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: 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!).