Today’s Guest Post is coming to you from Michelle, of Family, Faith and Fridays. Michelle is another military wife (whoop whoop), a fellow crewbie (which means you can find some rad homeschool reviews over on her blog) and is just an all around awesome person. Michelle and I don’t get together to chat much, but I “see her around” the blog-o-sphere and on forums, and she’s always been such a friendly, uplifting support for me, especially when I get to whining about all of the challenges of military life.
Michelle just knows what she’s doing, and she shares her experience and wisdom in a really relate-able way. Today, she has a post to share with you on how to pull of homeschooling kids in multiple grade levels. Personally, I struggle figuring out how to teach my 2.5 kids (because preschool is only half the hassle)… so I am hanging on to this post for dear life!
Enjoy it, and please do leave Michelle some love when you’re finished reading!
Schooling multiple children is at best, challenging. But multiple children all at different grade levels, well, at times it can be maddening. BUT, it can be done with a little planning, strategizing, and well, maybe some extra prayers!
We are one of those families. Four kids all spread out. It seemed like a good idea at the time. But, yes, it can make day to day schooling a challenge. Currently we have a college student, a highschooler, a middle schooler and an elementary kiddo. Some days, keeping track of them all can make my head spin. Luckily, we have found through the years some things that help make the day run more smoothly.
Teach some subjects together.
For us, Bible has been the easiest to do this with. With programs such as Apologias’s Worldview Series and Bible Study Guide for All Ages, you can study as a family. We have found this is a great way to start our day off on the right foot. We have also studied Science and History together as well in the past. For both, it is easy to read the information together and then have children notebook and complete other activities at their particular level.
Teach some subjects separately.
I know, I know, I am contradicting myself but stick with me for a moment. Some things are just better taught separately for several reasons. Math is one of those for us. Yes, there may have been times where a child could have been pushed ahead while one was pulled back slightly but you have to ask yourself at what cost. I want my kids to feel good about and comfortable with the level they are at. I question what it does to the confidence of an older child when their many-years-younger sibling is doing the same work they are. Be careful of the messages you are sending, just to make your life easier.
Make use of computers.
There was a day I would not have said that, believe me. But in this day in time, there are just too many good online programs out there to ignore. This CAN work to our advantage. While one of my sons does Teaching Textbooks math on the computer, I can work with the other son. Then they swap out and it allows me dedicated time with the other. Using computers also breaks the monotony of workbook page after workbook page!
Make use of multiple spaces.
We have had a school room in several homes that were picture perfect. And for a season they worked for us. But we have found that they older the kids get, the more of a distraction they are to each other. Maybe it is just that their work is more difficult and therefore takes more concentration, but for whatever reason, gone are our days of all sitting at the same table together. Sad, but true. Instead, at any given time in our day, you will find our kids spread all over the house. Some in their bedrooms, some in the kitchen and some at the home computer. And yes, occasionally one outside soaking in the sun while reading. No one stays one place for long it seems, but it works for us.
Schedule individual mom time.
In our home, our older children are pretty independent learners. That does not mean however, they are unsupervised. We have time built into our school schedule that they meet with me to go over any questions they may have, check work and just connect. Multiple grades mean multiple needs and by a daily mom time, I can better make sure those needs are being met.
Appreciate each stage.
I am going to be honest here and tell you, this is a hard one for me. There are certain grades that I just like teaching more than others. There are certain ages that I enjoy more than others. I have to remind myself that there are blessings and even fun in ALL the ages and stages and to appreciate them for what they are. Don’t get so caught up in one, that you fail to enjoy another.
Whether two or twenty, schooling different ages can be a challenge. But with a little effort and planning you can do it! And do it well.