5 Tips for Homeschooling a Handful
I still remember the nervous pit I felt in my stomach before each new year of elementary school began. Of course, it faded away after the first day and was replaced with excitement, but as a mom, I experience those same nerves before starting my children’s homeschool year! Each year has its ups, its downs, messes, and moments of utter chaos, but a few tips help me to pull through and make the most of this messy journey!
1. Split your schedule:
This works particularly well if you're running a 4 day per week homeschool schedule. Work with child A and C on Monday to Thursday and child B and D Thursday through Sunday. There's less of a break for mom, but the days themselves may just be more peaceful!
Another option to divide and conquer if you're on a 5 day per week schedule is to work with one set of children in the morning, and another in the afternoon. In our house, this looks like morning lessons with my pre-school and 1st grader, then an after lunch history storytime with all my children, then more focused lessons with my 2nd and 4th grader.
2. Find subjects to automate:
Certain subjects are easier than others for each child. Depending on age and strengths, find a streamlined online option for that student to work through. For example, my five-year-old loves math and enjoys Mathseeds, so that's one subject she can work on independently with a program that I trust to build a strong number foundation.
3. Find your rhythm:
I know in the homeschool circles we run in, rhythm is a common catchphrase. Think of it like breathing. There's the inhale, the fast-paced run around or higher stress lesson times, and the exhale of independent play or quiet reading time. Simply observing the natural rhythm that takes place without intervention can help you build off of a hidden pattern that's already taking place around you.
For example: Our days tend to be tense from 9-10, while some of my students work [and fight for my attention], but we take a break around 11 to start lunch. That's an inhale, and an exhale.
After lunch and outside time, it's time for another inhale with some of our more challenging lessons, but an exhale comes around 2 when I attempt to get my toddler to nap.
4. Loop in friends and family:
With the presence of video chatting platforms these days, why not incorporate a video call with a relative as some learning time? My son enjoys reading chapters of books to his grandparents and quizzing them after, and my daughter likes memorizing poems to share. You could even consider asking a relative to pitch hit a lesson via zoom.
5. Give yourself grace:
It's ok when lessons don't go as planned… It's ok to switch curriculum in the middle of the year… it's ok to blaze your own path… it's ok to say "no" to too many activities. Give yourself the grace to grow just as you give your children grace to learn and explore. Remember, there isn't a right or wrong way to homeschool- just what works for you and your students!
is a writer & tired homeschooling mom of five.