When I first began homeschooling, I was terrified of homeschooling multiple grades. My middle (at that time my youngest) was only two, but the thought of her being in preschool and teaching my oldest at the same time made me cringe. Looking back, I can laugh because I know that preschool isn’t difficult, and teaching Kindergarten is nothing like teaching 4th grade but at the time, it really stressed me out!
As a homeschool parent, I am sure at some time you will be homeschooling multiple grades. Teaching more than one grade does not have to be stressful. There are resources and curriculums out there that can help you as well as tips from those who have been homeschooling multiple grades for years.
When it comes to homeschooling multiple grades, the first thing you are going to want to do is combine your children for as many subjects as possible. Bible, History, and Science can all be taught together as a family. Curriculum like My Fathers World, Mystery of History and Apologia is geared towards homeschooling multiple grades and can make it easier to combine your children.
Another popular method for homeschooling multiple grades is unit studies. Unit studies are fairly teacher intensive but can be done rather inexpensively. A unit study is where you learn about one topic for a set amount of time. An example may be horses. You can teach the history of horses, the anatomy of horses, read books about horses, and watch documentaries about horses. The older children would study the topic more in-depth, while the younger children got a basic overview.
Another thing to consider when homeschooling multiple grades is the level of teacher prep work and cost. Purchasing curriculum that has the planning already done for you will require a lot less prep work than creating your own unit study. However, a prepackaged curriculum will be pricier than making your own. Weigh your options and choose the method that will work best for your family.
Two subjects where you would want to keep your children separate are Math and Language Arts. If you have multiple children, it may be a good idea to purchase curriculum where the children can work on these subjects as independently as possible. Many parents enjoy computer-based curriculums like Teaching Textbooks or Switched to Schoolhouse. There are workbook-based options like Alpha Omega Publications and Christian Light Education that are also fairly independent. I have found having my children work on these subjects at the same time helps me teach multiple grades. I can go back and forth between them as they need me and both are focused on the same topic.
Homeschooling multiple grades may take a little bit of preplanning but seeing your children work and learn together is worth the hard work. I have also been amazed by the years how much the younger ones pick up on while learning alongside their older siblings. For more information about homeschooling multiple grades as well as help for scheduling your day I recommend this article from Fruitful Families.
Misty Bailey is a wife to Roger and a homeschool mom to three beautiful blessings. She resides with her family in Southern Ohio. She loves helping new homeschoolers and has a Homeschool 101 eBook for those getting started. She shares her struggles with time management, becoming unglued and finding joy in the everyday moments on her blog Joy in the Journey. You can also find her on Facebook and Pinterest.