5 Tips for Homeschooling Multiple Kids
5 Tips for Homeschooling Multiple Kids
Before I started homeschooling, I didn’t see how it was even possible to effectively homeschool more than one child, or more than one grade level. But as I’ve grown into this thing called homeschooling, I’ve discovered a few handy tips for other moms like myself, who have multiple children they are trying to teach.
Homeschooling involves lots of patience, many cups of coffee, and a crazy amount of love! Without keeping your mind and heart focused on your reason for homeschooling, it can quickly go from life-giving, to burdensome.
Having more than one or two children can quickly make teaching feel overwhelming. You cannot be everything to everyone during the day. To keep you sane, and your kids on track these 5 tips can be a lifesaver!
1) Do as much together as a group as possible. In order to grasp this, you may have to tell your brain that traditional classrooms per grade level are NOT the only way to learn. That is just one of the ways children can learn. For example, our family lumps our eight, nine and ten year old’s together for history, science & read aloud’s. I lump all five kids together for Bible.
The more you do together, the less you have to do individually.
Most curriculum’s can be tweaked to accommodate this. You should try to combine classes that aren’t totally grade specific. Classes like history, science and Bible can sometimes be combined (depending on your age range). Younger kids absorb so much, even if the curriculum is over their heads for the most part, they will learn some of it.
Unit studies are a great idea for various ages. You can have the younger kids do less in theirs, and more coloring than research, while the bigger kids do a more intensive study. They are all learning the same topic but at their own speeds and levels. Unit studies are a fun and easy way to really dig into a specific topic and make a project at the same time.
2) While one group (or child) works independently or has a break, work with another child. It gives you one-on-one time with each child by freeing your brain from a million questions from the rest of the kids who all need help. I like to give my older kids a break while I work with my kindergartner and preschooler. The older kids can very easily occupy themselves, and the younger ones absolutely need my complete attention in order to retain anything whatsoever.
Older children (third grade and above) should have the reading and comprehension skills needed to do some of their work on their own without too much help from mom. Younger kids in preschool, kindergarten and the early years need more help to keep them on track. It seems to work best to keep their learning in short bursts to keep them from getting too frustrated and “over-done.”
If your child has a passion for Lego’s (I think every boy over the age of four does!) then use Lego’s to help him (or her) learn math skills and letters. Lego’s as an example can be used to create letters, help with counting, and colors and shapes.
Use what they love to get them interested in learning.
3) Remember that each child is a little smarter than their younger sibling, because they’ve learned more. They have wisdom to share with the next child (or children) down. Use them! Let them help answer a math question or do flashcards with a sibling. Occasionally this is ineffective as a fight or quarrel will breakout. But usually I’ve found that the older child loves the power, and the little one feels blessed by the attention.
Reading is a really easy way for an older child to help a younger sibling. Let them read a book about the topic you are discussing, or help them read directions for a math paper. Your younger child can dictate a story and the older child can write it out, or draw a picture of it.
Homeschooling is a fantastic way to build family unity. Don’t forget to invest in the family unit by allowing them to help each other.
4) Organization is key! Keeping your books and worksheets organized is so very important. If you live in a state that requires documentation (like I do), you also need to be organized to show your evaluator all that you’ve done this year. Stay organized as you go, do not procrastinate and tell yourself you’ll get to it on your next break. Believe me…it never happens! Something will inevitably come up. I try to go a week at a time, making sure I have my grades recorded, days we did school marked, and that we are staying on track with our curriculum.
Taking the time to get organized can be a challenge. This may be one good excuse to cancel school for the day while you work on organizing things, or a great time to pull out an educational video and let that be history class for the day.
Having an organized space not only helps orchestrate an environment of learning, but it also is inviting, pleasant to be in, and much less stressful for the entire family.
5) Take time out for project days. Sometimes it can be so hard to stray from the detailed outlined schedule, but I have found that the days I do break free from the order of it all, are the days my kids remember. For example my older three daughters have been studying the Incans and Aztecs. So today we took a break from reading (the boring book as they call it) and we made homemade clay, and built an Aztec city. They had a great time, and tomorrow they can paint it.
I know projects are work for you as the mom. But if you plan a project that all the kids can do (even if they are different) it can be so freeing to just work at something other than workbooks and quizzes. Homeschooling provides many freedoms and has so many advantages that traditional schools do not. Have fun with projects. Go crazy! Get supplies and make a cool poster, an erupting volcano, recreate a battle from the Civil War. Whatever your subject invest in it, and allow yourself the freedom to spend a day (or more) on nothing but the project.