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Families homeschooling children of multiple ages and skill levels CAN successfully learn together! Even though the thought of homeschooling multiple children at once can feel overwhelming.
The family homeschool, like the one-room schoolhouse, shows us how children of multiple ages learning together can be a successful model.
Insanely Useful Tips You’ll Want to Homeschool Multiple Children
To make the most of your family learning environment, use a combination of community work:
- working together on the same project with participation at each child’s ability level
- working together on separate projects, side-by-side or in the same general area
- working one-on-one with a parent or sibling while the others entertain themselves
- each child working alone in self-guided activities with occasional check-ins with other family members
With a little creativity, you can find a way to include all of your children in a collaborative project, each working at their own ability level. If you have tiny babies in tow, a rocking swing or comfortable baby carrier can allow the baby to see what’s going on.
Circle time or morning time activities can bring balance to a homeschool day by bringing children together for creative and cooperative activities.
Unit studies are a wonderful way to incorporate the entire family. Younger children will pick up an age-appropriate education by listening and following along, while older students can extend the study in other ways.
The same goes for thematic studies, choosing a theme for the entire family then adjusting the activities by age.
Children often like to have company while they work out problems or as they do their more difficult work. When you set up different activities for each child in the same space, you add the energy of a productive communal atmosphere that feels positive to everyone.
In some situations, you may see younger children attempting to accomplish what they see the older ones working on. Which can be inspiring to them, and in some cases they will grow and develop their skills more rapidly.
Children have naturally varied learning styles and activity preferences. Some children work better alone while others work better in groups or with frequent interaction. Knowing your child’s optimal manner of learning and style of working can help you design and make the most of your homeschooling routines.
You can create time to focus on individuals by incorporating some child-directed ” unschooling ” practices into your daily routine. While you participate in a structured project or learning activity with one or two children, encourage the others to each to choose their own handicraft, creative play, physical activity, documentary or movie, book, game, etc. This opportunity might also include time spent attending classes or doing social events apart from the family group.
According to research on natural learning behaviors, play, exploration, and physical activity are fundamental to successful learning. Children need time to experiment, make mistakes, and think about things for natural learning takes place.
Create an atmosphere rich with learning resources and your children will easily satisfy their instinctive drives to learn and grow. Sometimes they will collaborate. Other times they will prefer to work alone. As with other parenting challenges, you can creatively find ways to meet everyone’s needs both individually and as a group.
Practical Tips to Homeschool Multiple Children
- Breaks. Taking breaks may sound like a no-brainer but take them often or as much as needed. Breaking for meals, snacks, and transitioning from activity to activity helps to create mini-fresh starts within the day.
- Cultivate a Routine. Having a rhythm or general flow to the day can help to cut down chaos. Once your children become used to a general routine, it will be easier to wrangle them to the next activity.
- One-on-One Time. Carve out a specific time daily or weekly to focus on one child at a time. Check their progress or work, and giving a little undivided attention goes a long way especially if you have a child or children that soak up a lot of your attention. It helps to designate an “appointment” to each child regularly.This appointment is beneficial for you and them.
- Flexibility. There is freedom in knowing that seasons change, children grow, and your homeschool will need to shift occasionally. As long as you know this and expect it, you can be flexible and adjust with changes as they come.
Subjects and Activities Easily Combined by Homeschooling Multiple Ages
- Arts & Crafts
- Family Read A Louds
- Cooking & Baking (Cooking can include math, science, food chemistry, hands-on fun and more)
- Science (Younger children can help or watch older students conduct science experiments)
- Learning a New Language as a Family
You May Need to Make a Mental Shift About Education
At Homeschool Mastery Academy we believe the best way to homeschool is, however, it fits your unique family and lifestyle. There is no wrong or right way. But with that said, there can be more effective and productive ways.
If you think that each child needs an entirely separate curriculum and you are breaking your neck to spread yourself between 3, 4, 5 or more children; you may need to start thinking outside of your current box. Or if you have children that are just a few years apart you can still teach various subjects together without a completely separate curriculum for each student.
We all want a peaceful homeschool and stressing yourself out will never get you there. Think about combining a subject or two to create some breathing room. You might be surprised at how much your children enjoy some time to all work at the same space and over the same topic.
Your family has the time and flexibility to grow and change as needed, to try different things, and to find their perfectly-suited lifestyle. It may take trying out a few options before finding what works best for your homeschool family. Be patient and tweak things as you go along.
Most importantly create a rhythm that works for your unique family and lifestyle. There is no right or wrong way to homeschool multiple children. The best way is what works for you.