“How do I effectively home school history with two (or more) kids when they’re at different learning levels?” is a common question we hear from customers.  What’s the best way to approach this? Mari asks the question and Kate has the answer.

Hi Kate,

Your history guides look amazing!  I’m new to homeschooling and I’m curious what you think about doing Level 1 Ancients with my 3rd grader and Level 2 Ancients with my 6th grader next year. They are both really great readers.  We will be new to homeschooling and their social studies to date hasn’t been that amazing.

So I guess my question is two-fold: will these be appropriate texts for them (given that I see they are targeted at 1st and 5th); and, insofar as you have an opinion, does it make it better or worse to have two kids learning about the same time period in the same house at two different grade levels?  

Thank you for your help!


Hi Mari,

I’m glad you found us! I recommend all newcomers to History Odyssey study guides read this article. History Odyssey is a different approach to learning and this article helps explain how it works.

You’re on the right track with choosing Level 1 for your 3rd grader and Level 2 for your 6th grader.  We recommend that siblings study the same time period in history even if they are at different levels.

Level 1 and Level 2 do not follow each other lesson-by-lesson because they use different spines and Level 2 is more in depth. But, if your children are studying the same time period then you can have family discussions, share readings and literature, help each other with map work, and do extracurricular activities together like watching documentaries or visiting museums. Keep in mind that Level 1 guides serve as teacher guides so you can teach the course to your child, while Level 2 guides are independent and speak to the student directly. In other words, there is much less for you to do as the teacher with Level 2.

As far as the level of difficulty goes, that really depends on your children and their experience with history and language arts. If like you said, they haven’t had much formal history and if they are beginning writers, then Ancients is a good place to start. The Ancients course for Level 1 and Level 2 is the most basic for its level. The courses do get progressively more difficult as you move through the time periods. So the Ancients course for both levels requires minimal reading, writing, and research.


If your children have more solid writing and literature backgrounds and you feel the Ancients courses may be too easy, you might want to consider starting with Middle Ages or even Early Modern. You could move on from there in the following years. They will circle back around when they reach the next level of instruction to learn Ancients, so there’s no need to worry that they won’t learn about ancient civilizations!

The best way to figure out what will work is to download a “Try Before You Buy” for those courses and do a side-by-side comparison.

You can also ask people who are already using History Odyssey study guides in the History Odyssey facebook group. I believe there is a document there that a customer created that synchronizes Ancients Levels 1 and 2.

I hope that helps. I know deciding where to start can be difficult, but honestly, it doesn’t matter that much where you begin. Base your starting point on your children’s abilities and pick a time period that they (and you) are interested in. Then move on to the next time period the following year.

I thank you for considering Pandia Press and History Odyssey study guides. I wish you all the best with your homeschool.

Kate Johnson