Q: My kids are ages four-and-a-half years old, two-and-a-half years, and ten-and-a-half months old. I am intimidated to homeschool them for some reason! You’ve been home-educating for a while now, I would love to glean from your knowledge and experience! Are there any tips or advice that you can offer me as I begin to teach multiple ages?
A: When I first started homeschooling, my children were the same ages as your kids! I’ve been a homeschooling mom for more than 20 years and I’ve graduated three students. I’ve since adopted seven(!) children, so I’m starting over in many ways.
When I homeschooled my oldest, I let my second oldest sit in. She liked being a part, and she learned to read before she was four because of it! I also put the baby in the high chair and gave him things to play with that he only got to play with during that time. That only worked for so long, but he learned to play at the table (or under the table) while we worked.
Boys are naturally slower at school stuff, so when my older boys were younger I’d incorporate learning into games. For example, we’d play cars and count them. We’d work with play dough and learn shapes. We’d read and watch education DVDs. We’d go on nature walks. We’d memorize things together in the car. (I had some great CDs with states and capitals, etc.) Sitting down and making my boys do worksheets did NOT work. Instead, pick a topic and focus on that, making it fun. (unitstudy.com is a great resource!)
You don’t need to be intimated. Think of it as making learning part of life. Don’t worry about finding the right curriculum or finishing books. Get them excited about learning things! The facts will stick in their brains for only so long, but the habit will last a lifetime!
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Shirley Strait says
Homeschooling multiple ages can be tricky, but it is also rewarding. There is an 11 year difference between my oldest and youngest children. The year my oldest was in the 12th grade my youngest was in Kindergarten. That was quite the span for 5 children. I loved it. It was wonderful to see the way the older children helped the younger ones.
Homeschooling was the hardest and best and most rewarding job I have had and it lasted 25 years.
Tricia Goyer says
I agree with you. It’s the hardest and the best!