|Photo Credit: Allison@TotusTuusFamily|
By Maureen Wittmann
One the struggles homeschoolers often face is teaching children in multiple grades. The hardest part for me in homeschooling multiple children was when they were all little. When I had a 7, 5, 3, and 1 year old. Everyone needed my constant attention and no one was quite ready to work independently.
First, I had to learn to relax a bit. The best advice I ever got was from my friend Becky, which was “Skip kindergarten.” Instead of using a heavy curriculum at that tender age, the children and I played together and read together. We got outside and explored, we got on the floor and built blocks, we cooked together, and read endlessly. These are all things that can be done with babies in tow and littles attached to your leg.
I learned to work around nap times, I read while nursing the baby, and I figured out how to make play educational.
There were times when I had to let go of an orderly house. Like the day when the 3-year old pulled all the books off the book shelves while I helped the 7-year old with a science experiment at the kitchen table.
Another idea that worked at my house was to combine talents with a homeschooling friend. One of you can work with the littles, while the other works with older children.
As your children get older, you’ll find homeschooling multiples gets much easier. First, teach them to work independently. Encourage them to learn and discover on their own. Make sure they see your joy in learning yourself to encourage them.
Figure out what subject works well in your family across the ages. For my family, that was history. We studied history together as a family, while adjusting independent reading and assignments to their grade level.
Finally, have older siblings help younger siblings. For example, I have a daughter who was a big help to me by working with the younger kids in math. Not only did it free up my time, but helped reinforce her own lessons. We learn best by teaching, right? In fact, that daughter recently graduated from college with a degree in mathematics.
Leave a comment if you have other ideas for helping parents working with many children of multiple ages.