If you have more than one child in your family and are considering homeschooling, you may be wondering, “How will I teach different grade levels at the same time?” It’s certainly a question that I asked when my husband and I were first discussed homeschooling. With five kids at four different grade levels, the thought of teaching all five at once was intimidating to say the least!
Would I be able to keep my twins from destroying the house while I worked with the older three? Could I offer enough of a challenge for my oldest while keeping things at an appropriate level for my youngest son? Sound familiar? I get it! Just looking at sample curriculum schedules online made the whole thing seem impossible!
Overwhelmed, but determined, I dove right in. I knew that homeschooling was the best option and I was on a mission to prove to the world (and myself) that I could do this! We are currently in our third year and have finally found our groove. I’ve heard that is true for many homeschooling veterans. Something about Year 3 seems to be that “magic number.” That said, I want to offer some advice to those who are struggling or are still in that “considering” stage.
TIP #1 – Start with GOALS, not PLANS
For each of your children, create a list of specific goals for them to achieve in the next year. Make sure these aren’t big sweeping ideals like “Learn to Read.” These should be very specific to your child, for example, “Read at a 1st Grade Level.” Once you have at least three BIG goals on paper, post it above your desk or inside the cover of your planner.
TIP #2 – Build breaks into the PLAN
When you map out your homeschool year, keep focused on your goals, but allow for flexibility in the schedule. There will be weeks when a kid (or ALL of them) get sick. That’s OKAY!! One thing that helps is to keep the last week light on book work. That way, if we get behind, we can “catch up.” And if we stay on task, then we deserve a break!
TIP #3 – Try to Combine if possible
My kids are close in age, but not on the same levels academically. My oldest is well ahead of his sister and she’s 2 grades above my youngest son. Consider which subjects could be studied together and which to separate. For example, I combined my middle two children (ages 7 & 10) for History and Science, but everything else they do at their level.
TIP #4 – Encourage independent work
My oldest, Alex, does almost all of his work independently. I guide more than a teach. My 10 year old daughter and 7 year old son do handwriting, reading, and Math on their own. I answer questions when needed and assist with projects or labs, but even my twins do most of their learning independently.
TIP #5 – Focus on the child, not curriculum
There is no such thing as a “one size fits all” curriculum. What works for one child, won’t work for another. Focus on your child’s learning style and modify the curriculum to fit or find another. You don’t need EVERY resource in the curriculum. You don’t need all of it, pick and choose the quality resources that work for your child and leave the rest!
And most importantly, don’t forget the FUN.
I hope these were helpful tips and I’d love to hear from you! If you have some ideas to share or want to give me some feedback, be sure to comment below or find me on Facebook.