I am an independent homeschooling parent with more than one child, and I’m a little overwhelmed trying to work with several grades at once. I have two daughters close in age. Can I teach them together by combining two grades? Can I teach both children using a single grade level?

We have many families who are homeschooling multiple children, and while the task may sometimes feel daunting, the rewards can be wonderful. Our curriculum is designed to be easy to adapt to all sorts of family situations, including have two children work together. For example, you could have your 4th and 6th graders working together on 5th grade curriculum if you like, and simplify it for one and add complexity for the other. Another idea is to have your students work at grade level in some subjects (math, in particular), and then have both students work together on the same material in other subjects. When they work together, they can work from one of their own grades, or from the 5th grade. If you view our sample lessons, you will probably get a good sense of which grade levels will best suit your children for working individually and working together.

If students are closer in age and ability, you can purchase two grade levels (e.g. first and second grade) and pick and choose among the various assignments in each syllabus to create a custom-designed curriculum. Using a variety of lessons from each grade, you can teach both children simultaneously. They will be completing the same assignments and projects, working together when possible, yet each will be working at her own level, producing work that differs in mastery and skill. [NOTE: An enrolled family who would like to modify a lesson should pass it by a teacher first.]

Every family dynamic is different and you know your children best, so we encourage you to experiment to find what works well for your family. You also might enjoy reading an article about homeschooling multiple children that appeared in the Winter 2009-2010 issue of our seasonal journal, Living Education.