Hi everyone! I’m back today with another Homeschooling 101 post for you! Today we’re going to talk about the inevitable teaching multiple grades all at the same time. It’s one of the biggest challenges in homeschooling, but fear not, it can be done!
Four children = Four Grade Levels Oh My!
Depending on your homeschooling family, you may find yourself needing to teach more than one grade level simultaneously. While this may seem like an overwhelming situation, with a little preparation and patience you can successfully teach multiple grades. Here are some tips to teaching multiple grade levels at the same time.
As most of you know, we have four children, and this year has been the first year that I’ve really had four different grade levels going all at once.
I’m not gonna lie to you, it can slightly overwhelming! But with a little prep work and a few tips from this veteran homeschooling mama, we can make it work!
I suggest that you try to do as much together as possible to save time and make teaching easier.
We typically like to do our group work first thing in the morning. Then once our group subjects are completed we move into our more independent work. This helps eliminate students waiting for others to complete work so they can do something as a group. It also lets students move at a more independent pace once group subjects are complete.
We work on our Daily Learning Notebooks, Bible, Science, History, Literature, Art, and Music as a group. For the most part this works for more elective type subjects. We also do Calendar Time together for the younger students. Then move onto independent grade levels for core subjects such as math, English, reading, and spelling.
The Balancing Act:
After the group work is completed, we move onto our individual work. We still tend to do like subjects at the same time however students will move at their own speed once you hit this step. For example, we do math at the same time even though I have 3 students working on different levels. I start off having my oldest watch her Math U See video, then she moves onto her worksheets, while the next student watches their video. I have another computer at home, so my 3rd student uses that and then moves right to her worksheet. As all the students are working on math, I stand by and supervise or help as needed.
We basically follow the same format for the other subjects alternating my teaching one student at a time. For example, I will teach an English lesson together with the older two. While they’re working independently on the accompanying worksheet, I will do a phonics lesson with my 1st grader. So it will look something like this:
- Teach lesson to student 1 –> Student 1 does independent work associated with lesson taught.
- Teach lesson to student 2 –> Student 2 does independent work associated with lesson taught.
- Teach lesson to student 3 –> Student 3 does independent work associated with lesson taught.
Repeat this process with remaining lessons as needed…
As you can see I teach a lesson to one of the students, then while they’re working independently I move to the next student, and so on. Our day progresses like this as we go, alternating between me teaching and them working.
You will get more used to alternating between students as each year progresses. The kids will also learn to work a little more independently as well.
Another key to working with multiple grade levels at the same time is to have a few subjects that are more student independent in nature. While we do not use all online or DVD type classes, I do suggest creating a nice balance between teacher led and student independent courses to help keep your sanity, and teach your students the ability to work on their own as well.
Want more information? Check out Homeschooling 101: A guide to getting started!
If you’ve missed my previous posts make sure to check them out!
Erica, I see on your curriculum picks that each child has different programs and levels. How do you teach science and history as a group when each has a different program?
I struggle. In addition, as one of the other comments above states, AAS is very teacher intensive. I have 3 next year, and each will require my attention for core subjects. Not sure how you do this!! Help! 🙂
Thanks for all you do…your are truly a super Mom!
I usually try to look for curriculum that is able to be taught to multiple levels at the same time. I of course expect different levels of work out of them based on their ages and skill levels. But there are several curriculum out there that cater to multiple grades as well as individual grades so you can find something to fit your needs. And yes, AAS is a teacher intensive, so it’s definitely something to consider when buying. You really are in charge of teaching the lesson and walking your child through them. The lessons aren’t “worksheet” based, so you do them together with your child as more of a discussion and activity. I usually try to get a mix of teacher led as well as student independent work so that it balances out. If you really want to do AAS, just consider that one of your teacher led, and then look for more independent work for some of the other subjects.
And I’m not a super mom by any means 🙂 Just a mama trying to do the best that she can 🙂 Good days and bad days here too!