Teaching multi-level children is a necessary skill that emerges quickly when homeschooling and all the focus on homeschool curriculum can pale in comparison with homeschooling multiple ages of children.
Problem: Keeping ALL subjects separate.
Fix: This seems like a pretty easy problem to figure out, but when you have high school children and preschoolers it can be perplexing.
Should you or should you not keep kids on separate subjects is not as easy to figure out.
The secret here is to follow the scope and sequence of your older children because credits do matter in high school. It is easier, also, to plan down a grade than plan up a grade.
In other words, planning for lower grades is always easier than trying to take a lesson plan and increase the level of it for an older or high school student.
3 Common Missteps in Teaching Multi-Level Children
Using your high school students history or science curriculum, plan activities for the lower grades by changing written assignments to coloring, essays to word search, and memorizing vocabulary to match the word and definition.
Too, my younger sons were always entertained when my oldest son did his hands-on activities. Also, let your high schooler do his hands-on activity and add in another easy hands-on activity for your younger children.
Where possible, teach history, science, Bible, art and geography together.
Problem: One child needs more attention than the rest of your children.
Fix. By adding in my suggestion above, you have already freed up some time.
However, there are many times that one or more of my children needed my attention at the same time.
Dividing my time between my children equally was stressful until I figured out a few key ways of how to manage the time.
The basic rule of thumb is to start with the youngest learner first or the special needs child.
They do not have the attention span of your older children.
Your older children understand that they will get their turn soon, but it is hard to capture the teaching moment again with the youngest learner.
Teach your children that sometimes their day will not go as planned.
In other words, there will be times that you will just need to stop and switch your day.
Some of your children will need to work on subjects they can work on independently or even use digital devices when necessary.
The key is to be prepared for the interruption. This is not an if, but a when one or more of your children will need you.
Avoid the stress by having a backup plan now.
Digital and interactive content play a vital part now in learning.
Beating Homeschool Burnout
Be sure you have a plethora of resources to reach for in case you need them and to not lose control of your teaching day, but to switch it around temporarily.
Look at my article, Digital Homeschool Curriculum – Big Ol’ List to grab some backup when needed.
This means when assigning subjects during the day, try to plan the day so that no more than a few of your children are doing subjects at the same time that they find challenging.
For example, I knew that when I had to teach my younger two boys to read, I gave them my time in the morning. At that same time, my oldest son was working on math, a subject he excelled at.
By planning my day where each son’s subject that he struggle in was spread out, I minimized the stress of
Problem: Comparing children and their work.
Fix: Another roadblock to look for when teaching your children together is to avoid comparing children.
Though it is good that the oldest set of children model for the younger set, sometimes the plan backfires.
What I mean by this is that normally the younger child or to the child with special needs feels less inadequate in his school because he is always looking at the work of an older student.
This can really dampen the love of learning by a younger learner when he feels that he is constantly be comparing to his older student.
Not that we would do this on purpose, but because of the constant interaction, a younger learner may feel that his work is always of less value.
What I did to avoid this constantly was that I would dismiss my older son occasionally and especially if I felt the younger boys feeling a bit inadequate.
We spent a lot of time together, but at times it was okay for my older son to go to his room to do some of his work while I worked with the younger two boys.
The benefits of the one-room school house have always far outweighed any possible negatives because the kids can learn from one another.
Don’t let a few missteps in teaching multi-level children prevent you from treasuring one of the most unique ways to teach your children – altogether is superior.
Hugs and love ya,
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