One of the biggest questions in the homeschool community is how to homeschool multiple ages without losing your mind! Really, how does it look on a day to day basis with several kids at different grade levels and multiple subjects? Is there a way to simplify the homeschool day so that everyone gets the help they need? How can a homeschool mom balance so many ages, levels, and needs? This post aims to answer those questions. It really is possible and I’ll show you how.
How do you homeschool different grades?
The most important aspect of homeschooling different grades together is to realize that homeschool does not need to look like public school. Your children do not need grade-level specific curriculum for most subjects, especially in the K-8 range.
You can think of school subjects in two broad categories: skill-based and content-based.
Math is a skill-based subject. You can’t jump into learning algebra without first mastering the foundational mathematics skills leading up to algebra. So, your second grader cannot work on the same material as your fifth grader or your seventh grader. Everyone does need a math curriculum at their level.
Your goal in math as a skill-based subject is mastery. Children can go at their own pace while they work toward mastery. There’s no reason to rush them through a math curriculum just to check off the box for “third grade math.” It’s far better to slow down and make sure the foundation is solid before moving on to a harder math level.
History, on the other hand, is a content-based subject. You absolutely can be covering the same content in history with your third and sixth graders, while maybe expecting a bit more understanding, depth, and comprehension from your older child. So, this might look like reading from a history spine and then adding to a timeline and possibly writing a short essay or completing a history notebooking page.
So, if you can group children in K-8 together for most subjects except math and language arts (specifically spelling, phonics, and grammar), then can you see how this goes a long way to simplifying your homeschool day?
Typical Homeschool Day
Here’s how a typical day might look for a homeschool family with multiple kids.
First, complete these short lessons together on the couch during morning time:
- artist study
- Bible time
- music appreciation
- history lesson or science lesson
Then, your kids can head to the kitchen table to work on their individual subjects. You can want to choose curriculum that is easy to use and open & go. This means you don’t want to be digging into a teacher’s manual everyday just to get the kids through their work. Find better curriculum that is made for a homeschool family.
You can move around the kitchen table, helping children with their math as needed.
Then, work through other individual subjects like spelling, phonics, or grammar. As children finish or need to find something to do while you work with a sibling, teach them to grab a book they’re reading and head to a quiet corner. Or, encourage them to work on puzzles, drawings, or play with playdoh.
They need to know how to move through their day and what needs accomplished so that you don’t have four children always calling for you to direct them. Workboxes and Trello are great tools for setting up a flexible routine.
How do you homeschool an older child with a toddler?
I recently had a reader email me with a fabulous question, and I am sure others of you are dealing with these issues as well. She wanted to know my advice for homeschooling multiple elementary aged kiddos at the same time and how to do it with babies & toddlers in the mix. Here’s the advice I gave her.
Podcast Episode #51: Six tips for homeschooling multiple ages (including with babies & toddlers!)
First, if you’re struggling with many children in the elementary aged years all the way down to babies and toddlers, know that you’re not alone! This is a common struggle for homeschool moms, as you’re needing to be there for your littlest ones as you also homeschool your bigger kids.
Having homeschooled five kids for over a decade, here are my best tips & resources:
- 10 Truths to Crush Homeschool Burnout (FREE workshop)
- 6 Ways You’re Making Homeschooling Harder Than it Needs to Be
- 88 Things Every First Time Homeschool Mom Needs to Know
- The only 2 Things you Need to Start Homeschooling Tomorrow
- 3 Secrets to Homeschool Peace
- Seasons of Homeschool Life
- Minimalist History for Homeschoolers with Multiple Grades
- Super Simple Social Studies Plan for Multiple Kids in K-8
- Why a Morning Basket Works
Family style homeschool curriculum
One of the most crucial decisions that will make or break your sanity in homeschooling multiple ages together well is the curriculum you choose to use.
Ask these questions:
- How much prep work is required to use this curriculum?
- Is it open and go?
- Is it easy for my child to work on independently? (skill-based curriculum)
- Can I use this for multiple ages together? (content-based curriculum)
The content-based curriculum that you can use with multiple ages could be referred to as family style homeschool curriculum.
Podcast Episode #162: Tips for Homeschooling Multiple Ages
In this episode of the Homeschool with Moxie Podcast, I’m answering a great reader question:
How do you balance so many ages, levels, needs? When I focus on one child, I inevitably don’t get to focus on another.homeschool mom of many
I’m drawing from my experience as a homeschool mom of five, having homeschooled through all the ages and stages and now graduated two from our homeschool! So, yes, it’s possible to figure out a good balance and have a peaceful flow to your homeschool day.
Here are the tips I mention in this podcast.
- “Wherever you are, be all there.” In other words, don’t try to multitask while you’re homeschooling. Focus on one thing at a time. Forget the housework during homeschool hours. There is really no such thing as “balance.”
- Your planning is important! We talk about how to plan your year from a 30,000 foot view, then implement strategies that will simplify your homeschool day. Grab homeschool schedule planning pages for FREE in our library for this step.
- Choose homeschool-friendly curriculum that is easy to use each day. No fumbling with a bulky teacher’s manual!
- Do your children know what to do next? We discuss how to set a flexible flow to your day and the importance of routines.
- How does your role change through the years as a homeschool mom? What does this mean for your day-to-day?
Podcast Episode #26: How to Homeschool Multiple Ages Without Losing Your Mind
Do you wonder if you can really homeschool multiple kids at various grade levels while keeping your sanity? You can! Check out this episode to learn the mindset shifts necessary for YOU.
Here’s a list of resources mentioned on today’s episode:
- From Overwhelm to Calm: Embracing Planned Neglect
- Dear Homeschool Mom, You Don’t Have to Do It All
- The Only 2 Things You Need to Start Homeschooling Tomorrow
- 6 Ways You’re Making Homeschooling Harder Than It Needs To Be
- Online Workshop: How To Homeschool Multiple Ages Without Losing Your Mind will give you the practical strategies to implement these tips!
Homeschooling Multiples Action Steps
First, listen to this podcast episode! Then, grab your FREE download from our resource library and learn some of the key strategies for successfully homeschooling multiple kids.
If you want access to the complete workshop that goes along with the download, then use the code MOXIE to save 20% HERE.
Podcast Episode #131: Expert Tips for Homeschooling Multiple Kids
In this episode, we bring you practical ideas from veteran homeschool moms of many. Want to know how to successfully homeschool multiple kids? Check out these strategies from Gena Mayo from Music in Our Homeschool, and Lea Ann Garfias, author of Everything You Need To Know About Homeschooling.
Gena Mayo, from Music in Our Homeschool and I Choose Joy, joined us for a Q&A in the Homeschool Mom Collective. As a veteran homeschool mom of 8 children, Gena has been there, done that – and has tons of wisdom and practical ideas to share! This episode pulls out one of her great strategies for you to try in your homeschool.
We also chat about Lea Ann Garfias’ book, Everything You Need to Know About Homeschooling, and some practical solutions she shares about homeschooling a large family.
You can hear my chat with Lea Ann on episode #102 – Making Homeschool Life Easier
Get Homeschool Support
Did you know we offer a monthly membership for homeschool moms? For less than the price of great coffee with a friend, you can join us in the Homeschool Mom Collective where we’ll answer the question: “What should I be doing this month in my homeschool?” You don’t have to homeschool alone! And if you’re constantly spinning your wheels and feeling overwhelmed, then you’ll love our simple monthly success path.
The content for the month of September is all about this question of how to homeschool multiple ages successfully. And – if you’re homeschooling an only child, we have bonus content just for YOU!
We have a community of moms ready to answer your questions, along with Q&A’s with experts in the homeschool field. Join today and be on the way to a more peaceful and confident homeschool experience.
And my listeners can save 40% off with the coupon code PLAN40