One struggle I hear a lot from homeschool moms, is how in the world they are supposed to homeschool multiple ages. With spans from infants through middle school sometimes, it’s a known struggle that we can’t be in multiple places at once. Through the years I have found three things that have helped me homeschool “all those kids”. These should work regardless of how many kids you have or their ages.
Find Busy Work for the Little Ones
When I first started homeschooling my oldest I was running a daycare. Tools like those I share in this post were a HUGE lifesaver. They came in handy again a few years later when the daycare was gone and my youngest came along. By giving your tot and preschooler special tools that can only be used at school time you are encouraging them to learn through play, you are making them feel like they are learning right alongside their siblings and you are allowing them to learn skills that will last a lifetime (and they don’t even realize it)! Oh, and you are also doing another important thing-teaching the older ones!
Combine Subjects When Possible
From my first year homeschooling until last year I combined my girls for everything except language art and math. It made homeschooling SO much easier.
Combining multiple ages for subjects like bible, history, and science makes homeschooling SO Much easier on mom. For example, while learning about pilgrims, the older children can map out the actual voyage, while the younger children cut and paste one of the ships. During a unit study on horses, the older children can diagram the body parts, while the younger children draw a picture of a horse.
Recruit the Older Kids for Help
Whenever possible, get the older kids to pitch in with lessons. My middle has had a great time reading to her brother for story time. My oldest helps drill him on his alphabet cards. One of the benefits of the older kids helping teach the youngers is that they are simultaneously reinforcing their own knowledge and skills. I have also found that my youngest just listens and sits still better when his sisters are working with him. It makes it seem less like school. When school sometimes runs past the time we are supposed to get done, or one kids needs me while another is free, this has been a huge lifesaver. Don’t underestimate your older kids ability to teach and help with the younger kids. They are learning valuable life skills while offering you what you need more of-TIME!
Homeschooling multiple ages may seem like an unattainable feat, but it can be done. In fact, it is done all the time. The vast majority of homeschool families are made up of multiple children and they manage to make it work for them. So can you!
Misty Bailey planned on being a public school teacher, not a work at home, homeschool mom to three. But in 2009 God changed her plans! She now LOVES helping and encouraging new homeschoolers and sharing everyday tips and encouragement on her blog Joy in the Journey.