So, you think you’d like to homeschool, but have no idea how you could possibly do so with more than one child. Maybe you have children in multiple grades or you have school age and preschool children both at your home. Have no fear! You can do this with a little planning.
First, let’s look at working with more than one grade level. Many families like building their schoolwork around unit studies so that everyone is studying the same thing at different levels. This can make dinnertime discussions much easier because everyone has something to contribute. Unit studies aren’t the only way to go. Find areas where your children can all learn the same thing at different levels. For example, in history your older children may read aloud from a biography while the younger ones color a picture of the person or you could all work together to make a timeline throughout your school year. You could also spend time learning a new skill together like sewing, gardening, or pottery.
Second, we can consider life with preschoolers. There are several possibilities here. You can use some special “only for school time” toys to keep your toddler occupied while you are teaching. Some ideas might be play dough, sewing cards, stringing beads, scented markers, and others. You could also make up some bags ahead of time that you can rotate through with your younger ones to keep them occupied during school. Consider “playpen” time to help your younger ones learn to entertain themselves while you are busy with teaching. Our family liked to do our one on one schoolwork during nap times. That is when we concentrated on reading and going over math skills.
One of the best resources that I know of for those with children of different ages is the annual FPEA Homeschool Convention in Orlando each May. Every year there are wonderful speakers who address just this issue. There are also plenty of vendors with curriculum, organizational needs, and other products that will help you succeed. This year the FPEA Ambassadors will also be on hand to answer questions and encourage you as you head out on this wonderful adventure.
by Melanie Thurman, FPEA Relationship Ambassador – Melanie is a homeschooling mom of five in her 21st year of this adventure. She would love to see more and more moms give homeschooling a try and works to help encourage and support them through her local support group and as an FPEA Ambassador. You can catch up with her at www.thurmanmom.blogspot.com