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Thread: Help with multiple ages

  1. #1

    Default Help with multiple ages


    Feeling rather a newbie as I've not posted in a forum before but I'm really after some help! Next year I have children 14, 12, 8, 4 and 2 and with the exception of the oldest who is currently working (mostly independently) towards GCSEs, I was hoping to use FIAR.

    My past experience has been some units from vol 4 with the older 2 when they were 7 or 8 which we all enjoyed, and an attempt at BFIAR vol 2 the following year which didn't work at all well for my oldest, as well as FIAR vol 1 and 2 with the middle one a couple of years ago.

    Looking at the recommended ages, I see that I'd have one child in each programme from Above&Beyond right down to Before, but my brain cannot cope with that many different threads, particularly with the rabbit trail learning that occurs with them. I'm thinking of putting the 12 and 8 into BFIAR vol 1 as we have the books available, and they've both read them several times. I thought working together might help relationships, while also giving the elder a chance to do more independent research in preparation for Above the following year. Then I could use FIAR with my 4 year old, who is school-age here, with the little one listening in and being involved as she can. Schooling during naptime is not a possibility so I have all 5 around to look after. Even planning 2 separate levels seems a challenge to me at the moment!

    Has anyone else successfully used FIAR with such an age range? I see plenty of larger families with children closer in age but not spanning the whole range of FIAR books! I'm really hoping to make this work to simplify schooling. I've struggled so much this past year with burnout...


  2. #2
    Join Date
    Feb 2007


    Hi Liz Welcome to FIAR

    I completely understand your hesitation. Over the years, I've found that when I have too many thing going on, I do nothing well so I would want to group mine together as much as possible, too.

    Did you do all of Vol. 4, including the newer digital units? I know some people start with Beyond by mixing Vol. 4 and Beyond -- do a novel with Beyond and then 2 or 3 Vol. 4 units. Maybe that would work on keeping your 8 year old's interest a bit more? The 12 year old could do some extra research on some of the Vol. 4 topics? Vol. 4 (and the digital units -- The Bravest of us All, The Tree Lady, Paper Lanterns...) are fabulous

    I'd say doing Before FIAR or FIAR (easier books) with your 4 year old would be perfectly fine

    Glad you chimed in. Keep asking questions if you have more!
    Wife to Jim and Mama to Katie (1/01), Mattie (9/02), Cale (4/05), and Ben (8/08)

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Feb 2007


    Welcome, Liz!

    Yes, there are many options for you!

    First, as an FYI Above and Beyond has only one unit and it took us about 8 weeks to work through. Some families take longer. You will probably not fill an entire year with it.

    Your 12yo and Beyond sound Becky has some planning info here:

    With my boys, I used Beyond to teach more independent learning. I would write out the lesson plans, but with each unit I let them own the work a little more. My boys preferred to read the books themselves. I would sit down and plan the entire book in one sitting. It would take me an hour or two, but then the lessons were ready to go. My general rule was 2 chapters per week. Some chapters take more than two days and some take only one. I'd leave Fridays open for recipes or finishing projects. It was helpful for me to be able to plot it all out in one sitting and they they were set to learn for a month or two.

    With your other two children, you have several options. However, since you already feel overwhelmed and burned out, I would suggest picking two levels total with all of your kids. Your 8yo could do Beyond, Volume 4, or FIAR (Volume 1-3). Your 4yo could do Before or FIAR (Volume 1-3). Have you looked at Rainbow Resource? They have a lot of great samples from each volume so you can get a better feel for each level.

    If you have more questions, let us know.
    Hollie, Special Needs Forum Moderator
    Wife to my best friend Tom and mom to 20yo Eli, 18yo Kyle, and 14yo Noah (with Down syndrome)
    If a child can't learn the way we teach, maybe we should teach the way they learn. Ignacio Estrada

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Feb 2007


    You have so many options - I know you can find one that will work and not be overwhelming!

    We did Above and Beyond for 8th grade (with my daughter) and it took one semester. She did it mostly independently.

    I've used Beyond for 4th grade - 6th grade, and some years I've alternated it with Vol. 4. All of this worked well. You could easily stretch it to 7th grade if you wanted to.

    I agree with Hollie - pick two levels and give it a try for one semester. You can always switch things up if something isn't working.
    "Ree-bee," Mom to former United States Marine ds and math teacher DIL * artist dd 20 * motion-loving ds 17 * piano-playing ds 12
    "For Miss Minnie loved children and she loved books, and she taught merely by introducing the one to the other." from "A Consent," by Wendell Berry

  5. #5


    Thank you for your help. I think I'd come to the conclusion that 2 levels would be all I'd manage! Now I just need to decide which two... So difficult when they all look good

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