How to Keep Your Sanity While Homeschooling Multiple Grades
Our very first homeschool year was with my oldest two children. My oldest son started in Kindergarten, and we did Pre-K with my daughter. On top of starting my first year homeschooling with 2 kids in 2 different grades, I had a toddler! The craziest time to homeschool!! (Read my article on Homeschooling with Toddlers: HERE) We now have 3 kids homeschooling and a 4th child who is a toddler. Let me tell you, it can be super challenging…. but don’t let that freak you out. I was super stressed out when my 3rd child started nearing school age. We had just fallen into a good homeschool groove with my oldest two, and I was pregnant with my 4th child! But, come to find out, homeschooling multiple grades really isn’t as hard as is sounds. Just like with anything, you have to give yourself time to adjust. In the meantime, here are a few ideas on how to keep your sanity while homeschooling multiple grades.
Teach Them Together As Much As Possible
Teach all of your children at the same time. Sounds crazy right?? Think one-room schoolhouse. Back in the days of one-room schoolhouses, children in all different grade levels were taught in one classroom. There was no separation of grades. Only certain subjects, such as Language Arts and Math were taught to grade level or skill level.
Some subjects that can be taught together:
Your older children can go further with their lessons with projects, reports, or extra readings.
We teach all the subjects I listed above together for the most part. Sometimes I will let my youngest sit out of a certain reading, or do something more suitable to his age level. We call the work we do together, “together-work.”
Your older children can do a lot of their work independently. This will free you up quite a bit to help your younger children with their school work. While I am teaching one of my children, I make sure that the others are occupied with doing handwriting, reading, or anything they have assigned for the day that can be done without help. Sometimes I have to remind them to keep working. They will try everything they can to get out of school, even if it’s just for a few minutes! (Tell me my kids aren’t the only ones!)
One thing that has really helped us with independent work is a checklist. If I print out a checklist or write one on the whiteboard, my children keep on task so much better. It helps them to see what needs to be done next without having to constantly ask me. I really suggest trying a checklist… it is a sanity-saver for sure! (I have a student checklist in my FREE Homeschool Planner and my Black and White Planner.)
Give Them a Break
Give your child a break!! It really can help out so much. If they have finished their independent work already, and they can’t seem to find anything else productive to do, let them take a break. You can use this time as a “recess” of sorts. They don’t necessarily have to go outdoors, but my kids love to take a break on the trampoline. Regardless of where they take their break, they will find something to do! Another idea is to have them use their “break” to do a few chores like cleaning their rooms, sweeping, or taking out the trash. It’s a great way to keep them occupied while doing something productive.
Need some ideas?? Read 11 Chores for Ages 5+
Make a Schedule
I am not one who follows an hour by hour homeschool schedule. Our homeschool day is spread throughout the day. We do get done by noon most days, but when we don’t I am not worried too much about it. They will get their work done, and that is all that matters. When you homeschool, you have the freedom to do school whenever it is most convenient for you. We have tried to stay on a strict homeschool schedule, but it completely failed! Accidents always happen at my house. Drinks are spilled, diapers need changed, and people come to visit. It never fails! One day is always different than the next.
However, we do have a mental schedule … if you can call it that. I have a certain order that I like to do things. We like to start our day with our “together-work.” When all of that is finished, we move onto our independent subjects. Then I rotate helping out each child as they need it. I often wait until my oldest kids are done with their independent work to start working with my youngest son. This is just to ensure that there is always someone available to play with my toddler. There will be days when your schedule doesn’t go as planned, and you have to switch things up. But, don’t worry about it. The most important thing is that you get it done. Not what order you get it done in.
Starting your day off with a little bit of prayer (or a lot of it) will make your days go much smoother. Also consider starting your homeschool day with family prayer or family Bible time.
When we put God first, all other things fall into their proper place or drop out of our lives.~ Ezra Taft Benson
But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you. ~Matthew 6:33
You can do this!
If I can do it, then so can you! I am nobody special, just a plain ol’ mom of 4 kids who is doing her very best to make sure that her children succeed.
You may have started down a rocky path, but the road will be smooth before too long. Don’t give up… hang in there my friend!
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