keep a daily habit of stepping out of the urgent, into the quiet, out of our regular spot and look to our source of strength. Jesus set the example. (Luke 4: 42-43)

“If you don’t know what you’re doing, pray to the Father. He loves to help. You’ll get his help, and won’t be condescended to when you ask for it. Ask boldly, believingly, without a second thought.” James 1: 1-5, The Message

And over time, I learned a practical way to teach the children to pray – as we go about our day. This has also been key for myself as well. How to keep a prayer life in the day to day of balancing an age range. An excerpt from my Practical Prayer:

  • When you hear a siren, stop and pray with the children. Pray not only for those that might be hurting but also for those that are responding to the emergency. Pray for healing. Siren prayers usually prompt us to pray for others we know with urgent needs.
  • When that airplane flies overhead pray, “God, please bless the people in the airplane.”
  • Can’t find something? Pray. The simple act of stopping and praying for wisdom helps calm everybody down. “Mama, shouldn’t we pray?” a child reminds. We do. And then I find my keys.

Simple, anytime prayers:

  • “Help!”
  • “Please give me wisdom!”
  • “Allow me to show love”

“You can’t change what you have or haven’t done over the past year. Just start where you are, ask the Lord to make you a “joyful mother of children,” pray for grace and wisdom (and strength and patience), and move forward. – Vicki Bentley

That’s what we’ll do tomorrow. We’ll move forward in this series – layering and learning.

You may be interested in a few ways we enjoy Bible learning with multiple ages:


Some of the topics in this series:

**Remember to subscribe to Hodgepodge, so you won’t miss any lasagna learning! You can also have free Hodgepodge delivered to your email inbox by entering your email address in the top right hand corner.

The 10 Days Series is organized by iHomeschool Network, a collaboration of outstanding homeschool bloggers who connect with each other and with family-friendly companies in mutually beneficial projects. Visit us on Facebook, Pinterest, and Twitter. And of course, click the image below to visit all the 10 Days posts from these homeschool moms of the iHomeschool Network. You’ll be blessed with tips on how to handle bad days, cultivating curiosity, teaching with Legos, and much much more!

So, tell me what your homeschool looks like. What are you hoping to take away from lasagna learning?

About Hodgepodgemom

Tricia faces a daily dose of chaos homeschooling five children. The biggest lesson she’s learned? At the end of the day – when the dishes are put away and the children are tucked in bed – truly what matters is each child’s relationship with the Lord. Raising children is a God-given privilege and, folks, the time is short.

Comments

  1. Tricia, I am so excited about reading this series you are writing. Like you, I have multiple ages and multiple learning styles. I LOVE that recipe!!! Blessings!

  2. I’m super excited to read your tips and experiences. I have 4 children, from 4-11, so I am in a similar situation. I love learning from others what works for them!!

  3. Awesome! I always watch you and admire how you “layer” in your homeschool, Tricia. I just love these series!

  4. Rebecca and Christine – so glad to have you fellow homeschoolers along on the lasagna journey. Rebecca – that recipe is a cross-stitch my mother made. I love what a sweet picture of childhood it paints.

  5. Looking forward to the rest of your series Tricia!

  6. This is absolutely glorious! Good job HodgePodge Mama!
    Forever,
    N.

  7. Looking forward to the next 9 days! I have 7 children (one is already in college so 6 left to homeshcool) and I am trying to figure out how to get it all done. We have plenty of time in the last 3 years between 2 pregnancies, babies and my mom having 2 strokes that just trying to get to the 3 R’s have been tough. I feel like my kids are so behind are never going to catch up. Things are starting to get a little better since the youngest 2 are now 16 months and 2 1/2 yrs old. I also have different learning types going on too. My 13 yr old is the creative type and he would rather be doing just about anything rather than school. My 11 yr old daughter LOVES books. And I think my 10 yr old has a slight dyslexia problem going on. Can’t wait to glean from you.

  8. I have 5 kiddos: 8, 5,5,5,4. I will pre-school with the little ones this coming year, the oldest has attention trouble. I am nervous on how it is all going to work. I have tried to start teaching the little ones this last yr and the oldest was working with them instead of doing his own work…ugh….I am looking at FIAR and lots of paper, glue, markers. :) I welcome any advice, I haven’t run into too may mom’s of multiples that homeschool. :( Thank you.

    • I am not an expert with multiples but FIAR is wonderful! For your age range, reading and building memories with a few of the suggested activities. Focus on the 3 Rs mainly and add in FIAR. Starting with the youngest ones always works best for us. Short lessons, even using a timer for 15 minutes. You’d be surprised how much you can accomplish in 15 minutes. I think doing most everything together in sort of a circle time would work best since your children are very close in/the same age. Workboxes might also be a good visual for you and your children. (Your eldest does, of course, need his own grammar, handwriting and math.) And, of course, plenty of prayer! I hope this helps some Lisa.

      • Thank you! I am using workboxes for my oldest, in the process of moving, but I am excited for next year in a new house! Thank you for your help, it encouraged me! blessings to you!

  9. Melissa R. says:

    What a blessing! I so desperately needed to read this today. Thank you.

  10. God’s perfect timing prevails again. I mentioned to you at our first homeschool meeting how I found your blog researching curriculum, esp TOG, and was so blessed by it. The posts I read back then in my “research stage” spoke to my heart and encouraged me. Today after a Really. Bad. Day, I stumble on THIS post, after once again, I randomly Googled solutions to my problem. (I’m just gonna go ahead and subscribe so from now on I can just search my inbox and find what my heart needs to hear much sooner, LOL.) But seriously, thank you for sharing your wisdom and advice with us all. Your sentence: “So, dear homeschool mama, if that is where you are, please pick some gems out over the next two weeks. Bookmark my series, pin it and save the rest for later”, felt like you were writing TO ME. I will start my day tomorrow on my knees and focus on our three R’s.

    • Dianne… I want you to know how much your comment has encouraged me. We have had a week. A real week. And I wondered if we really learned a thing. But He has shown me that we have. I was discouraged and not focused on what I was supposed to share in my homeschool weekly wrap. But now I know. He has shown me through you. So see? You have put a smile on my face this early a.m. Yes, scale back to the basics. Celebrate even the smallest of successes. This is not an easy road, this homeschool life. But it is rewarding. You may not be able to see that now. Sending prayers and hugs to you, my new friend. ~Tricia

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