Of all the topics I write about, the one that generates the most interest is how to homeschool multiple children. I totally get it. If you apply the methods used by traditional schools to a home learning atmosphere, this could undoubtedly prove to be a stressful and hectic situation.
Fortunately, we homeschoolers are not bound by the routines held by compulsory schools. We have the freedom to tailor what we do to fit the indiviual needs of our own families.
Isn’t that awesome?
Today I would love for you to join me over at Busy Boys Brigade for the 20 Days of Homeschooling Encouragement Blog Party, where I’ll be tackling this very issue. While you’re there, take some time to read some of the other amazing posts in htis series. You’ll be sure to feel refreshed and energized to start your new homeschool year!
I can’t believe it’s July 4th weekend already. It seems like only yesterday I was thanking my lucky stars that winter was over!
I’m so excited right now because I just came back from shopping for our school supplies. 🙂 The only thing we need are the copy paper and ink we ordered off of eBay. Once those come in, we’re ready to go!
Does the prospect of homeschooling several children have you feeling a little nervous for the coming year? After seven years of homeschooling my extra-large family, I’ve finally found a plan that works for our family that keeps the kids happy and learning, and Mom calm and confident.
Today I’ll be over at my friend Jen’s blog, Practical by Default, where I’ll be discussing the 3 most important ways we’ve kept sanity in our homeschool. Additionally, I’ve given examples of what our daily homeschool routine actually looks like.
If you’re looking for advice on homeschooling your growing family, this is where to find it.
My kids spent the week at VBS, and I feel like I was the one running around all week. We just returned from the closing picnic, where I spent over 2 hours trying to keep track of 7 kids, and I am exhausted.
So, without further ado, let’s get on with this week’s links!
The longer this break continues, the antsier and antsier I get to start school again. I am so excited to see what this new year will bring. I have to chuckle at this point-of-view because while most parents can’t wait to send their kids back to school, I can’t wait to do school with them. Homeschooling is amazing.
It’s not even officially summer yet, and I’m already dying to start our homeschooling term back up again. I miss it so much, and I’m so excited to begin our new year! My children, however, are enjoying their time off, so I’ll have to press on until we do start up again next month. Now on to this week’s links!
Of all of the fears I hear from would-be homeschoolers, the issue of multi-level homeschooling is very near the top of the list. I can totally identify with that because that was one of my very own when I started homeschooling. It’s true that educating several children of differing ages can seem like a nightmare if you are looking at home education through the lens of a public school atmosphere.
When people hear that I have eleven children and homeschool nine of them, I can tell by the looks on their faces what they’re imagining my days to be like:
A classroom of school desks with my children excitedly raising their hands in order to answer a question. Me standing at the front of the room wearing an apron with a duster in one hand and a pointer in the other. Classical music playing in the background while I conjugate Latin verbs with my 5-yr-old.
A classroom of school desks thrown askew as a slew of children parade around the room banging on pots and pans, protesting that day’s assignments. Me standing at the front of the room, hair falling out of a bun, dark circles under my eyes, pleading with them to please sit down and do their 3x each. The three-yr-old in the background, going through the makeup I no longer have time to apply, drawing cat whiskers on her own face with my eyeliner.
Although I have had days with features of each of these :), neither of these is an accurate depiction of what goes on in the average homeschooler’s school day. Thankfully, homeschooling does not have to fit the traditional school model, which is most fortunate for those of us who are homeschooling larger families.
Of all the homeschooling approaches I’ve tried, the one thing that has kept our days happy and manageable has been simplicity. The very first point I want to get across is that homeschooling does not have to take six hours a day. There are various reasons that a public school day takes that long, which is a post for another day, but suffice it to say that most homeschooling families do not spend nearly that much time on formal assignments.
While each family does it differently, and no one way is right or wrong, these are the routines that have helped with our family.
– Focus on the three R’s- reading writing, and ‘rithmetic. Although this approach is often seen as being for younger children, it can work quite well with inquisitive older kids, too. My teenage son does not use any textbooks for anything other than language arts and math. He has no need to. He loves reading about and watching movies about WW2 and is an avid outdoorsman. It seems like everyday he is bringing one critter or another home from the creek to observe. (As a matter of fact, he lost two snakes in my yard just this week! His response to my alarm? “Don’t worry, Mom. There are only three venomous snakes in the state of PA, and these weren’t any of them.” That doesn’t exactly reassure me, but it does let me know that he’s been doing his research!)
– Teach your kids together with unit studies. Right now this has been the go-to method for our family. Since I do have so many children, I’ve found that it works better for me to separate the kids into two groups with separate unit studies, which they take turns doing every other day. After I work individually with each child on language arts and math (which is not really necessary, but I do enjoy the one-on-one time with my kids) I will read aloud to them, and then they will complete some unit study assignments together. The nice thing about unit studies is that they are cross-curricular; there is no need to teach each subject individually. Each topic explored will tie in one way with the next and everything from math to science to history to art (and so on) is almost guaranteed to be covered. Some of our favorite unit study curricula have been Konos, Five in a Row, Media Angels Creation Units, and various thematic units. I’ve also written unit studies of my own on Famous Inventors/Inventions, Greek Mythology, and the Little House series- all of which can be found here on my blog. It’s so much more relaxing to know that you can adequately educate all of your children either together, or in groups, as I do.
– Keep in mind that as children get older, they also gain more independence. While I do technically homeschool nine children, it has to be said that I am really only heavily involved with the teaching of six of them, and even that is not terribly time-consuming nor stressful because of the way we approach things. My older kids will occasionally ask for help with math (why is it always math??) and are pretty competent on their own with everything else. They know I am there if they need assistance, but my actual involvement with their school work is minimal.
The prospect of homeschooling multiple ages can seem intimidating and stressful at first glance, but once you’ve found a routine that is comfortable for you and your family, it can be one of the most delightful endeavors you’ve ever accomplished. Simply remember that homeschooling is not school at home. Focus less on that and more on keeping the home in your school, and success will soon follow!