Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Homeschooling Different Grades

Most of us have more than one child that we homeschool and this creates the challenge of homeschooling multiple grade levels at the same time.  For me this entails 8th, 7th, 2nd and preschool.  Quote a bit of difference in these. 

For my oldest two I have found that I order the same grade level of history, science, foreign language, art and music.  They can do these together and we like to get in our reading time with our history lessons which are daily at this point.  I still like the kids to do reading aloud daily so we do our history together.  The fun part is that although the second grader has her own history curriculum, she learns more from the lessons of the older kids which she can't help but be involve in.  For our family we have always considered this to be one of the benefits of homeschooling. 

Because we don't have a computer for each individual and their schooling is mostly online they take turns.  While language arts is mostly consumables, two kids can work on that while one does math on the computer based math program Aleks.com.  They sit together at one computer for foreign language and science. 

Our curriculum is very time intensive these past few years.  I find that art and music fall short because we have a good six hours of curriculum to work on steadily everyday for the older kids.  This means that on Sundays we often spend an hour or two as a family doing art and music.  My older kids play an instrument and my younger ones are just starting so they do their individual practice times during the week and I count this as music attendance and the state is okay with it.

The hardest part for our family is keeping the preschooler on task and busy so that the other kids can actually concentrate.  This is harder than it sounds as our preschooler is a busy bee.  She is curious and always wants to be doing something but her attention span is short which means we switch gears multiple times per day to accommodate her learning style.  While doing history she likes to listen for a few minutes but then needs to be busy so she does handwriting next to us as we read.  We then have to have her use building blocks or clay while we do the rest of history.  It is always best if we do things she can clean up herself and get out by herself.  This cuts down on the work load for me.

Have any ideas or clever solutions to share?  Please leave comments!!!