3. Sonlight D and Later: Really? Use the Same Program?
As you probably know, younger children have a shorter attention span, and a smaller vocabulary. Fine motor skills are still developing. The basics of decoding (early reading) happen at some age between 3 and 8, but by age 8, most are starting to read.
By about age 8, the basics of education are usually well begun. In my experience, I don't think attention spans are terribly different between ages 8 and 10, and although vocabulary recognition will continue to expand, an 8-year-old knows a good bit more than a 5-year-old. And, at eight, the child has almost twice the number of years of living experience to draw from.
Thus, from Sonlight D on, Sonlight's programs can be used by an even wider range of ages than the earlier grades. D, for example, works for children ages 8, 9, 10, and 11, and sometimes even older (or younger), depending on the needs of the family.
If you think about it, once Reading and Writing are well begun, two children in two different grades can do the same assignment, like "write a book report." The older child will hopefully have more complex sentence structure and better spelling, but it's not like a book report itself will change much from third to fifth grade.
If your family has two later-elementary aged children, consider combining them.
It is absolutely possible to use Sonlight D and up with more than one child, even if they are spread apart in age.
I like how my friend Judy put it.
Part of the reason you can spread out the age range from Sonlight D and above is because up until that point, children are learning to read, so their brains are focused on phonics and comprehension and foundational concepts. But once they are reading independently (usually by about Sonlight D), then they are reading to learn. Now it doesn't matter as much that a book is "too easy," or not "challenging" enough. Instead, it's all about content. Beautiful prose and a compelling story are far superior to sophisticated vocabulary or number of pages at that point.
John and Sarita's oldest daughter
Homeschooling mom to five
P.S. Still not sure how this works? Send me your questions, and I'll see if I can explain it more clearly!