The most common question I am asked when I tell people that I homeschool is “How do you manage to teach so many grade levels?” For many homeschool families, this is the most difficult part of home education.
If you are struggling to teach multiple grade levels, you are not alone. Homeschooling families vary in size and usually have children in multiple grade levels, sometimes ranging from infant to high school. Trying to keep up with teaching multiple children can be daunting, to say the least.
If you can relate, don’t lose heart — you can peacefully and successfully teach multiple grade levels!
Schedule a block of time with each child
Science, social studies, history, art, literature and geography can easily be combined and taught to all of your children at the same time. You can read aloud as a family using text books or living books and give the older children age-related supplemental activities, worksheets or independent reading on the subject. My Father’s World curriculum shares a perfect example of a multi-age family learning cycle.
Use unit studies
Unit studies work well with all ages and allow you to teach children the same subject tailored by grade level. While younger children might tell a story through art or play-dough, older children might write a report or take part in a more advance science experiment. You can take some time to create your own unit study or purchase ready-made unite studies by subjects.
Older children can easily work independently through computer-based or online learning with curriculum such as Switched on Schoolhouse, Time for learning. There is also the option of video learning through a virtual school such as Abeka which is what I use for my kids. which allows me to focus on the younger grades since the older grades use the DVD program and web streaming.
Set up a Workbox System
The Workbox system is a system created by Sue Patrick that can be customized to your family’s individual needs. Children are assigned a drawer or set of drawers, cubes or folders for their subjects and daily assignments. I use one drawer for books and one drawer for the day’s workbook assignments for each child, and each day my kids go to their drawer or folder to get their assignments and books and start their lessons for the day. Sue Patrick’s goal in creating the Workbox System was to reduce organizational time and increase the child’s self-control, independence and learning. This is the perfect solution for large homeschool families.
Use daily life experiences as teaching opportunities
The greatest lessons are those that build and strengthen relationships within the family, and these lessons will be found in everyday life experiences. Cook a meal together for math, building a new fence with papa, or grow a garden as a family or travel around the world and learn different cultures as history lessons.
There will still be days when homeschooling multiple grade levels and personalities feels overwhelming and chaotic but with a bit of planning, a working system in place and much determination you can homeschool multiple children and still keep your sanity. And make time for yourself and your husband.
If you would like to learn more about how to start homeschooling your kids and also be able to travel then please check out my E-book below.