Welcome once again to Homeschooling through the ABC's. I am so glad to have you back. We have been able to cover so far...
A = Accept the CallB= is for Basics (Getting Started)
C= Choosing Curriculum
D= Determine a Schedule
Today I bring you the Letter E = Equal learning Teaching Multiple Children and Grade Levels.
Hi everyone. So glad to have you again today. I just posted the letter D yesterday . I had gotten behind but with today's we will be back on track. So if you missed it stop and read Determine your Schedule. Today I'd like to share with you some tips for teaching multiple children. Giving Equal time to each child can be a challenge if you have multiple children. At the moment I have four children at home. They are varying ages which means their grade levels are rather vast. In the fall Princess will be 17 and starting 12th grade, Superboy will be 14 starting 8th grade, Spirit will be 8 starting 3rd grade and Sweet Pea will be 5 and we will continue with Prek/K levels. Having a preschooler and one graduating 2015 will be a challenge. Incidentally my college student will graduate as well and we have a wedding too.
I have to stop here and just say how much I will cherish this upcoming fall school year. This will be my last child homeschooling and oh I know the time will go so fast . Just as fast as the others.
Having such varying ages I thought I'd share with you tips for teaching multiple ages.
1- Combine subjects - Typically I can combine Spirit and Sweet pea and then Superboy and Princess . I just teach at different levels. For example in the fall Spirit will learn about the Rainforest and Sweet pea will learn about the different animals at her level. While she is working on a craft activity or other hands on project. He will be digging deeper into the Science of it. Another area I can combine is History.
2. Allow an older child to teach- Superboy and Spirit are studying the same history in the fall. So I thought it would be great to have Superboy a day ahead of Spirit in his reading. Then Superboy can teach the history to Spirit at his level. It might not work everyday depending on topics but I know from experience that teaching something to someone really helps you remember it. They both will be able to enjoy hands on projects together surrounding their topic with a bit of supervision from me. So it will be a great way to manage that. Art and music as well can be combined just at varying levels . Some things can't be combined well like Math but they can work on them at similar times depending on how much help they will need. Princess will be learning Calculus this year and so she can be available for questions with Superboy who will be in Algebra. Superboy could field questions for 3rd grade math and Spirit can help his little sister learn her numbers. It is good team building to allow them to work together. You have this large family so use it to your advantage.
3. Discussions grouped - We can also group bible discussions into two groups and literature readings.
Spirit can read to Sweet Pea. Superboy and Princess can have book clubs together. This will help each of their vocabulary improve since they will have someone near their age to share ideas. With Bible I will just keep them all together and teach at each level . Who knows what the little ones will pick up along the way. Sometimes we limit them by our own belief in what they can and can't do. Open things up there are no limits.
4. Schedule work time with each child. In the morning I like to schedule time with the older kids to make sure they know what the plan is for the day and look over anything I think might be of trouble to them. A lot of the teens work can be done independently. Any independent work is time I can work individually with the little ones since they need more assistance from me. I also like to provide hands on activities for the little's when I need to step away for a bit to help an older child. If I don't hear much from a child all day I will then meet again with them at the end of the day to see what progress they have made on a their work or if they have any unrealized questions.
5. School might take longer- With my kids so stretched out in ages I have to realize that school may take a bit longer than most. So I have to resolve to that and prepare my mind each day for the challenge. It's not a cake walk for sure.
6. Be prepared- have supplies readily available. A huge time waster is searching for missing items. Keep books and supplies as organized as you can.
Make sure you know what lesson will be covered this day and when . Have a plan of attack for your day. If you aren't prepared the kids will know it and cooperation might be lacking.
7. Some days won't have Equal time- I am sure you want to give each child equal time but just as you can't divide their needs into neat boxes neither can you divide that workload time. Some children are more independent workers compared to others. So in reality that equal time might not exist. Its ok if it doesn't . Just make sure that they do Equally feel valued.
8. Perfection doesn't exist- Keep in mind from the start that perfection doesn't exist. Don't try to handle more than you are capable. Who says what your school is supposed to look like. Only you know your model and what your goals are for your children. Talk to your husband about what those big goals will look like and work toward them. Remember that that word perfection doesn't apply to your kids either so keep your expectations in check.
9. Family First- God is first of course but what I mean by this one is that don't allow errands to take away from your kids or volunteer position etc... You are ministering to your children. You took this job on so that you can teach them about God. Keep the focus and unhook the phone. (Internet too?)
10. Expect bad days- Yep everyone had them and with more people in the house you might be fielding issues all day. The only way for a mom to handle all of that is support from other homeschoolers and much prayer with God. Take each moment as it comes. There will bound to be one moody soul in a given day and if you get lucky with everyone feeling Joy that celebrate that.
I hope my tips will help you. Most of all you find your niche by trial and error. If it doesn't work for you change it. Change can be good for all.