How do I homeschool multiple kids you ask? How do I do it without losing my mind? While many people believe it’s impossible it’s actually far less difficult than you imagine. Especially if you have the correct systems and processes in place.
I’ve been homeschooling three children under the age of seven for three years now, and I’ve learnt a thing or two when it comes to multi-homeschooling.
In an ideal world, you’ll start homeschooling one child and work up from there. However, this isn’t an ideal world and in many cases, we’ll remove all children from mainstream education at the same time leaving us moms in ‘sink or swim’ homeschool mode. While the ‘fight or flight’ can be more difficult it can also spur you on to be more creative and determined than ever before.
If you’re not a planner then this is no doubt going to be one of the hardest things for you to do as a homeschooling mom. However, planning is essential to sucsessful homeschooling – especially when you’re homeschooling more than one child.
The planning doesn’t have to be minute by minute, heck, it doesn’t even have to be hour by hour but some structure is going to ensure that both you and your children stay on track and make progress.
There’s a host of homeschool planning programmes available for you to use online, some are subscription based and some are free. Alternatively, you can do this in the form of a white board, a planner or just a piece of paper stuck to the fridge.
Find sometime to find out what planning style works best for you and your family and use that going forward – honestly, what works for one is totally different to another so embrace your planning style.
Turn Your Phone OFF
Mobile phones are incredibly destracting for adults as well as parents, which is why I encourage all my homeschooling friends to turn their phone off while spending time teaching or interacting with your children.
If you can’t turn your phone off then consider blocking out certain notifications during the times of the day you plan to homeschool. There’s different applications and even settings built directly in the phone that can help you do this.
Using your phone while homeschooling your children seems like a minor issue, but these subconscious habits are seen to children as priorities and demonstrate that learning is boring, or easy or not important. I know for some people, leaving your phone for a couple of hours can be incredibly difficult.
It sounds crazy, but it’s totally true, our phones have taken over our lives. That said, making this change is going to have a huge impact not only on your homeschooling atmosphere, your relationship with your children but also your metal and physical health moving forward.
Get An Online Curriculum
We try and stay away from screens as much as possible, however, sometimes it can be a sanity saver or a game-changer. Online curriculum applications are readily available and can be downloaded onto iPads, smartphones or used on a laptop or computer making them easily accessible for when you need to teach a child 1 to 1 while the other children learn ‘in the background’.
Some of my favourite programmes right now are Time4Learning and Abeka Academy. Having these programmes researched and set up in advance is where your planning comes in. That way when you need to step away to help another child one-on-one you can simply hand over the iPad and off they go learning independently.
Twice a week right now I have my preschooler playing with kinetic sand or trains (because I know they’ll sit still while they do) while my kindergartener goes on either Abeka or ABC Mouse. In the meantime, I’ll teach my other child in second-grade something painful like subtraction or spelling one to one for an hour.
The one to one time rotates throughout the year depending on our curriculum and as you continue throughout your homeschooling journey you’ll no doubt find that one (or more) of your children do better learning indepdently and others do better or need more one to one physical support.
Again, this is all about finding out what works for you and running with it.
Teach The Arts To Everyone Simultaneously
I’ve found that the arts can easily be adapted for all ages. As a result subjects such as scripture study, music, poetry and art are taught to all my children at the same time.
This is a great way to bond with your children, practice sharing ideas, communication and teamwork. It’s also a great way to learn, recite, sing and play together – honestly, this is what happy homeschool memories are made of.
Each art programme can be adapted depending on the childs age and skill level however, it’ll still have a central focus whether that be a painter, a specific musical instrument or bible verse. Once I have my topic in mind, let’s say Leonardo da Vinci, I’ll find different activities for different children depending on their age and skill level.
Simply typing into google “leonardo da vinci lessons for a four year old” will bring up a whole host of results which you can filter depending on your teaching style and your children’s learning style. An of course, depending on the age difference in children you’re homeschooling you might not even have to assign different activities and instead all be doing the exact same thing with the exact same focus.
Teach Each Child Separately
It’s just as important to teach your children together as it is your child individually, and many homeschooling families will tell you practising this is an art form.
I try and spend at least 30 minutes each day with each of my children one on one. We rotate the one on one time between different topics each day of the week so I can track their progress and see any stumbling blocks or teething troubles when learning new topics within a subject.
Planning is key here. This ensures that you get that one on one time in, are checking on different subjects for each child and that all the other children you’re homeschooling at the sametime are working on something that interests them and that they are comfortable self learning – again, each child maybe different in this respect as each of my children have different learning styles and are confident in different subjects.
Game School & Field Trip Regularly
Not only is game schooling and field tripping regularly a sanity saver, but it’s also a great way to get real-life experience. Again, planning these trips and scheduling them into your diary is key to ensuring that you have the relevant tickets and have topics and teaching goals in mind.
We try and do one field trip every month – which seems like a lot, but honestly, in our house even a trip to the grocery store is a field trip if it’s done right!
Alongside this we try and do gameschooling for one afternoon every other week – ususally on a Friday.
Getting together with other homeschooling families either online or in-person is a great way to share ideas about local field trip opportunities. Alongside this, you’ll find a whole host of events and articles online about game schooling including different products and projects depending on the subjects you’re looking to teach and your children’s age/grade.
Do Something For You Each Day
It’s essential that you take time off being a teacher and being a mom to look after yourself and just be you. Again, planning and scheduling that time is incredibly important – in my case, it’s important so that I actually remember to take it!
Of course, everyone likes something different, whether it be a fifteen-minute workout, reading a chapter of a book, watching a TV show or simply having a cup of coffee in peace before the morning rush. Whatever you love, find time in the day to do it.
Homeschooling can quickly and easily take over all of your time (I speak from experience on that one!). However, ensuring you keep well will ensure that you’re at your very best to teach your children.
What are some other strategies you use to homeschool multiple children at the same time?