Are you considering homeschooling, but find the idea of juggling multiple kids and grades too daunting?
Courtney P. asked:
“I have 3 kids – 2nd, 5th and 8th grades this fall. The current school system is awful – especially for the older two. I know people homeschool with more than one kid, but with my husband too busy and at times on TDY, how can I make it work? Should I start with two and leave our youngest in? Help!”
Courtney, you’re certainly not alone with this question! Many starting out often feel overwhelmed by the thought of handling more than one grade.
Let me help put it in perspective for you! Rethink ‘school’ with a new lens. Remember those tales of the ‘one-room schoolhouse’ from the ‘olden days’? Thousands of students navigated through that system successfully… and perhaps were better students because the grades were combined.
Now, literally millions of homeschoolers are proving the same to be true in their families.
Homeschooling can actually make your life easier with a variety of kids and grade levels. Yes – EASIER!!
- You will no longer be running around to different schools – all with different start/end schedules.
- You will no longer be trying to meet the requirements of three different teachers and classrooms.
- All of your kids will have the same basic schedule.
- You will have the ability to plan your homeschool around each day’s activities – and adjust according to your family’s needs!
- You will have the ability to modify to accommodate those Temporary Duty Assignments, deployments, homecomings – or even odd days off – allowing for more quality time together as a family!
Making it work
It’s all well and good to say it will make things better – but the question remains HOW? There are several options to choose from:
1. School at home
This actually is my least recommended choice, but some families do make it work. Each child would have his/her own curriculum, all at grade level. The parent/teacher then must bounce around from child to child to cover all the material needed.
2. Teaching certain subjects together
History, geography, science – these are a few topics which do well in this setting. For example: You teach the kids about Ancient Egypt or Pioneer Days in the U.S. Kids absorb at their own level, then break to work on grade appropriate activities surrounding the topic. (Some families use unit studies in a similar fashion.)
In today’s global digital market, kids are much more tech savvy! This can be an affordable option, allowing kids to each work through grade level material custom-fit to their needs and abilities.
Parents can spend less time on lesson planning and more time on fun, educational activities together. Progress reports allow you to see at a glance how each student is performing and where either extra help or additional challenges are needed.
Parents remain in control of the schedule – being able to modify as desired.
4. Distance / video learning
Some parents choose to invest in a distance or video training for their kids. Many are offered in real time and run on set calendars. (This may not be an ideal fit for those military families desperate to fit their unique schedules.)
5. Split schedule
Start the day teaching younger kids while older ones work independently… then switch. Another alternative: teach younger kids in the morning; older ones in the afternoon. (Teens may prefer to sleep in!)
Some homeschooling families may use a combination approach.
The best advice I received (and practiced religiously!): Stay flexible!
You will find the need to tweak your choices based upon your current family situation… or ditch your plan all together and start over. (I’ve been there/done that!)
What are your biggest concerns in homeschooling multiples?
Have questions – or solutions which suited your family? Let us hear from you in the comments!