October 30, 2013

Homeschooling Multiple Children

After 4 months of summer break time here, (due to our furlough to Canada) the children and I were definitely ready to start back into a brand new school year. Routine is good for everybody—maybe best for mom? I’m not sure, but it seems to me everybody around here does so much better when there is a bit more structure to the day, and a list of things we need to do. This year I added my second son into our homeschool day. He turned 5 in August, as well my second daughter is four in November and is keen to start doing something, even unofficially. So with my eldest beginning Grade 2, and two of my other children ready to start school, routines look a little differently this year—not to mention adding different learning styles to it all.

I have fallen in love with Sonlight’s homeschool curriculum, so this will be our 3rd year using. Why do I like Sonlight? For these reasons:

• Excellent choices of literature to read
• Number of books that are included in the curriculum (you create your own family library, literally)
• Scope of topics and exploration of creative thinking
• The side-focus on missionary biographies, starting in Kindergarten
• The emphasis on geography
• The fact that the schedule is already made, and I don’t have piece together anything
• How it fosters a love for books and reading
• It is flexible to use with multiple grade levels
• I am involved, so I get to re-learn so many great things as well

When I was getting ready for this year of school, I found myself searching the internet about how to school multiple kids using one Core. (Core includes Bible, History/Geography, Read Alouds) There is so much out-loud reading to do, there’s no way I would be able to do the Kindergarten Core and the Grade 2 Core simultaneously. Searching the internet about how other moms are doing multiple kids on one Core didn’t lead me to too many results. Here’s how we’re doing it for now:

We are working through the Grade 2 Core material for everybody, except my Kindergarten son is working on memory verses from the Kindergarten Core. As well, I try and have a coloring page or fun work sheet ready for them to do during Bible reading that relates to what we are reading.

After Bible we split up. My Kindergarten son is ready to burn off some energy outside, or build Lego (one of his favorite hobbies already). So while he is off doing what he wants, I work through Grade 2 Language Arts and Math with my eldest. When we are able to really focus together, this portion only takes about 40 minutes. After that, she will take my younger two kids to play (or watch TV) while I spend one on one time with my Kindergarten-er working on his math and phonics and handwriting, which takes 30 minutes or less when we’re able to focus one on one.

At this point in our day everybody is ready for a mid-morning snack, and then we are able to start History/Geography and Science together. We are also sticking to the Grade 2 Science topics for everyone, and orally going over the comprehension questions.

The read-alouds for Grade 2 are obviously a little advanced for my Kindergarten student. But he sits in on the poetry readings, and short stories, and the easier novels I feel would hold his interest. After lunch, we have a quiet-hour. With no napping children anymore, everybody goes to their own corners for an hour of quiet, between 1:00 and 2:00. Once they are finished with this, I like to do the read-alouds, and if not then, we can read in the evening. Sometimes the novels are stretched over the weekend as well, as they can be long, even for me!

Even with a nice curriculum, a general outline for a schedule---this year has still begun with challenges: dealing with attitudes, motivating children to do things they don’t always want to, a needy 2 year old, and a keen 3 year old begging for her own school work... I’m reminded that my day cannot begin without prayer for God’s grace.

And He is Good – Jesus wants to be a part of my day when I ask Him and remember my need for Him, and I’m so thankful for His faithfulness.

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