Hello friends! Welcome to another post in my “guest post” series! I’m so excited to share this post with you from Ashley of @asimplejoyfulhome. Today she shares tips for homeschooling multiple children in multiple age groups! If you’re interested in being featured in this series, send me an email and let’s chat!
A new school year.
As we begin a new school year, and many families are embarking on homeschooling for the first time, I want to offer encouragement and tips to families with multiple children. As a mom of four children, ages 8 and under, one of my biggest worries when I began homeschooling was how to balance the needs of all my children. Daily life in the throws of raising several little ones can come with it’s own unique challenges. Adding homeschooling into the mix requires extra planning and organization to keep things running smoothly. I currently have two school-age children, an 8 year old in second grade and a 5 year old in Kindergarten, and two younger children, ages 3 and 1.
Tips for teaching multiple children.
- Combine assignments when possible. This has been huge for our family. We currently do family style with many subjects including science, nature study, and our family read aloud. Next year I will add social studies and this will be taught family style as well. This just means I teach one lesson for multiple ages.
- Let the younger siblings tag along with older siblings. I’ve noticed that my 5 year old often picks up on concepts that I am teaching his older brother. I don’t require that he sits in on his brother’s assignments, but I never discourage him from being involved. This allows me to keep my focus on my oldest while giving exposure to my younger children.
- Let older siblings help in teaching younger siblings. They say that the best way to learn is to teach. My 8 year old has become proficient in reading and often leads our family read aloud time. This is a great way for him to practice his reading skills and allows my younger children to get exposure to different stories. He can also help my eager to “do school” 3 year old with number and letter recognition.
- Prioritize and track assignments. This is something new I am doing this year, as it is my first official year with two school age children. My main focus for my 8 year old is Math and Language Arts. My 5 year old is currently doing a Kindergarten Primer (one book), but then will be doing Math and Language Arts separately later this fall. I keep a spreadsheet with all of their assignments and subjects and check off what we accomplish each day. This gives me a visual and allows me to see where we may need to play “catch up” if we happen to get behind.
- Plan independent assignments ahead of time. Each week I look at what assignments my children have and all the supplies we will need. While I gather everything we will need, I also take a look at what portions of assignments can be done independently. For example, after I teach my oldest his math lesson he can work on the daily student worksheet on his own. He also does 15-20 minutes of independent reading. During these times, I can work one on one with my Kindergartner.
Tips for entertaining little ones during school time.
If you are like me, and balancing school age children with babies and toddlers, it is important to optimize the time you have carefully.
- Use the time you have while your younger ones are napping wisely. The easiest way to get lessons done without having to balance the needs of your younger children is to do as much as you can during nap time.
- Little babies can easily be worn in a baby carrier or placed in a bouncy seat. The thought of homeschooling with a newborn or young baby seems hard, but in reality they sleep often and enjoy being held.
- Offer a snack or an activity in the highchair. Once babies start crawling and walking, it’s usually time to switch things up a bit. Yogurt “paint” is a fun activity – just place yogurt (and food coloring if desired) on the highchair and let them make a big mess!
- Get creative. Does your baby love baths or seem calmer outdoors? You don’t have to do lessons at the table. Head to a different space to keep your little one happy while you and your other children work! Plus, everyone loves school outside.
- Provide fun activities for toddlers during school time. I often set my preschooler up with a fun game before working with my school aged children. Some ideas include: drawing pictures, writing on a chalkboard, playing with toys on the floor, and setting up a sensory bin activity.
- Break up the day into small lessons. If you are in a season of life where it’s impossible to sit down and do everything at once, try working in small 20-30 minute increments.
I hope that this gives you some practical, real-life solutions to make home educating a large family easier. There will likely be difficult moments, but there will be many incredible moments as well. In my personal experience, there is such an incredible bond that is cultivated when siblings spend their days together.
My name is Ashley. I’m a homeschooling mom of 4 who believes in a gentle, child-led approach when it comes to my children’s education. I’m passionate about spending time in nature and enjoy a slow, simple way of life. You can follow me on Instagram at @asimplejoyfulhome.
Thank you so much for sharing these tips Ashley! This is great advice for homeschooling multiple children in different age groups. If you are interested in writing a guest post for a Feature Friday send me an email or reach out via DM on Instagram and let’s chat about it! Have a great weekend, friends!