Homeschooling is hard enough, but homeschooling, multiple students of different ages…that’s a real challenge.
You may have a first grader who is just learning to read, a second grader who’s trying to understand multiplication and long division, and a middle schooler who’s grappling with the horrors of WWII. And then there’s the toddler who weaves her way into your school day, sometimes in very distracting ways. You are standing in the middle of it all, head spinning, and you can’t help but wonder if maybe homeschooling was the wrong choice.
To the mom who’s feeling overwhelmed: you can do it! Here are some ways to make it a little easier.
Combine Lessons for Children of Similar Ages
Do you have two children who are close in age? Instead of teaching them two separate lessons, combine them and teach them the same course! While this might not work with subjects like math, it can work well with subjects like history, science, or literature and let them learn together.
There are many benefits to this:
- Your child now has a learning and exploring partner.
- If one child doesn’t understand a topic, the other one can help them learn it.
- You can focus more because there are fewer lessons for you to teach.
- Your children now have competition to drive each other to learn more about the topic.
Don’t be afraid to let your younger students learn things that the older students are also learning. You’ll be surprised by how much they understand!
Create a Schedule and Organize the Classroom
Following a schedule can help you balance multiple children and lessons at the same time. Children do better on a routine and by establishing one in your classroom, you are making sure each child knows what they are doing at each specific time.
Tip: Make a checklist of daily tasks for each student. Include the subjects they need to complete that day, and make note of books and page numbers to make it easy for them to figure out what they should be doing for the day.
Work with Your Toddler First
Your toddlers who haven’t officially started school still need their own special time with mommy. Start out each day doing a small activity with your toddler to give them their own “mommy time.” This makes them feel important and included and will hopefully be enough to keep them playing quietly while you teach the rest of the children.
Teach Them to Learn Independently
Many homeschool families will tell you that the key to juggling multiple different grades is to teach your students to work independently. Most children are perfectly capable of this. Give them a schedule of what they need to complete and push them to keep up with that schedule on their own. Many homeschool curriculums are geared toward independent learning.
By the time your kids are in high school, they can be completely independent as they take their learning into their own hands. This teaches them discipline and organizational skills, setting them up for college and the real world. They learn how to complete tasks without being told to do so. Instilling this into your children will free you up to focus on your younger children who need more guidance from you.
Join a Homeschool Academy
A homeschool academy, like Bridgeway Academy, helps you navigate through your homeschooling challenges, like teaching students of different ages and grade levels. We provide curriculum and guides specially tailored to the learning styles of your child so they are learning in the best way possible for them. Our advisors also help grade papers and tests and help you keep records so you can focus your energy on doing what you want to be doing: spending time with your children.
We also provide online learning where your student “attends” live classroom courses via the internet. For families with many children, this is an excellent option to ease the load of teaching multiple students!
So, if you’re feeling overwhelmed by homeschooling multiple students, there are things you can do to make it easier for both you and your kids. Don’t rule out homeschooling because you’re overwhelmed by multiple ages. It may be a challenge at times, but in the end, it can make learning even more meaningful for your children as they learn from you and each other along the way.
Questions? Bridgeway Academy is here to answer them. Call 1.800.863.1474 to speak to a homeschool expert and get more information about joining a homeschool academy and how we can help you balance teaching multiple ages.