Can I use your middle school courses with younger students?

Suppose you have a 3rd grader, a 5th grader with learning challenges, and a 7th grader who is ready to be more independent. Should you use two separate Notgrass History curriculum options? Or can you choose one curriculum and use it with all of your children?

Using Separate Curriculum for Different Ages

We design all of our curriculum so that it will work with students of a variety of ages and learning styles. Our elementary curriculum is designed for students in grades 1 to 4. Our middle school curriculum is designed for students in grades 5 to 8. Of course, for students in 4th or 5th grade, it gets a little fuzzy, and they could often successfully use either option.

In the scenario above, you could use Our Star-Spangled Story with your 3rd grader and your 5th grader and use America the Beautiful with your 7th grader. The younger two can enjoy learning together while the older child can take on more responsibility and do most of the course independently. You will all be studying American history at roughly the same pace, and you can enjoy family activities, field trips, and historical movie nights together.

This option does require you to purchase two curriculum packages. But lesson planning is not much more difficult, because Notgrass History is basically open and go. You will need to plan ahead for getting the literature titles (unless you purchase the full bundle) and collect the supplies needed for the family activities you choose to do.

Using One Curriculum for the Whole Family

Homeschooling is a family affair, and we encourage opportunities for children of all ages to learn together. In the scenario described above, you could use one of our middle school courses for a 3rd, 5th, and 7th grader. Let's pick Uncle Sam and You as an example.

Students in early elementary can certainly listen to a parent (or older sibling) read the lessons out loud. Some of the primary source readings might go over their heads, but that's okay. The review material might be challenging, too, but they can skip that. The family activities related to holidays are fun for everyone to do together. And the recommended literature is great for family read-aloud time.

If you use one of our middle school courses with a younger student, they may not get as much out of it as an older student. You could save that curriculum and use it again in 3-4 years when the younger kids are ready to think about the content at a deeper level while the older student is doing high school level material.

What's Best for Your Family?

As we mentioned before, there is not one right answer. You know your children and your family situation best. Here are some final thoughts to keep in mind.

  • Older children need opportunities to demonstrate maturity and responsibility by taking on more challenging academic options that require some level of independence. Don't hold an older child back by tailoring all of your studies to the needs of younger siblings.
  • Meanwhile, younger children need opportunities to learn things at their own level. Don't feel pressured to rush them ahead to more advanced topics and material that they aren't ready for. We have lessons about World War II in all of our history courses, for example, but we focus on different things that are age-appropriate for each level.
  • You're not going to ruin your children if you make a "wrong" curriculum choice. If you try using one curriculum with all the kids and it doesn't work, that's okay. If you try using more than one curriculum and it doesn't work, that's okay. Homeschooling is about much more than one year or one curriculum purchase. It's about your journey of faith, discovery, and celebration with your family.

We are glad to answer questions or offer advice on your specific situation. Please contact us in the way most convenient for you.