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I used to review curriculum, now I create it

Homeschooling Multiple Ages (Without Losing Your Mind!)

How do I homeschool multiple grades without losing my mind you ask? Well, maybe I lose my mind a little bit. I mean, let’s be honest… the preschooler wants to participate, grade 1 child needs help, grade 2 child is falling to pieces, and grade 3 child is skipping questions and doing their laziest work. Yes, there are definitely days I LOSE MY EVERLASTING MIND! But most days, I find a way to manage it and still enjoy homeschooling. Pause and pin friends, because you (and your homeschool friends) need to read this post!

Homeschooling Multiple Ages Without Losing Your Mind! Come read top tips and ideas from a homeschool mom of 5!

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Homeschooling Multiple Ages: Make a Plan

If you are homeschooling multiple ages, you need to make a plan. If you’re against plans and schedules, I hear you! But my guess is you probably wouldn’t be reading this post if it were working well for you. Unless you have no expectation of completing any school, a plan or even a general idea or routine will help you organize your thoughts and follow a general framework. One of the best tips I ever received was to make a rough routine, even if you don’t follow it. Pay attention to how your day naturally flows without school work. Do you have a baby whose schedule impacts your day? Do your kids naturally do better in the morning and are melting down by afternoon? Or maybe your kids are older and they are afternoon/night owls? Understanding your day can help you understand what will work the best in YOUR home.

Now when I say, “Make a Plan,” I do not mean you need to go sit down and plan the next 6 weeks of your homeschool. No, I am talking about a very general plan. If you are feeling über motivated, go crazy! But I recommend starting off slower, figure out what you need to fit into the day and how that will best fit with your children. Life happens, appointments happen, playdates and events happen, sick days happen. I find that not planning too far in advance (I do once a week) gives me space to flex around the unexpected. You can get my custom made homeschool planner HERE.

Homeschooling Multiple Ages: Analyze How You and Your Children Work Together.

Knowing how you and your children work together is SO important! How do you best teach? How do your children learn? The answer to BOTH of those questions can be found out by taking my simple, 10 question learning style quiz. It will help you figure out what comes naturally to you and how you may use that when working with your children. Another helpful resource is the homeschool styles quiz, which can help you identify your overall approach to homeschooling. Once you have this all figured out, you need to learn how those are all going to work together. When you are homeschooling multiple ages, you have a lot of dynamics. You have your individual children’s emotional needs, learning needs, educational levels, and personalities to work with! Multiply that by however many children you are homeschooling and you may start to get a headache.

Before you throw your hands up in the air, remind yourself that the “perfect solution” doesn’t exist. There is no perfect curriculum, perfect schedule, or routine because our children are not perfect… WE aren’t perfect! We will have bad days, as will our children. Our focus should not be to never have waves, but to build a framework that can weather the storm!

You can weather the stormy days that arise by being prepared, knowing your children AND yourself and not having unrealistic expectations.

Homeschooling Multiple Ages: Practical Tips!

Okay, let’s face it, you clicked on this post to hear some hands-on REAL tips you can use when homeschooling multiple ages. So here you have it, some of the things that have worked for me. I often switch them up, what works one month won’t work the next! Be flexible and creative and PLEASE add to this list at the bottom of this post! I am an imperfect mom with 4 different children to homeschool, I need all the creative solutions I can get 😉

  • Do school in intervals with your children separately. We often do this and I find it the LEAST stressful way of doing school where I can truly enjoy all of my children. I call the kids in one by one and we do school together, alone. It means that I don’t get to really leave my school room, but my kids get some really special time and it seems to work the best!
  • Do group learning whenever you can! We teach Bible, Science, Socials, Health and Career, and Art all together as a family.
  • DO ONLINE COURSES/GAMES/CURRICULUM!!!! For real peeps, this saves me and is my #1 tip for homeschooling multiple ages! I can have a child do their math curriculum with all the help they need! Someone to read it to them, mark it for them, and track the results. If you are looking for more curriculum options, don’t miss the Master Homeschool Curriculum List HERE!
  • Are you distracted? I get easily distracted. As a blogger, I am CONSTANTLY looking at my phone and social media. Sometimes one of the biggest problems in our homeschool is us. We need to give our kids are full attention for at least part of the day, with no phone calls or TV or social media in between us.
  • WORKBOXES!!!!!!! I love our workboxes, you can read more about our workbox system here. Each of my children has their own workbox with 10 drawers to separate their books and subjects. There are SO many ways to use these and they can be a huge help when you are homeschooling multiple ages!
  • Get the older kids involved! Have them help teach the little ones, or read them the directions on their math! My older children often help out with the younger ones. Sometimes with their school, sometimes watching Tornado Toddler, often doing chores or making snacks (or mommy her Nespresso coffee!).

Help a Sister Out! What Tips Do YOU Have for Homeschooling Multiple Ages?

Comments

    • Thanks Jenn! I think you are amazing, and we are on the same page with our planning addictions. I tend to plan, but then not stick with it, so I am working on NOT planning more, haha. I’m so all or nothing, if I don’t complete my plan… what’s the point? You know? I will slowly work on more framework plans once my planner is set up. Thanks for reading and commenting and being an amazing encouragement to other homeschoolers!

  1. these are great tips! I’m infamiliar with work boxes so I will have to look into that. I am learning to hide my phone during school time so I don’t get distracted.

    • Thanks so much Kristi! If you use a 40% off coupon at a craft store and take your time getting them, workboxes can be a very affordable solution and take up very little space 🙂 I turn my phone on silent otherwise the beeping means constant distractions. I usually have it with me to snap photos for Instagram and such, but I have been working (and sometimes failing miserably) at intentional focus on my children. Thanks so much for taking the time to read and comment 🙂

  2. We are coming to the end of our first year with prek,prek,inder/1st,1st,and 3rd graders. I am trying to plan for next year and I love your sugestions. One thing that we have done the last few weeks is I went through and broke down what we needed to finish this year into days. Each day has a list of workbooks/pages/activities that each kido has to finish that day, then we labeled them with numbers falling from now until the last day of school. Not dates just numbers like 50days left, 49 days left and so on.
    This way we can keep track of what we still need to do, but in a way that allows for life to get in the way as we all know it will.

  3. OHHHH my fellow Canadian Momma .. I totally feel this . Mind You mine are 13, 11, 10 and 8 but it so rings true … I’m here on the east coast in our lovely rain soaked piece of paradise … I’m now prepping 2016-2017 homeschool year

  4. Thanks for sharing all these great ideas. I don’t want to assume things so I am going to ask: when you are doing the one-on-one instruction are the others working on their other work or just playing?
    Thanks

  5. I am curious as to what your response would be to Allison’s post back in January.
    I do have a plan going on that has helped amazingly. But up until last year that wouldn’t have work out to well. I have 7 children and this year I have 6 I’m teaching. So what worked this year so far was breaking up the kids into groups. Group A had the 15, 9 and 5 year old and group B had the 10, 7 and 4 year old. Group A had the oldest as the leader and did chores and played while I was in the school room with group B. And then we came together for lunch and then would split up again leaving group B with the 10year old in charge of chores and play time while I was with group A doing school. Also when the baby needed me the oldest in school room would jump in to help the younger ones with school if needed. A HUGE piece of information for this type of schedule is consequence for those children who don’t listen to the leader and higher consequences for the older children if they are taking advantage of or bullying the younger children. That is very important in my house. Respect others younger than you and older.
    And one last helpful piece of information for bigger families is with the team’s that have been made up the oldest is to help the youngest in their group with breakfast, lunch, taking vitamins and chores. The middle age child should be sufficient to work on their own according to their age but if they need help to older child should have no problem helping out. So… That’s how we are running school this year. I am exactly like Rebecca, every year and sometimes twice a year my school schedule changes to what our circumstance are.

  6. I loved reading this! We have a 2nd grade, Kinder, PreK, and our own 2 year old tornado. We have found books on cassette to be a life saver for the younger 2, while I work with Kinder one on one. My 2nd grader is very self motivated, and can do most of her work with just a little help. We do LA, math, and gospel daily. With Science and History twice a week each. We also do a 4 day week, year round. That gives us more leeway during the week in case of doctor spots, grocery shopping and the like. And 7 weeks off throughout the year as needed!

  7. Thank you for this post! I was having a difficult with my 4 kids i have a 11 month old she is my youngest she was having gas at the same time my 5 year old needs help wich is a given and my 7 year old playing she cannot do her addition eqations and my 4 year is denanding for work when she is just in preschool its hard doing this all at once . I broke down and felt my anxiety go up the roof. Your post was a relief and helped me realize I can separately teach them.

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I used to review curriculum, now I create it!