Dear Homeschool Mother of a Large Family,
Have you found teaching all the children difficult and time consuming? Have you wondered how to homeschool with toddlers exploring the house, preschoolers wanting school like the big kids, early elementary kids needing to learn how to read, later elementary children learning to read for information, middle school children needing both more independence and quality control, and still meet the needs of your high school teens?
In my 14 years as a homeschool mother of a large family, I’ve found three tips that keep our homeschool happening and our lives sane, even when things get busy.
3 Tips for a Homeschool Mother of a Large Family
1. Set a schedule for your school hours
By schedule, I mean what time do you plan on starting your homeschool day? I’ve found 9am to be a perfect time for my family, but many families prefer to start earlier or later. Choose a time that fits into your family’s natural rhythms.
Have a plan in place for what each child will be doing during school hours. Who will play with the toddler? What will they do together? When do you plan on sitting down with various children and tutoring them in their various subjects?
A smooth sailing homeschool begins with a good plan, so make it a priority to have a workable schedule in place from the beginning.
A group meeting time is priceless for a homeschool mother of a large family. Many subjects are easy to forget in the chaos of everyday life, but our lives are less without them. So plan these loose ends into a group time. Choose a piece of poetry for the family to memorize. Complete religious studies together. Do family discussions.
These subjects are often easy to do with a wide range of ages. The toddler can splash finger paints on paper while the high school teen works with acrylics or water colors. Turn music on to listen to while the children paint.
My family has also enjoyed read-alouds during our group meeting times. They give a different perspective on our history or science studies and are something everyone, preschool through high school can enjoy.
Many people plan their group meeting times first thing in the mornings. My family actually prefers to gather over lunch. It provides a natural breaking point for our day and a lead-in to discussions while the preschoolers head off for quiet time.
Combine subjects as much as possible. My family uses Tapestry of Grace which combines everyone, from preschool through high school, into the same historical topic. While my high school students go into much more depth, my preschoolers are still able to follow along.
We’re studying Egypt right now. My three high school students are covering in-depth material on Egyptian religion, lifestyle, and government. My preschoolers are learning about mummies and pyramids. We’re all able to gather together to make pyramids out of sugar cubes, mummify a chicken, and try our hands at hieroglyphics.
So, my dear homeschool mother of a large family, plan your schedule carefully, ensure there is a group meeting time, and combine children as much as possible.
Do you have any awesome tips for a homeschool mother of a large family?
Sara Dennis is a homeschooling mother of 6 children ages 3 through 17. After much research into homeschooling in 2000, she and her husband fell in love with classical education and used it as the foundation for their homeschool. Sara Dennis blogs at Classically Homeschooling. Follow her at Pinterest, Facebook, or Google +.
Don’t forget to take a read through the other posts in the Dear Homeschool Mom series.