So, you’ve thought about homeschooling. Or maybe you’re in the midst of it with child #1, and you can foresee that down the road, somewhere/somehow, child #2’s education is going to get added to your load. Just how do we homeschooling moms teach everyone, all at once? It’s a question that I get asked often! You’re not alone.
It wasn’t too long ago that an American education meant children of all ages gathering into one school building to be taught, all at once. One teacher, many children. And he/she was paid by the parents! Think “Little House on the Prairie” and “Anne of Green Gables”. And it worked!
But how? There are several strategies that we can use!
- Subjects with a broad age range- History, science, languages, art, music, reading out-loud. These are just some subjects that CAN be taught as a group! In our family, we have three sets of children- the itty bitties that are not yet in school, the elementary kids, and the older ones. I tend to lump the two school-aged sets into one group of together-learning for the subjects listed above. It saves time, they love to learn together, and less planning for me! The littlest ones color or play while listening.
- Assigning work- Older children are just more capable of independent work that the younger ones. My high schooler and middle schooler have assignment logs. They are given a quiet space and time to complete their work in the morning. I only assign work that I know they are capable of. I teach anything new that they cannot pick up on their own. For us, this is some math and most of their grammar, spelling, and writing. While the older ones complete work, the younger ones are being taught by me in the next room. I stop to help the older ones as I am needed.
- Reading time. A lifesaver. Assign independent reading time to the older children when you need to work one-on-one with younger students. My high-schooler and middle-schooler read about an hour each day. Also, you can assign an older child to read to a younger child! Win, win!
- Helpers- You can opt to use your much-older children to help a younger child with some school work. We do not do this in our home, usually due to the workload of the older children, but I’ve heard many homeschool mommies love to do this.
- Scheduling, scheduling, scheduling- Our best work is in the afternoon when our littles lay down for a nap! I may have six children, but I am only occupied with four of them during times when I am actually teaching. Also scheduling in a “room time” for littles helps! When there are mornings of constant arguing (yep, happens here too) or just an overall need for peace, I call for Room Time. Such a blessing! The littlest ones spend quiet time, playing alone in their separate rooms. I really can’t talk this one up enough. It’s like heaven. It usually lasts about thirty minutes for us. It’s just enough of a break to allow the older ones to think and the younger ones to have happier, kinder attitudes. We all need some time alone sometimes.
I am posting our family’s schedule below, just as an example (baby was not included). I carefully plan every summer & winter break for how I THINK things will go, then massively change it all as we need to. Whatever works! You will find your groove too!
This is not an exhaustive list! For those of you with multiple students, what are your secrets?