One of my favorite parts of homeschooling is that we can all learn together as a family, and yet that also presents one of the greatest challenges—homeschooling multiple ages. I’ve homeschooled while pregnant, with a newborn, through the destructive toddler years, while potty training, into the preschool stage; and now, my youngest is finally kindergarten. Each stage has its challenges, and our routine has looked different at each stage, sometimes changing throughout the year. But no matter what our current challenges are or how I change the routine, a few principles have remained constant and made a world of difference in successfully homeschooling multiple ages.
Quick Tips for Homeschooling Multiple Ages
- Budget your time.
- Combine all that you can.
- Don’t try to do it all.
- Less is more.
- Train independence.
A day in the life of
Homeschooling Multiple Ages
Though not everyday is exactly the same, most days we participate in our extracurriculars in the morning and begin schoolwork after lunch. Monday afternoons, I devote to my oldest. We meet together for a couple of hours with a cup of coffee or tea and go over the last week’s work, the new week’s assignments, and our Tapestry of Grace history and literature discussions. It’s also our video and game day, which means that my younger ones watch geography and Spanish videos, play learning games, or work on projects; they are occupied with these special activities that I only offer them once a week, which allows me some (more or less) uninterrupted time with my sixth grader. The rest of the week, he works pretty independently, checking in with me only if he has a problem or question.
On the other four days, I work with my kids from youngest to oldest, starting with my kindergartener. Together, my youngest and I work on phonics (Logic of English Foundations B), math (a mix of RightStart Math A and Math Mammoth 1), and handwriting for about an hour. Then, he goes off to play legos, and I switch my attention to my fourth grader. She’s dyslexic and ADHD; between her learning challenges and anxieties plus the ADHD distraction, working on her own is sometimes challenging. Because I cannot work with her in every subject every day, I budget my time with her. We work together for about an hour and a half in a block schedule. On certain days, I work with her in RightStart Math and Easy Grammar; other days we work on writing and comprehension skills. She then works for about another hour and a half on some copy work activities, reading, and craft projects. A couple of days a week, I’ll wrap up our homeschool day by working with my oldest for about 20 min. in his grammar, using the Abeka 6th grade grammar workbook. We read through the instructions together, and I’ll have him work through a certain number of sentences until I’m confident he’s grasped it. (By no means do we work every problem or even every exercise.)
For history, I choose a read-aloud for the lunch hour and assign some independent reading and projects for my older kids to do on their own. Science is another independent subject for my kiddos. My oldest works on his own throughout the week in his Elemental Science Biology for the Logic Stage, while my daughter is reading through the Thornton Burgess Book of Birds and Book of Animals and choosing projects about the animals in her stories.
On a good day, we will finish up around 3:30 or 4, but of course, there are those days when I wrap up our day just in time to start dinner.
Homeschooling multiple ages is a work in progress. It’s about finding a groove that works for one stage in your life, and being willing to make adjustments as your kids grow and change. It’s about looking at your whole day to find the best moments for learning. It’s about seeing all the opportunities in your day. It’s about thinking outside the box and taking advantage of all that homeschool freedom and flexibility.