The question of how to homeschool multiple children is one of the top questions I get when I work with homeschooling families. In fact, it’s one of the main reasons why homeschooling moms book consulting appointments with me.
When I was an educator working in the elementary brick and mortar classrooms, I taught in what we called then multi-age classrooms. I had kindergarten, first and second graders together for several years and then third, fourth and fifth graders after that. As a passionate educator who had a wonderful and diverse education in the art and science of educating, teaching in multi-age classrooms was a dream.
When I decided to homeschool my own children, I followed what I knew worked in my classrooms, and I even ran a small cottage school out of my home for a while consisting of students of multiple ages. These days were some of my girls’ fondest homeschool memories.
Here are some things that I learned along the way that can help you homeschool multiple children in your own homeschool. We’ll start with the very important and less “academic” things.
Move Your Bodies
Kids learn best after they’ve had the chance to run, move, dance and play. Gross motor activities are very important, not only for the little ones, but for everyone, including you! Sing songs, dance, go out for a walk, run or bike ride. Do something to get the blood flowing before you sit down to focus.
Spend as much time outside as you possibly can. Move your bodies outdoors. Pick up things in nature as you go for walks. Use those in crafts or art work when you get back inside. The young ones especially love this. If you are in an urban setting, take note of the things you see. Sing about them or write or paint them later on.
Decide On a Theme or Unit Study
Figure out what your kids are going to learn about and use this as your THEME of the week/month/semester. Homeschooling multiple children is always easiest when they are all studying the same concept or theme. For example, your middle schoolers might want to study astronomy. Your little ones can study this, too, but by creating arts and crafts and by listening to you read aloud, while your big kids can read their own textbooks.
Incorporate the Arts With Projects
Have both your big kids and your little ones CREATE. This can be by experimenting, by painting, singing, writing, etc. YOU decide. Ask your children to “show what they know” by doing something creative. These types of projects are wonderful examples to include in your portfolios as well and projects bring learning to life.
Read, Read, Read
Read aloud. Reading aloud is a very important aspect of teaching reading. It is also enjoyable. Your kids will remember you reading aloud to them for all their lives. And this should not stop when your kids get older. Even high schoolers enjoy hearing stories read aloud. Hello, Audible?!
Ask your local librarian to select books for you based on whatever theme or unit study you are doing. Ask them to select books for your little ones, your in-betweens, and your big kids. Then simply go pick them up!
For more ideas on how to homeschool multiple ages, please join me here on Facebook: Your Homeschool Coach With Terri Hedrick. I’d love to see you there!