I have a lot of readers who wonder how we juggle homeschooling multiple ages and ask me about it all. the. time. Well, this is how we do it! (Que Montell Jordan’s song singing in your head…you’re welcome.)
My oldest two kids are nearly four years apart in age. This means, for four glorious years, I only had to homeschool one child (minus preschool…but that took so little time that I don’t count it). I started to get a bit full of myself and a little bit cocky. “This homeschooling stuff is easy!” “Our homeschool day goes by SO fast!” “Adding another child into our homeschool will be a piece of cake!” Oh, friends. I wish I could go back and give old me a hug. And a giftcard to get some double shots of espresso for the hard days.
Homeschooling multiple ages can be beautiful
One of the things I love about homeschooling multiple ages is combining subjects. My very favorite subject to combine is history. Sure, I could be going through all of the cute kindergarten lessons like community helpers, but I feel like my kids learn about subjects like that naturally and through field trips and other community activities like Touch-a-Truck day. Learning about things like the Revolutionary War and Abraham Lincoln will not go above your six year old’s head! I promise! They sometimes pick out things that your older kiddos may not.
Adding a Morning Basket to our homeschool has also helped us combine more subjects. We do Bible, art, read alouds, and poetry all together as a family. It’s a great start to our morning and something we will likely do for years to come, even when my one year old becomes school age and my “homeschooling mom of two hat” will be exchanged for a “homeschooling mom of three hat”.
Another thing that helps me juggle homeschooling multiple ages is to outsource some subjects. My kids both attend a science class with other homeschoolers. I pay someone to teach my kids science and I don’t feel the slightest bit bad about it! They get some amazing hands on experiences and get to play with some really cool equipment we don’t have at home. And it gives me another opportunity to socialize with my homeschool mom tribe. Win, win.
I’m also a big fan of using computer programs. I don’t use a lot of them, but I have found one or two that have worked really well for us. Having my kids be able to work independently while I’m working with the other one is a huge help. It gets another subject checked off of our list and frees up my hands a bit (and my hands are usually pretty full picking up after the tornado my one year old leaves behind).
Homeschooling multiple ages can be tricky
There are days where having to fit in everything for both kids can bring me to my knees. But, aren’t those days likely to happen even if we aren’t homeschooling. Yes. It can take a while to get into your groove of homeschooling more than one child. Some days will take longer than you had hoped. Some days you need to just throw the books away in the cabinet, out of sight, and move on about your day. But, usually, just some figuring out schedules and a little bit of (who am I kidding, a lot of) patience is all you need.
The hardest thing that I feel like we encounter is distractions. Oh, the distractions!! While one kid is waiting on me to finish an assignment, they have a knack for disappearing. Where do they go? How do they escape so quickly?! The world may never know. They also tend to get caught up in a super important Lego project. Did you know you cannot take breaks from Lego projects? Oh wait, you can? Please explain this to my ten year old. For real, though. I do encourage something hands on like playing with Legos or drawing while waiting on me to finish an assignment with their sibling. Anything to keep their little minds going while they’re in the homeschool groove.
Now, let’s talk juggling a baby while homeschooling. This can be the hardest part of having multiple ages. I have the ever so busy one year old in my house. You guys, she is my most into everything baby that I’ve had. We have to take lots of breaks because of her. Whether it’s because she’s crying, she’s tearing apart one of her siblings papers, or she’s into the dog water again, we take lots and lots of breaks to deal with the baby. Something I’m trying to get used to is giving her something that makes school time special for her, and also reminding myself and my boys that this is just a season. Homeschool time will get easier and easier as she gets older and can be kept busier with her own little projects, games, and toys.
So, in case you haven’t noticed…I only have two kids that I am homeschooling. Some of you have 6 kids. Some of you have 10 kids. My story of homeschooling my two kids may make you scoff. You guys are the real MVPs. But, I imagine, you guys have the same kinds of struggles and the same kinds of joys. Something about having my kids so far apart is that we can only combine so many subjects. Some of you who have 2-3 kids who are all within a couple of years of each other may be able to combine so much more. You also have a few more hands to help distract little ones during lessons. Having a large family can come with it’s advantages!
What advice do you have for people who are homeschooling multiple ages? Let me know in my online homeschool community, or in the comments below!