Are you about to start the wonderful adventure of homeschooling? Do you have multiple children? Are you wondering how in the heck you’re going teach multiple kids?
Homeschooling multiple kids can seem downright daunting to new homeschoolers. Each child is at a different academic level, each has a different learning style, and each child has a different set of strengths and weaknesses (and a few downright challenges). Add a toddler, or a baby to the mix – and you really might be wondering if it’s even possible.
Here’s the good news – it is possible. In fact, some homeschoolers will tell you, it’s not only possible – but it’s not even that difficult. My advice in terms of teaching multiple aged kids at once follows:
- Google and see how other parents are homeschooling multiple children. There are so many great blogs out there with wonderful articles. HowToHomeschool.net has multiple articles on this subject.
- Reach out to other homeschoolers in your area through support groups and homeschool co-ops. I’ve found that seasoned homeschoolers really go out of their way to help new homeschoolers – they want you to succeed.
- Have an “educational” box (some homeschoolers call these “busy” boxes – but really, they should be educational boxes) for your youngest child. Have one for every day of the week you homeschool. Having a different box for each day of the week keeps the content fresh – which keeps your child’s attention longer. These boxes don’t have to be expensive – think garage sales and dollar stores to fill boxes on the cheap – and of course, think “outside of the box” (pun intended) for unique filler ideas.
- Have school with your youngest children right after breakfast. This lets them know they’re important, and as a result, they tend to be less disruptive when you’re teaching your older kids (at least I’ve found this to be true).
- Do the toughest subjects in the morning, when everyone is fresh.
- Combine ages and subjects when possible. This is really a time saver, and the kids learn from each other, and help each other as well. My older kids actually like helping out, and teaching their younger siblings.
- Embrace technology. I know, I know, no one wants their children in front of a screen 24/7. But you do want your kids to be tech savvy. Plus, there are so many educational benefits to computer/tablet time – for all ages of children. Use app time for educational purposes, and as a reward for accomplishing work, helping out, etc.
- Use afternoon time for outside classes, lessons, dual-credit courses, mentoring, etc. End afternoon activities as early in the afternoon as possible – this gives both your kids (and you) plenty of free time before dinner.
It’s not impossible to teach multiple aged kids. In fact, once you get a few months behind you, you might even think it’s a breeze.