I am often asked how I am able to teach to two different age levels. For homeschool families with more than two children, most of them have found ways to overcome this. For the rest of you, I will share how we manage it. There really isn’t any big secret – just a little bit of common sense. Certain subjects like math, for example, are taught individually – ie: each student works through their own math text for each appropriate grade or learning level. Other subjects, like history, science, and geography (and even some language arts) can be what I refer to as “cross taught”. In other words we conduct our learning on those latter subjects as a group – and in our case it’s only a group of two. I simply expect either less or more of the said younger or older student depending on what assignment we’re working on.
One of the latest geography books we’re using this year is called Window on the World, by: Spragget and Johnstone. What I love about this book is it makes cross teaching world geography very simple. The book features roughly one hundred countries around the world (one country per page), and offers up a brief but interesting synopsis of each country and their corresponding people groups. Presently we have placed the names of all these countries in our geography jar, and two or three times a week one of these names is drawn randomly . The country is located on both a world map, and the globe. If the interest is there, then related library books about the country’s people, customs, culture, religious beliefs, resources, and native plants & animals are borrowed and read as well. To track our progress around the globe a colored dot is placed on a wall map of the world. To take this a step further, you can give your student an opportunity (if they like to draw) to draw their own map of some of the countries – rather than coloring in a black line map. Use your imagination and creativity to make it fun!
I’ve been amazed at just how much the kids are remembering on their own and are starting to naturally point out things they see in their own environment about some of the countries they’ve explored in this book. New Zealand alone has triggered such observations as New Zealand lamb (at the grocery store), a new Zealand bird – the kiwi (in their bird book), New Zealand Wool (in a clothing label) – and of course their personal favorite: the location of the filming of The Chronicles of Narnia, the movie. They even made their own observations at just how far these young actors had to travel from their home country England all the way to New Zealand to film this movie.
Overall I highly recommend this book to further the study of geography in your own home learning environment. If your kids are tired of map books, why not try something different? Your little globe trotters will thank you – and you just might learn a thing or two you never new before either. Happy trotting!