Homeschooling Multiple Children

How can I homeschool multiple children? If you’ve asked this question, you’re in good company. Meeting the needs of multiple children is a challenge for any parent. But homeschooling parents needs to be able to do it all day long. How is that possible?

There is No One Right Way

Homeschooling families run a wide gamut, from “regimented” to “easygoing.” Where does your family fit on this spectrum? Some parents would ideally prefer a more structured approach, but reality requires them to be more laid-back to make it work. Others find that a carefully planned rhythm helps them stay on track with everyone’s needs.The Cassell Family

Set the tone of adaptability in your home and model it for your children to follow. If you are calm, creative, and flexible in meeting their needs, they will learn in time to be patient and flexible in getting their own needs met.

Oak Meadow is designed to be highly adaptable. You may find that you want to go more in-depth with some lessons and skim through others. Some lessons can be modified so that children at multiple levels can learn from them. If two or more of your children are close in age or at developmentally similar levels, you might simplify things by working with them at a single level.

If you need help with adjusting Oak Meadow curriculum to meet your family’s specific situation, consider consulting with Oak Meadow’s experienced support team for suggestions.

Let Your Observations Guide You

The Roney FamilyThink about each of your children individually. What do they love? What engages each one’s attention like nothing else? Use your observations to create tools that help them stay occupied while you are working with the others. Finding safe, reliable ways to keep little hands and minds busy when you need it will go a long way. Oak Meadow’s Pinterest boards are full of helpful activity ideas.

Keep an open mind about the times of day when you work with your older children. Can attention be given to academics or projects after the younger children are in bed? Consider also when your youngest children need your attention the most – and least. Are they happiest sharing your attention mid-morning or just after a nap?

Create a Predictable but Flexible Rhythm

By using your children’s own rhythms as a starting point for the whole family’s rhythm, you can maximize the chance of success.

When everyone in the family knows what to expect, less time is spent in communication about what each day will hold. Provide a general rhythm to guide the whole family. Perhaps your homeschool rhythm flows best around mealtimes, naptimes, and bedtimes. Post a simple chart of your rhythm that everyone can understand and try to follow.

If you try something and it doesn’t work, use that information to adjust your approach and continue moving forward.

Capitalize on their Independence

In what ways can each child be independent? Independence for an older child might mean reading or working on lessons by themselves for a set period of time. For a baby, independence might mean naptime, time with toys on the floor, or an extended ride on someone’s back.

Can the olders amuse the youngers while the middles get needed attention? Even young “big siblings” can sometimes successfully engage very little ones with funny faces, rhyming songs, finger plays, stories, and toys. In some larger families, each older child is paired up with a younger child. If your older children are not yet at this stage, consider inviting a homeschooled teen to help you out on a regular basis.

Prioritize Thoughtfully

Just as important as the ways in which your children can be independent are the ways each is not able to work without your help.

Where do they need your attention most?
Make those moments count. You may need to spend some time observing and assessing your children to figure out where they need the greatest support.

If you have to ask a child to wait for your attention, acknowledge that you are asking them to do something important and helpful. The most successful cooperation happens when those involved feel their needs are recognized and valued.

Take Time to Recharge

Always remember to take care of your own basic needs so that you can be as patient, creative, and flexible as possible. Homeschooling multiple children is a mighty challenge. Try to connect with others who share your values, can relate to your struggles, and can offer ideas that you might not have thought of. You might consider homeschooling cooperatively with another family or group to share the load.

Maintain patience. Feed your own needs so that you have plenty of inner reserves when you most require them. Approach the issue of nurturing multiple children as a problem that can and will be solved.

Keep It All in PerspectiveThe DeWitt family

When you have a challenging day or week, remind yourself why you started homeschooling in the first place. Chances are your reasons for homeschooling will be much more compelling than your challenges. Seek ideas and support from others who have been in similar shoes.

Do all you can to savor the time you have at home with your children, because this time with your children is just a season.  Love your children, be responsive to their needs, do your best to be flexible and adaptable in your approach to homeschooling, and trust that it will be enough.

Sailing for PEACE

hokulea_molokai_monte

Building a network of people around the world on a 47,000 mile ocean journey to promote peace and a love for our planet, this is an amazing adventure to follow! Hokulea — Island Wisdom, Ocean Connections, Global Lessons – Hokulea

I encourage you to explore more about this project’s mission to “join and grow the global movement toward a more sustainable world.” There are many ways to participate in the journey. Explore how to do that here: http://learningcenter.hokulea.com/get-involved/join-the-education-voyage/

 

Taking time to make something

In our busy days, with so much going on around us, it can be a challenge to find the time to just enjoy making something. I like carving wood and wood burning and I love to knit too, but when the summer months come, the last thing I want to do is be inside. It’s too hot here in New Hampshire. Anyway, I really enjoy doing some crafts with friends outside at the picnic table on a summer afternoon.

If you like constructing things, coloring, or sewing, go to Made by Joel to find items to keep your hands busy on a summer afternoon! You’ll find all sorts of stuff to make for all ages!

 

 

Astronomy or Astrology?

In my previous post I wrote:

Last week I overheard a boy and girl having a conversation about different planets. They were looking at astronomy books in the library. The boy said, “It’s fun learning new facts about the different planets. I just love astrology.” What do you think? What should the girl reply?”

Thank you to all for your terrific comments!

I was hoping that the girl would say, ” I like learning new facts about the planets, too. I just love Astronomy.”

The two words are often confused by people. In the Oak Meadow science curriculum, you’ve learned that Astronomy is the study of the planets, stars, universes, galaxies, pulsars, and beyond. It’s a branch of physics.

“It does make a certain amount of sense. Astronomy is, strictly speaking, the measurement of the positions of the stars and planets, “ordering the stars,” so to speak. In the old days, interpreting those measurements was called astrology, but nowadays we interpret our measurements, not with numerology and unfounded conjecture, but with physics, and we call it astrophysics” This quote came from Britt Scharringhausen at the website, Ask an Astronomer.

In the the study of astronomy in the Oak Meadow 7th grade science curriculum, there’s an assignment to write a report on a constellation. It’s impressive when a student’s answer is based on the astronomical details and the astrological story of the constellation.

Check out: Curious About Astronomy: What’s the difference between astronomy and astrology?

Curious!

Last week I overheard a boy and girl having a conversation about different planets. They were looking at astronomy books in the library. The boy said, “It’s fun learning new facts about the different planets. I just love astrology.”

What do you think? What should the girl reply? I’m looking for comments! There will be more posted about this in my next post. For now, LET US KNOW WHAT YOU THINK!

 

Retellings of Fairy Tales

It seems as though every library shelf or bookstore shelf I see in the youth section these days is a retelling of a fairy tale. I LOVE THEM!

Maybe you’ve read Ella Enchanted by Gail Carson Levine, Peter and the Star Catchers by Dave Barry and Ridley Pearson, or The Looking Glass Wars by Frank Beddor.

I’ve just gotten A Curse Dark as Gold by Elizabeth C. Bunce and I’m looking forward to reading it soon. It won ALA’s William C. Morris YA Debut Award. If you want to try some of these retellings, I’ve come up with a list for you. If you have some to add, please let us know!

Try these: Just Ella by Margaret Peterson Haddix, East by Edith Patou, Breath by Donna Jo Napoli, The Door in the Hedge by Robin McKinley, Straw Into Gold by Gary Schmidt, and the Sisters Grimm series.