Bridging the (Age) Gap

With blended families, it isn’t all that uncommon for there to be a large age gap. My sister and I are nine years apart, and Little Miss and Care Bear are almost eleven years apart. In a homeschool, it can save time and energy to work on some subjects together, but this becomes harder as the age gap widens.

While it doesn’t make sense to join some subjects with the two girls, there are ways they can both learn things together. As everyone knows, you learn more when you teach, so why not give Care Bear the opportunity to teach? As I talked about in my post about kids helping kids, it teaches the older siblings parenting skills to help out with younger siblings. Of course, there are other opportunities as well. Here’s just a few:

Bridging the age gap– Page through youth encyclopedias. Usborne encyclopedias are my favorite, with DK Publishing coming in a close second. Little Miss is interested in the bright and interesting pictures, and Care Bear can read the captions to learn more about that item.

– Read alouds are great for bringing together readers and non-readers. Even if the book does not contain any new vocabulary or ideas, just picking apart the artwork in a well made book can provide an educational opportunity on the use of art as a way to tell a story. I LOVE Kane Publishing books for their preschool age story books. They bring together authors from around the world and the illustrations are magnificent  The only way I know to get Kane Publishing books are through an Usborne books consultant.

Bridging the age gap– Head to the museum. The same concept applies that the little one can show interest in something, and there’s typically more information for the older child to soak in also. If two adults go, you can even split ways so both kids can go where they are most interested.

– Have the older child teach the younger child how to do simple tasks. Being able to instruct someone else with concise words is a skill in itself! How often do we use filler words (like, so yeah, you know, etc) and we aren’t clear with what we say the first time around? I remember in high school we had to do a writing unit on how to write instructions and that was probably the toughest one I had to do! You want to say things as clearly with as little words as possible. Being choosy of our words is definitely a skill our family is working on!

Do you have other tips for how to bring learning to both the very young, and the growing youth?

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