Homeschooling can be a challenge under any circumstances, but when you have more than one child at home it can really require all of your patience and creativity. Yet it can also be incredibly rewarding, as your children build closer sibling bonds and develop their budding abilities to mentor and nurture others. Plus, some of the funniest moments I have experienced have come from our group lessons! Homeschooling multiple kids is definitely an experience to remember! Here are my tips based on my own experiences, plus ideas from other experienced homeschooling moms. Plus, don’t miss out on our giveaway at the bottom of the post!
Disclosure: I received complimentary samples of Safésha for review purposes; however, all opinions are my own. This post contains affiliate links. If you click through and make a purchase, I receive a small commission at no extra cost to you.
Homeschooling Multiple Kids Without Losing Your Mind
Here are my top tips for homeschooling multiple kids! I also really recommend these tips from Classically Homeschooling for enjoying homeschooling multiple ages and for homeschooling large families.
Build breaks into your schedule. Hopefully the breaks will mean you actually get a break, but it also is a recognition of the fact that when you multiple a plan by x number of people, you have that many more chances that something will go wrong. Breaks let you catch up and clean up, so that you don’t veer too far off course. Plus they give you some downtime with your kids, so you can just have some fun with them. A mental break is good for everybody, so play some tag or take a walk around the block!
Have a stash of activities to keep your little ones occupied. One of the biggest difficulties in homeschooling multiple kids is dealing with interruptions from very young children. Brainstorm in advance activities or “special” toys that can keep them occupied while you work with older kids.
Give yourself to say permission to say “no.” No, if someone asks you to volunteer for yet another activity or to take on another project. Realize that what you are doing is a physical but also emotional and mental challenge. To recuperate from homeschooling multiple kids requires that you have a mental break from being responsible for or planning anything else, so don’t feel guilty saying no when someone asks you to head a committee at church. But you can also give yourself permission to say no to your children if they want you to do something for them right at that moment, whether it’s help them with an assignment or get them a snack. Yes, you need to be responsive to your children, but you can’t keep your sanity if you are constantly reacting to them all day long. If something is urgent, attend to it, but otherwise prioritize it so that you make sure you don’t get to the end of the day feeling like you got nothing (or nothing important) accomplished.
Get them involved in housework. Remember that part of your job is to raise responsible, capable adults, so giving your kids opportunities to learn skills is actually part of the job description. Plus being of service to the family can help children feel a sense of pride and accomplishment. And don’t be discouraged if you have to spend some time training them at first – it will pay off in the long-term!
Teach them together when it makes sense. While some subjects need to be taught individually, others like history can be taught together, with activities adjusted for different learning levels. Children might do reading on the subject according to their level but come together for art projects and field trips, for example. Unit studies are a great choice for homeschooling multiple kids because they lend themselves well to multi-level learning. If you have children close in age, you can also teach grades that are close as a combined grade (such as a combined 2nd and 3rd grade). Here are great tips for teaching children of varying abilities and specifically on teaching reading to multiple ages.
Plan ahead. Don’t throw away those old lesson plans and supplies! Many of the resources you develop for your older children can be saved and used when your younger children are older.
Consider not doing it. This may seem like a strange thing to include on the list, but really, if nothing you’ve tried works, give yourself permission to take a break and try something else. Homeschooling is all about finding what works for your family at any given moment in time. After my youngest was born, I found trying to homeschool her two older brothers and care for a newborn was just too much, so my then 3 year old started going to a traditional preschool. It was a great decision for everyone – I got a bit of a breather, and he got more focused attention. Remember, you are not breaking some sacred homeschoolers’ oath if you send one or more of your kids to a traditional school! Give yourself permission to do what’s right for your family at that time.
Take time to take care of yourself. This is so important but so difficult to do when your kids are with you 24/7! If one is napping, at least one other is awake! If one is engaged in independent work, at least one other needs your attention. And don’t get me started on the laundry, the dishes, etc. So how do you fit in “me” time when it’s rarely just you? One solution is to take advantage of the time your partner is home to go for a run or take a soak in the tub. We are lucky enough that our gym has childcare, so at least once a week I take the kids there so I can get in a solo workout while they play. I also try to read or do lesson planning in the evenings when my toddler is asleep and the boys are having some screen time before bed.
I also recently discovered Safésha Hand Sanitizer, which is an easy way to keep your hands clean without drying them out! Why I am including hand sanitizer in my list? Because using Safésha feels like giving my hands a little treat – I love the spell and the feel (moisturizing without being greasy). And considering how many times a day I have to clean my hands, they really need the extra TLC!
Safésha uses only the best natural ingredients, including olive oil as a natural moisturizer and essential oils for scent. And I also feel good knowing that I’m supporting a woman-owned and person-of-color-owned business. Yay for women supporting women!
The lavender and sweet orange scents both help transport me from my paste-marker-construction-paper world, but I love that it is also available in unscented, since I have one kiddo who doesn’t like anything scented. And they are so easy to keep in your purse or diaper bag for when you are out and about!
Now you can win your own 3-pack of the Safésha moisturizing hand sanitizer! Comment below for a chance to win a pack of 3-oz bottles, one each of the sweet orange, lavender, and unscented! Just tell us in the comments how you take a little time for yourself during your busy day!
Comment below for a chance to win a 3-pack of 3 oz bottles of Safésha moisturizing hand sanitizer, one each of the sweet orange, lavender, and unscented! Just tell us in the comments how you take a little time for yourself during your busy day. US shipping only. Contest ends at midnight PT on Thursday, September 21, 2017. Winner chosen by random selection.