Another way we homeschool with many kids is to have the kids work together whenever possible.
That might mean all of the kids do an activity together, like family devotional/Bible time, read aloud time, or watching a video.
It could be all of the older kids working together on a certain subject or curriculum.
It could be story time and activities with the younger children while the older kids work independently.
Or, it could be an older child teaching a younger sibling.
There are really only two subject areas that my kids are on individual levels, and those are math and language arts. And sometimes I can even manage to teach more than one in these areas as well. For example, if two (or even three) kids are working on the same part of speech, I might do an activity that all of them could do that focuses on that part of speech; or right now, I’ve decided to put my two oldest in the same math because I feel my oldest needs more review.
In our daily schedule we have devotional/Bible time all together and we also have a read aloud time. These are times when all of the kids can participate. Sometimes the topics or books might be right over the little ones heads, and sometimes we cater the activity for the little ones and the bigger kids are usually more than happy to help out. When we watch videos, most often all of the kids will watch whatever is on.
I tend to group my kids together – my two oldest are “The Bigs,” my next two are “The Middles,” and my youngest three are “The Littles.” These are the groups I work with and will usually work on the same curriculum/subject together. And sometimes I will combine two groups together, for example, when I’m doing an activity with “The Littles,” “The Middles” like to be my helpers; and for some art projects or science experiments, I can combine “The Bigs” and “The Middles” (and we usually do those kinds of things while “The Littles” are napping).
Another thing I like to do is have my older kids teach their younger siblings. My oldest kids are perfectly capable of helping their younger siblings in math, reading, and spelling. This frees me up to teach (or play with) someone else.
I have found some great curriculum that we really enjoy because we are able to use it with multiple ages. Some of our favorites are:
- Apologia – The Young Explorer’s Science Series is geared toward grades K-6. Plus they offer two levels of their complementing notebooking journals. In the notebooking journals you will also find suggestions for furthering your study.
- Mystery of History – This chronological world history curriculum can be used with K-8th graders and beyond. There are activities in each lesson for ‘Younger Students’ (K-3rd), ‘Middle Students’ (4th-8th), and ‘Older Students’ (9th and up). The map activities and additional reading suggestions are also broken down into these age groups.
- See the Light – This is an art curriculum that is presented on DVD (thank goodness because I was terrible in art) and you can include even your preschooler in some of these projects, with the targeted age going up to 10+. We recently did one of the projects (Paper Jungle) and my 4, 6, 8, and 10 year olds all participated and loved it.
- Galloping the Globe – this is a unit study for grades K-4th that includes pretty much everything except math and language arts. Right now, I’m doing this with my 4 and 6 year olds, and sometimes my 8 year old joins in.
- Progeny Press literature guides – I can have 2 or 3 kids work on one literature study together when using these guides. They have guides for lower elementary, upper elementary, middle school, and high school.
Here are some links to other ideas of multi-level learning/teaching:
KONOS: Where Learning Comes to Life from Cultivated Lives
Curriculum Planning with Multiple Kids from Royal Little Lambs
Multiple Ages: How to plan a group subject with one text from Classic Housewife
5 Days of Multi-Level Homeschooling from Conversaving