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When you’re a homeschooling mom teaching multiple ages, you may feel stressed and overwhelmed. You want what’s best for your children, and this includes providing them with the best home education possible. Deep down you know there has to be a better and easier way to teach them all, but you just haven’t figured it out yet.
Here is a scenario that seemed to happen quite regularly in our homeschool.....
As soon as I thought we had a good routine down and I was able to give one on one attention and instruction to each child, something would happen.... like a child would get to a new concept in math that was difficult to understand and my 10 min teaching time would turn into half an hour plus (which might include attitudes and tears, which in turn would add more time with that child)
This cause my other children to have to wait for mom. If your children are at all like mine, waiting for mom didn't mean going on to the next subject and doing what they could without me. It meant FREE TIME! (and we all know where that goes!)
Although I never completely figure out that perfect school day routine, I do have 4 practical steps to teaching multiple ages to share with you. Keep reading to discover those steps and start implementing them in your homeschool now.
4 Steps to Teaching Multiple Ages
Step 1: Consider the developmental levels and needs of your children.
One of the biggest perks in homeschooling is the ability to meet a child where they are. In most cases, children can cross multiple grades depending on the subject. There are also times when certain weaknesses are hindering a child from reaching their full potential.
Take time to write down the developmental levels and needs of each of your children. Note their grade levels per subject, as well as any delays and/or advancements. This is also a great time to ask your child about their favorite (and least favorite) subjects.
Keep this in mind as you move to the next step…
Step 2: Use resources that compliment your children’s individual needs.
Understanding the learning styles of your children will help guide you in choosing curriculum and resources that enhance their learning. There are a number of resources available for homeschoolers today, and not all of them work all the time.
For example, a kinesthetic learner will most likely cringe at the thought of having to sit down and read from a textbook. A visual learner would benefit most from watching videos or documentaries.
Ultimately the goal is to find resources that won’t be a waste of money or cause your children to dislike learning. If you’re unsure about a particular resource, check to see if you can get a sample to try before you buy.
Step 3: Teach as many subjects together as possible.
Many parents find that teaching subjects together makes for much smoother homeschool days. Some go-to “teach together” subjects are: Bible, History, Geography, and Specials (Art, Music, P.E., etc.). Science experiments are always fun to do as a family.
Sonlight (history, geography, readers, and read alouds) was our favorite subject. This curriculum is excellent for teaching multiple ages. The Mystery of History provides activities and resources for young, middle and older children, making this an excellent choice as well.
With step 1 in mind, you’ll be able to easily decide which subjects will be best taught together for your family.
Whatever subjects are left over after you’ve made a “teach together” list will be the only ones to focus on teaching separately. Use this to schedule your homeschool days accordingly. For example, use the start of your day for teaching subjects together. Put any and all resources in a basket or bin for easy access.
Then, schedule time for individual learning either after “together time” or at different times throughout the day. Keep your unique family dynamic in mind and plan accordingly.
My children did best by doing the mentally challenging subjects first. For us, that usually was math and learning to read with the little ones.
Step 4: Have the older children help the younger ones.
If applicable, have your older children help the younger ones. This will not only take some of the pressure off yourself, but it will also help build character and responsibility in your older children. It can be something as small as reading a book, helping with workbook pages, or assisting with hands-on activities. The idea is to make learning fun and less mundane.
Teaching multiple children doesn’t have to be exhausting. It does take some planning, and rightfully so. Try to place your primary focus on meeting the needs of your children while fostering a love for learning.
Don’t hesitate to make changes when necessary. Remember that as your children grow and develop so, too, will their educational needs. You can never go wrong with going where your child’s needs lead.
Don't be so hard on yourself. You don't need to do it all, every day. You are doing an amazing job.
Grab my History and Movies Freebie. Learning together is easier and more fun! All ages love watching a movie.... learn about history with a movie.
Enjoying the journey,
Michelle Osborn is the owner and founder of Yellow House Book Rental, specializing in providing homeschool curriculum for rent or purchase, as well as counseling and guidance for homeschool families. She is a wife of 32 years, a 22-year homeschool veteran, and mom of four amazing children and five adorable grandchildren. Three of her children are now entrepreneurs, running their own businesses and doing quite well. Michelle’s passions include serving by leading worship at her church and encouraging homeschool moms through one on one, social media and speaking engagements. She has found her niche in helping parents homeschooling their teens through the high school years and on to pursue their dreams
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