How does homeschooling work when teaching different grades and ages? Once you learn how to write lesson plans for a top notch Christian education, teaching is fairly simple. And as you know your children best, you’re able to convey information to them in a way they’ll understand it. Because Biblical Principles apply to all ages and all people, adding them to your homeschool curriculum is rich and easy. And this is the case whatever you use for the spine of your student’s education.
Do keep in mind that there are two aspects to this. For one, there is what we call the together school portion of the lesson. For two, the ability for students to branch off a bit and work at their individual levels. While this is somewhat abstract at the moment, keep reading to see how easily this applies.
The Leading Idea
For the sake of ease, I’ll be referring to the Noah Plan® curriculum overviews because it’s what we use. But whatever your curriculum, you’ll want to pin point the Leading Idea of the lesson. In other words, you want to identify the theme of the lesson. In doing so, this helps to organize your thoughts. And it allows for you to share with your students what they are going to learn about. It’s the frame of the lesson while the content is the body of the lesson.
The Biblical Principle
This is the heart of the lesson. And it’s the case for any subject you’re teaching. If the Leading Idea is the frame and the content is the body, then Biblical Principles are the pulse that make the lessons come alive. Indeed, they give life to your students because they’re learning about the very source of life. They’re learning about the very character, essence, and nature of God.
In the event that you haven’t read other articles about this topic, let’s take a quick moment to go over the purpose. Primarily, we want to help our children:
- Recognize God’s Providential Hand in the lives of men and nations,
- See that Christ is the focal point of history,
- To think cause to effect,
- Ask questions,
- Converse about ideas and actions,
- Research and reason from Scripture,
- Grow in their faith in God,
- Learn how to articulate well what they learn,
- Keep a record of their education.
In the Style of Charlotte Mason
Lessons don’t have to be unbearably long. Nor do they have to be broad. But suit the length and depth to your student’s abilities. While dealing with several grades and ages, it’s fine to start out with where the youngest student is at. This not only lays a foundation or serves as a reminder for everyone in the lesson, it also gives you the ability to go deeper.
Relax and Enjoy
Notably, this method of education makes your child’s Christian education a cut above the rest. Does the word method make you freeze? Does it sound too constraining? And does it make it difficult for you to picture how to transition from the lesson plans into giving the lesson? Remember, the method gives you the ability create content that becomes your guide for discussion.
Taking time to chat about the topic throughout the lesson is huge. Dialogue doesn’t have to take place at the very end of the lesson. For us, I like to pause here and there and let my students ask questions. Often times, several of them want to take some time to process the content. And that’s fine. But sometimes when I start asking questions, they’ll think of some as we talk. For instance, “Where can we see God’s Providential Hand in this situation?” Or, “What made such and such happen and what is the result of that idea or action?” It’s helpful to have some question prompts on hand. These are what we refer to as Reason and Relate questions. Also, they’re what you may have your students write down and answer.
A Simple Example
Download and print this info graphic.
Teaching with Biblical Principles, as you may know, is also known as the Principle Approach® method. Not only is it the Biblical model of classical education, it’s a Hebraic form of education, and it’s America’s historical method of education. And one of the beauties about it is that it’s very conversational.
First thing to remember, is that it’s natural to begin with something like, “Today we’re talking about [whatever topic]. And the Biblical Principle of [this Bible verse that corresponds] teaches us [this about what God has to say on this topic].” Now pausing here for a moment, let’s appreciate how Biblical Principles resonate with even the smallest child. And then continue with either sharing from your narration of your own studies. Or read directly from the resource you’re learning from. I have to say that narrating it can make it much more lively for your children. Especially if you go with a story format.
Branching Off to Work at Skill Level
After you read or narrate the same introduction information with your students, you can give notebook pages to your students. The notebook pages can be either graphic organizers, a narration from the lesson, or notes that your student takes. In either case, you can decide the following according to individual abilities:
- Which notebook page you want your students to use. And the notebook pages you give may vary among them according to how you want them to record from the lesson.
- The Reason and Relate questions that you give to your students.
- Skill level writing and/or reading assignments.
- Memory work according to your child’s abilities.
(There are several examples of lessons and notebook pages found in our free Caterpillar Members’ Club area.)
The Journey is Worth It
Sure, it takes some time out of your schedule to go digging for Bible Principles that relate to your topic. But what treasures there are to be found. In my personal journey, it has been worth the time and the effort. I’ve been learning right along side my children and I wouldn’t have it any other way.
Thank you for allowing me to share with you. And I hope you find this helpful and inspiring.