We were pretty structured for a while. Mine had come out of school and I was a school teacher into the bargain, so it seemed the easiest thing! there's just a bit under 4 years between my two so quite an age gap.
I used to plan stuff for DD1 and DD2 did the same thing, but often at a lower level, if that makes sense. Most things can be done at different levels. So any Science, Geography, History etc we did, they both did. But DD1 would draw more out of it, and look at it in greater depth. English work once again we would do the same thing, but what DD2 produced was at a much lower level. It's surprisingly easy to get two vastly different age children doing the same thing. Even maths can be done with topics the same, difficulty adjusted.
It did mean that DD2 covered a lot of what would be considered secondary school work when she was only Year 4 or 5. But she coped, and enjoyed it. If you look at the national curriculum, it's incredibly repetitive. They cover the same old topics over and over again, just adding a bit more depth each year. So it was fairly easy to adjust down for DD2. She did end up taking Physics IGCSE at 11 and looking very impressive (not that she's ever used it for anything lol) because DD1 was doing it, she enjoyed it and seemed to be able to cope with it. Some busybodies people had a go at me for hot housing her, but nothing could be further from the truth. She just saw what DD1 was doing, thought it looked fun and wanted to do it too.
Now DD1 is at college doing A levels and I only have 13 year old DD2 at home. Most structure went out of the window quite some while back! I think this is a common story
Having thought about this a bit more i would also say that it very much depends on the children - how old they are and their personalities. Some kids don't respond as well to structure as others. My dd and my ds are poles apart in this respect.
I tend to sit down and talk through something with one child and then sit and chat to the other one afterwards. We have things that they can do without needing me to supervise such as music practice or their Rosetta Stone. They very rarely do the same subject at the same time.
Ok so I have reached the stage where I am seriously thinking about going the HE route. There is little chance of getting my children into the local school, the journeys are too much financially and timewise for the children, and I'm losing faith in the school they are in now anyway.
My main question is how you cater to different ages in the same room when you are going for the more structured type of education?
I know a lot go the free flow route with no fixed lessons but I think I will do better with a familiar school type structure and so will the children. I am envisioning turning my dining room into a mini classroom - yes I'm uptight like that ;) but am thinking I can't sort of 'teach', as it were, a lesson with the same subject matter as each child is on a different level so do I not try and teach together or give them workbooks/sheets or something to do and help as needed?