Homeschooling multiple children who are different ages, in different grades, and with varying learning needs is truly a gift. However, sometimes, when you glance at your full quiver, it may not feel like it. But deep down, we know it is totally a blessing.
The question then becomes – “How do I overcome the multiple struggle of homeschooling a full quiver?” Well, friend, keep reading to discover my answer to the concern that you and so many other precious mamas have.
Tips for Overcoming the Multiple Struggle
Although it is easier said than done, being patient, flexible, and having expectations will help build a sturdy foundation. Add a dose of discipline, and you will be well-equipped for an environment that may tend to get a little hectic at times. It is to be expected; however, it does not have to burn all your energy and end in more days wasted than saved.
Forget the status quo
It is super important to forget the status quo. Forget what people are saying, and ignore unreliable suggestions about how you should be teaching your children. Instead, focus on homeschooling your children where they are. Take time to do a mental rundown of how your children learn best and your preferred teaching style.
If you are like me, this is something I would have to write down. If you do choose to write it down, consider adding it to your homeschool planning binder, if you use one, and update as necessary.
Find what works for your homeschool
When it comes to learning styles and methods, find what works for you, your children, and everyone collectively. It can be a lot easier if you have an idea about your teaching style and ways your children learn best before diving into much else.
Set aside a few minutes to take a quiz for each of your children to help get an idea of their learning style, and go from there. Knowing this can help you plan and prepare to teach multiple children with less stress.
Plan your homeschool
You know how the saying goes – If you fail to plan, you plan to fail. This doesn’t mean you need to plan a homeschool boot camp, but it does mean having some sort of structure. I recommend starting by making a generic schedule. If the word schedule scares you, make a chart.
Keep in mind that this is not the detailed minute-by-minute for the next four weeks kind of schedule (or chart). It’s more like an overview. Just know that having a basic schedule, or chart, is a great start.
How to Homeschool a Full Quiver
Don’t do more than you need to
Another misconception is when you are teaching multiple children, you must be all over the place, all the time. This does not have to be the case, and you don’t have to do more work than you need to. If you haven’t done the research already, you may be shocked at just how many ideas there are about ways to homeschool multiple kiddos. Too many to name, but we are going to talk about a few that hold top spots on the overall list.
Use Integrated Learning in Your Homeschool
Integrated learning is one of the most common ways moms homeschool multiple children. This also takes the name of group learning, group time, family learning, and/or circle time. Basically, all the children are learning and participating together.
This is a perfect way to do collective praying, Bible reading, concept and lesson introduction, and whatever else you want to do. I personally like this way because I can maintain what would normally turn into a hectic situation while still focusing on individual children when needed.
Group Learning While Homeschooling
Group learning makes for a smooth transition into independent learning. Independent learning doesn’t necessarily start at a certain age or grade while homeschooling. It is more dependent on the level of maturity. As a mile marker, it can start once a child is able to read and comprehend directions. Now, it doesn’t mean responsibility with no deadlines or supervision… even as an adult, I still need deadlines and some supervision, don’t you?
Independent Learning in Your Homeschool
Some parents find that independent learning is made easier with Sue Patrick’s workbox system. This particular system has various advantages beyond increasing a child’s self-control, independence, and learning.
The main goals of the homeschool workbox system are:
- to create ways to present curriculum to our children in ways that are inviting and make sense to them
- enhance teaching angles that offer more effective teaching
- help the child be more focused while completing work successfully and independently.
The Double-Up Method
When independent work isn’t the best option, consider what I call the double-up method. This means teaching the same subject, at the same time, to all children. The only difference is the level of work and understanding will vary.
This is like circle time, or group learning but is more subject-focused versus “start of the day activities” focused. I normally use this method with unit studies because I can read something, then follow up with worksheets, activities, or videos that are tailored to each of my children’s age and grade.
Use Online Homeschool Curriculum
With today’s technology, using an online curriculum is another way to manage multiple ages. This will also take a little bit of independent learning but can be an amazing tool. We have found several online programs that allow our son to work at his individual level, and the pace is customized to his needs.
Final Thoughts from a Homeschooling Mom of Multiples
While talking about these teaching multiple children ideas is a good thing, remember to be open for change. You may find that a piece of this method works combined with another piece from another method. I actually homeschool with what I call a mixed-method style! Whatever you choose, don’t hesitate to switch things up, and continue accommodating as you see fit.
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Finding a system that works is certainly a process. It is easy to get lost in piecing this together and breaking that apart, but let us not forget to take care of ourselves. Our “me-time” gets stretched enough between having multiple kids, caring for them, taking care of the home, cooking, cleaning, etc.
Let us also plan for a moment to ourselves, whether it be early morning quiet time with the Father, or a relaxing bath before bedtime. You are supermom, indeed; but even a superhero needs downtime. So, don’t feel guilty about planning that for yourself!
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30 Days of the Best Encouragement for Homeschooling Moms Series Contributor:
Michelle Huddleston is a seven-year homeschooling mama to 5 blessings who range from infant to 12 years old. She doesn’t claim to have it all together, but what she does have is the passion to help other mamas homeschool with grace and ease. Michelle would love to connect with you on Facebook, Instagram, and YouTube.