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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
How is your experience with your kids age gaps and schooling. I'm due with babe #2 a week after dd's 4th birthday and we are for sure homeschooling. We've been doing "tot school" and preschool since she was 1. I am a little bit worried about how to teach my babies who will be on totally different levels though. Do you teach them separately? Which subjects do you bundle up? Any advice or experiences would be wonderful!
 

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Welcome to the MDC Homeschooling community :love

My kids are 4, almost 8, and 11. We are mostly unschoolers:grin: So just my 2 cents.

Young children learn all the time. Taking care of a baby brother or sister is a great way to learn!

As far as age differences and learning...to me it is all good. We are big on audio books in the car. We listen to simple stories all the way to Shakespeare's McBeth. We also learn from life. The younger are right there with the older. :nerd:

Take time to keep doing what you are doing. But also let life happen and see where it takes you.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Thanks. I'm really excited, I think it will be the perfect age gap for us, the more I think about it. Your right she's already learned so much with just pregnancy talk around Her. I think it's going to be really good for both of them to learn together. I love homeschooling already!
 

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i have a 7 year old and a 2.5 year old. nice big gap.. you know what they play along very well. For them, the little kid is a toy (like the one to be loved). The elder and her friends have great fund with the little one.
I am not sure what happens when they are older. But so far so good!
 

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My eldest children three were about 2.5 years apart each, and them my youngest came just over four years later. They are mostly grown now (youngest is 14). My thoughts...

If your plan is to 'teach' in the traditional sense of using a school-like approach to dispense curricular information and teach skills incrementally according to age-oriented expectations, you will simply need to be organized about having levelled material for each child most of the time. One child can be practicing printing (using the materials the older sibling used a few years ago) while the other is doing copy-work in cursive. One will do addition and subtraction with manipulatives while the other is working through a sheet of multi-digit multiplication. You may find that there are some subjects (eg. hands-on science, second language) where the main focus is on the older one but the younger one is benefitting enough from being in the slip-stream that you don't feel there is any need to provide a separate lesson plan.

If on the other hand you are willing to let your home-learning evolve into a more child-led approach, you may find that there is no longer an issue to be solved. Younger siblings will pick all sorts of things up (not necessarily when you expect ... often earlier, and often in an unexpected sequence) from being around older children who are curious and excited to be leading their own learning. Older children will thrive on being leaders, discovering, introducing, organizing younger siblings, casting them as players in their theatrical worlds, teaching them explicitly, being the model of competence, integrating their own learning as they share it naturally with a little person who looks up to them.

The latter approach is the one my family used. What little explicit teaching I did was typically by direct request from an enthusiastic and focused child, who would often inspire one or more siblings to work away in parallel. Because of the focus and enthusiasm, such teaching was taken in extremely efficiently and was well-retained and it was easy to flit from child A to B giving occasional prompts or suggestions. Still, far more of their learning was from self-directed exploration, conversation and family-based experiences. Learning didn't need to be engineered by me: it was inevitable in an environment full of busy minds and reasonable amounts of parental facilitation. Each child gravitated to learning at the level they were developmentally and intellectually ready for.

On a related note, beware of the common wisdom about the benefits or challenges of particular age-gaps between siblings. People may tell you that siblings tend to be closer, or more distant, or collaborative play more or less likely, depending on the age-gap. Not only are there all sorts of variables based on personality, but almost all these generalizations are based on observations of children who go to school. School children form identities apart from home and family that are based on a tightly age-levelled hierarchical system. Schooled siblings who are close have to overcome the influence of a school culture that says that 4th graders are smarter and better than kindergarteners. Home-learners have no such biases to overcome.

Cheers!

Miranda
 
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