/ / What is Family-style Homeschooling with Multiple Ages of Children?

What is Family-style Homeschooling with Multiple Ages of Children?

Find out how you can create an environment of family-style homeschooling with multiple ages of children for more relaxed, customized learning.

Find out 5 ways to do family-style homeschooling with multiple ages that will help you be a confident mom that has interactive and engaging lessons to create happy kids who are soaking up all the knowledge and learning.

Just remember, you are a family first, not a school.❤️

1. Consolidate as much as possible

Work smarter, not harder, right? The main idea behind family-style homeschooling with multiple ages is to group as much learning together as you can.

Let’s look at history for example. It doesn’t make any sense for your high schooler to be studying American government while your middle schooler is studying Asian Cultures, plus your upper elementary kiddo is learning about Ancient Egypt and the preschooler is begging you to read her a book. That’s just crazy! Why are you doing this to yourself?

Have everyone study the same topic at the same time. Just cater to each kid’s level. Your high schooler is going to be digging in at a much deeper level than your other kids, but this way, you really can tailor your curriculum to best suit each child’s needs. And isn’t that one of the main reasons you homeschool?

Two amazing bonuses of this method are creating a stronger family bond among your children and a greater atmosphere of education in your home because your kids will have the freedom to go on little rabbit trails of interest.

2. Use routines, not schedules

Settle into a daily rhythm instead of trying to stick to a color-coded, blocked-out schedule. Go ahead, just throw it out now.

I know you spent a lot of time creating it. I’ve made several over the years too. And you know what? They don’t work. Like, at all.

Cause life with kids is never predictable and there’s never a dull moment, right?

(What does work is a visual schedule, which we’ll talk about next)

Instead, just create a flow of how your day will go and be flexible when little Susie is really into listening to an audiobook and wants to keep listening. Let her. You can double up on history tomorrow if you need to. Just know the things that need to be done each week and check them off as you go. It really doesn’t matter if you want to do all of your science on Monday, and none the rest of the week. Or maybe everyone has well-child visits this week and you need to just do reading or worksheet style tasks while sitting in the waiting room.

Going with the flow is hard for us Type A moms that like color-coded schedules, I know! I’m a recovering type A homeschool mom and I’ve found that having all the assignments listed out for the week on one page (per kid) lets me not freak out about getting all the things crossed off.

Read this post about creating a curriculum plan that will work for your family here.

Then I highly recommend that you read Sarah Mackenzie’s Teaching from Rest: A Homeschooler’s Guide to Unshakeable Peace.

(I have to confess, when I first heard about this book, I thought, “I have no intention of homeschooling from my bed, so I do not need that book!” But some friends convinced me to at least read the first chapter. Well, friends, it’s not about homeschooling from your bed, or the couch. LOL It’s about teaching from a place of non-worry.

So, if you ❤️ color-coded things, run and read her book. (Don’t hate me, you can still color-code your kids and all their stuff, just not a schedule 😀)

3. Create independent kids

There are four things I’ve done over the years to foster independence and perseverance in my kids.

  1. Give each kid an individual “Mom Time” Usually, my kids can get all of their one-on-one work with me done in about 15 minutes. Some days it’s only 6 or 7 minutes. It doesn’t take long, but them knowing that they will get my undivided attention during the day has really helped them to work more independently.
  2. Use Mom Cards. We use these in addition to our workboxes and visual schedule. They are simply laminated cards that say “MOM!” for your child to use if they absolutely can’t wait until their “Mom Time” to ask for help. Think of them like a “get out of jail free” card from Monopoly, only it’s for your child to interrupt what you are doing. You can decide how many cards your child gets each day. I recommend starting with more than you think they will need and then reducing it down each week until they are down to only 1 or 2 cards per day. When we first introduce the cards with each of my kids, they will think that they need to use all the cards, all the time. LOL I just ask them if it’s really something they want to “waste” their card on, and they usually decide that they can either wait, or didn’t really need help to begin with.
  3. Use workboxes and a visual schedule. Read this post about Organizational Strategies for ADHD to learn more about workboxes and how we use them. PLUS, get your own FREE printable Visual Schedule with daily task cards. p.s. The visual schedule isn’t just for kids with ADHD, but it’s one of the best strategies we use to keep us on track.
  4. Self-grading Math. Once your kids get to third grade math, get them on a self-grading math program like Teaching Textbooks. No homeschooling mom with multiple kids has time to grade all that math every stinking day. 😀

4. Involve the littles

The best way to solve the dilemma of what to do with toddlers and preschoolers is to involve them as much as possible. They want to do the same things as the “big kids” so let them think that they are. I put toddlers in a high chair and preschoolers in a booster seat right at the table with us. Give them something to quietly play with during read-aloud time or a simple matching game or sensory bin to play during discussion. Let them “help” with hands-on activities as much as is safe to do. All of our unit studies have book recommendations and activities for your younger kids to do that go along with the unit for this reason.

If they want to get down before everyone else is done with the family school, make sure they understand that if they get down, they are done with school for the day. Then, don’t let them rejoin until the next day. They will quickly learn that it’s more fun to stay at the table.

When the big kids are doing their independent work, I give the littles a box of toys that only comes out during this time. Make sure it’s filled with highly desirable and engaging toys.

Finally, make sure that your littles are getting some quality mom-time each day by snuggling and reading or playing a game together.

5. Use real-life, hands on, practical learning

You’ve probably heard the popular saying “Tell me and I’ll forget, show me and I may remember, involve me and I’ll learn.” (Benjamin Franklin). Doing something is the best way to create the connections in the brain that create a lasting memory.

The easiest way to incorporate hands-on learning is by turning all of your to-do lists into learning opportunities for your kids.

Furniture needs dusting? Home Ec.

Meals need to be planned? Health.

Garden needs planted? Science.

This summer, we decided to build a (redneck IG trending) stock tank pool on our downstairs patio. My high school aged son was very excited about the project and he happily used geometry and chemistry ( two subjects he had just completed but complained a lot about) to design and build the tiny deck and to adjust the pool’s alkalinity and chlorine levels.

deck plans for stock tank pool
multiple-ages homeschooling
building deck for stock tank pool
multiple-ages homeschooling
building deck for stock tank pool
multiple-ages homeschooling
stock tank pool construction
multiple-ages homeschooling

stock tank pool
multiple-ages homeschooling

Last year we decided to remodel our kitchen (it was still in avocado green from 1973) and our 2 oldest that still live at home helped with the wiring, sheetrocking, and painting. Learning by doing really is the best way to learn a life skill plus these projects strengthen our family bond.

Here are the before and after pictures:

practical life skills family-style schooling
practical life skills family-style schooling
practical life skills family-style schooling
practical life skills family-style schooling
practical life skills family-style schooling

Benefits of exploring all areas of interest in context

When you use family-style homeschooling with multiple ages, you have the ability to let your children explore all areas of a subject. Instead of having a very focused random topic, you can use a wide lens to find all of the rabbit trails that pique your children’s curiosity. Learning about a topic in relation to other topics and in context connects those brain pathways. Using unit studies, you can also cater to your children’s natural interests.

family-style homeschooling with multiple ages

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