Homeschooling Different Ages
Homeschooling one child can feel daunting but very doable. Two? Oh, okay... We'll make a schedule, take turns. It'll be okay.
Three kids? Uh. Maybe the youngest should go to school for the first year, or ten. Four kids?
How do you homeschool multiple ages at different grade levels? This is probably the most common question I hear from new homeschooling moms who are just trying to wrap their brains around it all. Please don't blow up your house. The answer is actually rather simple:
Just forget everything you you think you know about school.
School year schedule? Gone.
Grade levels? Gone.
Schedule that mirrors a school day? Totally useless.
Grading? Seriously not necessary.
Textbooks? Actually optional.
Teaching every subject every day to each child individually? Completely unreasonable expectation.
You will hear (read) me talking (writing) about de-schooling quite a bit. This is not to be confused with "Unschooling" which is an actual educational philosophy. "De-schooling" refers to undoing our conventional school mindsets. We grew up with public school as the norm. It is the standard of education in our minds. Our inclination as homeschoolers is to recreate "school at home". If you have just one child, you may be able to do this successfully but as you add on kids, as we homeschoolers are prone to do, it gets impossible to maintain. Why is that?
Because the conventional school model is a modern invention and actually has nothing to do with helping a child learn.
The school system is designed for the ease of adults to manage large numbers of children. When you are no longer dealing with those big numbers, the system is no longer needed or even useful. So.... what do we do?
We time travel.
What was school like before modern public education? Homeschooling was NORMAL. *gasp* Most children were educated at home for at least a portion of their education, if not all. In some places, children attended one room school houses where all ages went to class together. There was no division of age like we see now. Children were taught all together. You don't need to differentiate all instruction for each child in each subject according their "grade". It is possible to instruct/teach/guide children of different ages in the same way at the same time. How???? Don't children of different ages have different abilities? Absolutely. But that doesn't mean they can't all learn the same information at the same time. It just means you expect different things FROM them. Think of it this way, the input is the same for all of the kids, what changes is the output. Sounds great. So how do we actually do that? That is another post for another day, partly because I am out of time and partly because I want you to come back and read more! But seriously the baby is awake and I have to go... Stay tuned for part 2 - Actual Helpful Examples!