Homeschooling a lot of different ages of children comes with challenges. Learn how to overcome these challenges with simple ideas from a mom of 10!
Throughout my 20+ year long homeschooling career, I have homeschooled anywhere from 1-7 kids at one time. Currently, there are 5 children in my homeschool, so I am no stranger to homeschooling multiple ages, and I’m definitely familiar with the challenges and struggles that come with trying teach so many different ages and stages.
So, let’s dive in to some of these challenges, and some simple solutions for managing and overcoming them!
CHALLENGE #1 – How do I teach all these different grade levels?
This is the most overarching issue homeschooling moms of many face. It’s easy to get overwhelmed when you think about how many kids you are in charge of educating. And when you look at all your children through a traditional education lens that says you must have a different curriculum for each grade, it becomes downright daunting to even consider homeschooling multiple ages.
The first thing you need to do is let go of the public school mindset. The sooner you stop focusing on each child’s grade level, the sooner you can start implementing educational methods that streamline your homeschool day and maximize your teaching efforts.
Next idea to consider is teaching everyone together with a Morning Time, or some variation thereof. From early on in our homeschooling adventures, there were a few subjects I taught everyone at the same time.
Currently, we do Bible, history, fine arts, nature study, and a read-aloud during our Morning Time hours. I really enjoy these subjects, so I enjoy learning alongside the children about these things. Learning together like this maximizes your efforts and fills your tank as well.
For more ideas on what subjects to teach all together, take my class:
Creating a Homeschool Schedule You Love!
Morning Time related posts:
CHALLENGE #2 -How do I stay consistent with all these different ages and grades?
Consistency is hard when you have a lot of kids. There always to be someone or something throwing a wrench in your plans. The best way I’ve found to combat the crazy and keep the consistency is to build an Autopilot Routine.
Basically, you need a general order to your homeschooling day. My FREE 4 Steps to a Better Homeschool Day class helps you learn how to create anchors for your day and then build on those to make your day run on autopilot.
Start your homeschool day the same way. End your homeschool day the same way. Teach your kids to do their work in a certain order as well. It will naturally generate a consistency that becomes second nature and makes it MUCH easier for you to homeschool a herd of kiddos!
CHALLENGE #3 -What do I do when one or more of my children don’t want to do their schoolwork?
Before I can address this issue, we need to know WHY they are resisting you.
There can be a lot of reasons why your child doesn’t want to do their work, and not all of them mean they are defiant children. This is going to take a lot of prayer and heart searching.
They might need…
- more one-on-one time
- more mom, less school teacher
- heart issues to be address
- a change of pace
- a change of curriculum
In my post on How to Homeschool a Difficult Child, I address a lot of these issues and more, so rather than rehash all of it here, I’d encourage you to read that post:
Other posts to help you with this issue:
CHALLENGE #4 -How do I manage everyone needing me at the same time?
In a large family, this is a very real thing! There are days when I have 5 children asking me questions at the same time and saying, “Mom…mom…mom…” over and over. It’s like playing Whack-a-Mole trying to get to everyone!
There are a few things I have tried to implement over the years to help this situation.
Triage the situation – This is the proverbial “squeaky wheel gets the grease,” but with a twist. I don’t let the loudest or the whiniest win (more on that in a second). I try to logically assess the situation and help the child who REALLY needs me the most.
“I can’t hear you when you whine” – There are some children I have said this to many times! Basically, it means whining is not the way to get what you want. Talk to me in a normal voice, so I can truly understand what you need.
Put a hand on mama’s leg or arm – I learned this trick years ago, and it is a lifesaver when you have a lot of kids needing you! When someone needs something that is not an emergency and I am helping another child, I have taught them to put their hand on me (but please don’t poke me over and over! – ahhhhh!), and I will get to you as soon as I can. It works very well, and keeps mama calm at the same time!
For more ideas on how to homeschool when everyone needs you, read this post…
Other posts that might help you with this issue:
- Age Gaps and the Homeschooling Dilemma They Create
- Homeschooling High School in a Large Family
- The Wonderful Craziness of Raising Little Kids Alongside Big Kids
Hopefully, these ideas help you meet the challenge of homeschooling multiple ages with confidence and calm! You can do this, and you are exactly the mama your kids need right now!
Are there other challenges I didn’t address in this post? Put them in the comments section, and I’ll do my best to answer those as well!