I now have five kids in the house. My two, my nephew and niece and the new one, the daughter of my sister's roommates. I love it. All of them are good, intelligent, curious kids. The ages are 10, 7, 6, 6, and 4 and it seems to be a magical range. When I want to leave them to play they split up peacefully or tumble around in one group. When I want to do math or science (I've just decided to involve them in our homeschooling) then again, they either split up easily or tumble together in a joyous group.
Having this mix finally gave me the perfect opportunity to try out The Great Story curricula available at The Great Story.
This curricula is aimed at giving kids a real sense of the age of the universe and of the role evolution plays in our lives and cosmic history. It involves some ceremony and is aimed at a religious audience but it's not specifically Christian and doesn't seem to posit any Creator or God. It definitely has something of a spiritual feel but has lots of room for believers and atheists alike.
I read through the first lesson, collected the children, found a comfortable chair and went to it. The first lesson starts with a glass of water and a picture of a water molecule. The aim is to talk about the hydrogen, move on to discuss when hydrogen was formed (the Big Bang) and then, through understanding that it's in water and we are made of mostly water, that a part of every person is 14 billion years old. It's big stuff but all the kids seemed equal to at least the wonder of it, if not always the facts.
One of the best things about this program is that it's discussion based. Activities involve movements and song and there's not a worksheet in the whole thing. No tests either. Just wonder and fun which seems exactly the right approach when dealing with the creation and evolution of the universe and life.