Home schooling multiple children requires creativity on your part, as well as the ability to make the same lessons understandable to every age group represented in your home. Teaching each child separately can lead to confusion and long school days. Here are four tips for home schooling multiple children more effectively.
Tip #1 - Teach Older Children to Teach Younger Ones
If helping your children build strong characters is important to you, then you have a great opportunity if you have a mix of older and younger children. What better way to teach patience, service and humility, but to ask your older children to teach mini-lessons to your younger ones. For example, your 9 year old can review first words, the alphabet and numbers with your 4 year old. Your teenager can teach your 9 year old a science lesson that you reviewed with them years before. You'll also be freed up to plan lessons, grade assignments or work one-on-one with a child.
Tip #2 - Teach the Same Lesson
You can teach the same lesson at the same time to your children. The trick is to know when to let the younger ones go to work independently, how to boil the lesson down so that everyone understands it, and how to challenge your older students. The best way to do this is to work with unit studies. For example, if your family is studying electricity, the younger ones can draw light bulbs and experiment with rubbing a balloon on their clothing and watching it cling to them. Your older children can write an essay on electricity, conduct a more complex science experiment and spend a day shadowing an electrician. Some unit studies are designed with multi-children in mind, and the writers do the work of thinking through projects and assignments for every age group.
Tip #3 - Use CD-ROMs and DVDs
All of your children will need your individual attention at some point during the week or day. You can use CD-ROMs or DVD lessons with the other children, while you work with each child individually. There are ones available in most subject areas. Some programs are self-paced ones in which students can complete assignments and quizzes on their own after reviewing a lesson. There also websites that offer free lessons and tutorials, and some are geared to young children learning how to read, such as www.starfalls.com.
Tip #4 - Ask Your Spouse to Teach
There isn't a rule that all home schooling families have to teach their children in the mornings. Your spouse may be the perfect teacher for one or all of your older children. If your spouse works outside the home though, it would be impossible to do it during work hours. Perhaps your spouse is excited about the prospect of teaching your older children for a couple of hours in the evening, and is even better suited for it than you. During the day, your older children might work independently on assignments given by your spouse the evening before, or they could work on electives, such as music.
Teaching your children together and finding ways for them to work on projects together is a great way for your home schooling family to bond. Your children may end up the best of friends throughout their years because of it.
Daphne Mallory, Esq. is the co-owner of Mallory Writing Services and has written more than 100 articles helping home based business owners and entrepreneurs start and market their business.