Homeschooling can be very rewarding and is an excellent choice for many families.
No matter your reasons for homeschooling, you'll face challenges along the way. For new homeschooling parents and veterans alike, figuring out how to teach multiple grade levels simultaneously is often the most challenging part. The good news is that millions of homeschool parents have proven that it's possible. Here are some tips for homeschooling multiple grades.
Determine Your Child's Grade Level
As parents, we see our children for who they are, not what grade level they are. You know what your child needs, so let that be a comfort to you. If you are new to homeschooling, you may feel more comfortable having your children tested so that you know where to start. Doing so can be especially helpful if they have been in school for a while but were struggling.
As you teach at home, remember that you are nurturing a love for learning in your children, not teaching a class of 30 students. Be careful not to pressure yourself to recreate a classroom setting at home.
Combining age groups and courses will free up a lot of your time. Let children challenge themselves a little if they are advanced in an area by sharing a class with an older sibling. The same idea works if they are struggling. It's okay to let them slow down so that they can be where they need to be. With homeschooling, you have a lot of flexibility.
Choose the Right Curriculum
Combining grade levels will be easier with a flexible curriculum. For example, a boxed curriculum for each age will be tougher to share among multiple children. However, a curriculum that uses whole books for reading, rather than textbooks, can work with many ages.
In this technique, you can read the book together, then assign different tasks to your children according to age. You could have your teenager write a three-page report while your 7-year-old draws a picture about the subject and writes a few sentences.
Do What Works for Your Family
One of the best tips for homeschooling multiple grades is to put all thoughts of what school "should" look like out of your mind. Your children are in your home, and you need to make school work with your family—not the other way around.
If you are working remotely while also overseeing your children's education, your family might do well with online school programs. If you have kids who absolutely love reading, you can get creative and give them a stack of great chapter books to get through within an assigned amount of time. It's incredible how children can learn subjects like history this way without ever cracking a textbook.
Pay attention to how each child learns and how much time they need you to be heavily involved. Your children can learn at home and do it very well. You just need to get creative and find what works for your family.