Homeschooling Multiple Kids
Tips for Juggling Their Needs
While homeschooling multiple kids can be challenging, here are some tips that will help make it a little bit easier for you.
When you have babies and toddlers, you can use a sling to keep your youngest close and happy and meet his needs while you read to or work with older children.
Use feeding times for study periods and read aloud time. Since you'll likely be sitting down to feed your baby anyway, have your other child(ren) read to you or sit them on your other side and read aloud to them. Your baby will benefit too from hearing words read aloud.
Get your kids involved in chores and meal preparation to teach home economics skills. If you have a child who is old enough, teach them how to prepare simple meals. A child as young as 7 can be taught how to make toast, eggs, oatmeal, sandwiches, cut vegetables and fruits, etc. Meal preparation reinforces reading, math and science skills.
Create quiet time/nap time. While baby or toddler is napping is an ideal time for more focused attention on the school work, but what if nobody is nappng? Create and enforce a quite time. This is a good time for you to regroup and rest or catch up a struggling reader or child who needs some extra attention with school.
Forget summer vacations and do school year round. Teaching through the summer can make up for lost time you experience during the year due to having a baby or illness or other family challenges that come up. Some parents even do a little school work on the weekends. Why should learning be limited to 5 days a week?
Use your support network. Can your husband, grandparents, or babysitters help you with schoolwork in the evenings and on weekends? Does your local homeschool support group offer a co-op?
Toddlers and preschoolers can 'do school' when older children are doing seatwork. Keep them stocked with appropriate arts and crafts activities to do and they'll likely pick up on much of the discussion going on during school time.
Use or switch to a curriculum that isn't instructor intensive. This means that you won't have to spend a lot of time in prep work each day. The kids will be able to dig right in to their work, saving time.
Older kids can help younger kids with their schoolwork when you can't be available. This reinforces the older child's skills - the best way to learn something is to teach it! It can also increase goodwill among siblings.
Unit studies may be an easier choice of curriculum for those homeschooling kids of diffrent ages.
You might want to forego preschool for 3 to 5 year olds and let the younger kids learn alongside the older ones.
Encourage independence for your older kids. Allow them some leeway in their school schedule. You may even want to let them choose their curriculum or how they learn various subjects.
Don't set yourself up for failure with a rigid schedule. Adding pregnancy, a new baby, toddlers, and preschoolers to the mix can be challenging for any parent, and if you're homeschooling you especially need to be realistic about what you can accomplish. You might want to adopt an eclectic homeschooling style or even unschool for a period (or permanently).
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