Are you struggling to homeschool multiple children in different grades? Have you thought about homeschooling your children but you feel overwhelmed at the thought of homeschooling multiple children? If you answered yes to either one of these questions this post is for you.
When I first started homeschooling I had absolutely NO idea what I was doing. I just knew that I wanted to keep trying until I got it right. Our days were very LONG at first because I had to keep looking back at abbreviations in my teachers book because I had no idea what they meant. It took forever to prepare a lesson, even when I did most of the preparing at night while the kids were in bed. This will probably vary for you depending on what curriculum you use and how you decide to homeschool. We chose to use Abeka Book. It is a Christian curriculum and my husband was homeschooled and his mom used it, so he already knew it was a great curriculum.
Our day always starts off with morning devotions and Bible time. We have a memory verse that we work on for a few weeks until we memorize it. We do the Pledge of Allegiance and pray. Some days we sing hymns or praise and worship songs, other days we just jump right into our day. There have been days when we have sung just about every hymn we knew because we didn't want to stop singing praises to God.
I start out by making sure my youngest child and middle child are busy. This might be a workbook or color page they can work on while I start my oldest child on Math. When I have to teach I don't like many interruptions however, it is bound to happen when you're a mom. Once my oldest is doing independent work I move over to the younger two and we do our morning Bible lesson on their level (even though they are present for the Bible devotions I do with my oldest- which I think is important)
I could go through each subject and list step by step how I teach 3 on different levels at the same time. But I won't. Instead, I will simply give you some tips and tricks I've learned along the way. Keep in mind at the time I am writing this we are finishing up our first year, so I am STILL learning as I go.
- Do as much as you can as a family. In fact, I know a lot of homeschoolers who do most of their subjects together no matter what grade level they are on. There are many different methods you can use. Do your research before you dive in. It pays off!
- For little ones who want to be a part of what you're doing but are still too young to sit still for long periods of time you can let them help hold flash cards up, or have coloring pages for them. I keep building blocks on our homeschool shelf for my 3 yr old.
- Educational shows. I know a lot of people are against letting t.v. educate your child. I don't let my kids sit in front of the t.v. for hours on end, but I will put on an educational t.v. show or a Bible DVD.
- Audio books. For my littles, I pay audio books if I am busy teaching. They can play while they listen or they can look at the book if it's a follow along book.
- If I want them to be a part of what we are doing but I don't want them to interrupt I give them playdoh to quietly play with while they listen to a Bible story, or while we are doing our read-a-louds.
- Flash Cards. My little boys love flash cards and often look at them on their own while I am teaching their older brother.
- I let them play online educational games. You can find all kinds of kid friendly websites. I have them stay at the table so I can see what they are doing (never know if you might accidentally click on an ad) I have them wear headphones or mute the game if possible.
- Remember to take breaks. Who wants to sit at a table or desk all day? Not me! Remember to get up and move around with your kids. Do a chore or two between subjects. We like to jump on the trampoline while practicing spelling words. We have a small indoor trampoline. (I highly recommend one for rainy days)
- Remember to have fun. If you can make learning fun, they will be more willing to learn, and chances are it will stick. I like to offer a piece of candy for correct answers (small like sweet tarts or m&m's) I don't always do this, but we do play a lot of games like beat the teacher. For each tally mark, you get X amount of game time. We sing songs to remember things. My oldest is learning the presidents to the tune of 10 little Indians. It's working!
- Glean from other seasoned homeschool moms. Surround yourself with positive moms who have been there. When you have a question, don't be afraid to ask. They are more than happy to help most times.
- Lastly, don't try to copy what works for someone else. There is NO perfect homeschool. What works for me might not work for you. That is the beauty of homeschool, make it work for you. Adjust to make homeschool fit your needs. Some children can't sit still. I offer an exercise ball (Unless we are doing penmanship) or let them stand if they want to. You don't have to do everything your mentor or best friend does. Homeschool can look different for everyone. I know people who love their co-op. We decided to not join a co-op at least for the first year. I wanted to get the hang of homeschooling and well let's face it when we first started out I had no idea what I was doing and it led to some very LONG days! We simply had NO time for anything else. Now that I know how to navigate through our day we may reconsider joining a co-op this year or next. It's a great way to make friends not only for your kids but for yourself as well.