I forgot to include in my science report about how it all fits in for the littles. Here you go.
Last year, I experimented with having all four kids study the same subjects for history and science. They weren’t necessarily reading the same books or doing the same assignments, but they were on approximately the same topics. I loved it. Totally sold. The sanity factor is just there. 100% there.
–> I’ll discuss the elaborate strategy I worked out for Kolbe’s history courses in my next installment. But what about science?
I decided to let the boy — 6th grade, and very comfortable reading for information on his own — do his own thing with the purple book, and not worry about coordinating him. The independence (translation: labor saving) we gained by going with a textbook and student-readable course plans was worth the loss in academic camaraderie. He tends to be studying his own thing anyhow.
For the girls, I used the 4th grade text as my outline for the year. I went through the course plans and picked out the main topic week by week, and used it to write up a general outline of subjects to study with the littles. I have enough odds and ends of science-y books that mostly I can work out of the home library to find some read alouds on the topic of the week.
When we do hands-on work, all three girls end up participating, regardless of who the assignment was intended for. (And usually there is a boy lurking in the background as well.)
Separate note: What happens on all those Mondays that the kids don’t do the goofy “investigation” called for in the textbook? The boy likes to use that as his excuse to play with the microscope. Which means the girls want to look, too. The kids are big fans of using educational activities as a delaying tactic to avoid their other assignments. I think I spend 25% of my parenting time telling the kids to quit helping each other and do their own work.