Many home schooling families have more than one child, and sometimes they will all be home educated at the same time, while other families may only home educate one child while the other(s) attend a mainstream school. Other families may have several young children or toddlers and another, older child who is being home schooled – these combinations can seem difficult to coordinate or can even be overwhelming at times. Home schooling several children at home will require practice and improvement, and this article will look at the central principles, some based on large scale school teaching, to help home school teachers and their children to make the most of a home based education.
Be Organised and Create Lesson Plans in Advance
Some families prefer a less structured approach to home education, such as unschooling, while others have a more organised scheme with daily timetables and lesson plans. Parents of experienced home schooled children who have developed a sense of personal intellectual curiosity and self-motivation may feel more relaxed about letting their children get on with their own education, but parents and families who have just started to home tutor their children, especially if there are younger children, or babies around, will probably benefit from advance lesson planning and a daily schedule.
Here are tips to making one or more daily schedule, but remember the golden rule of home schooling – keep it flexible – in order to capitalise on unexpected opportunities that may crop up which should be integrated into the home education in order to reap its benefits. Even so, it’s a good idea to make plans for the next day’s lesson during the night before, maybe when the children are asleep, when you can think about the learning successes and failures of the day and consider how to develop them the next day.
A daily schedule for home teaching two or more children should be detailed, but not overly fussy – so consider what lessons you want to form the ‘meat’ of the day, and how activities might develop around those lessons, including relevant reading material, extension games, etc. Think about how long each activities will take, and try to find activities of corresponding length for each child, although the level of difficulty will depend on age and ability.
Consider each child’s own attention span so it might be several shorter activities that are planned for one child while the other does one lesson or activity in the same time span, but each child might have a break at the same time, in order to have a snack or run around outside, for example. Mix up active and sitting activities, so after solving a bunch of maths problems, organise a bit of kitchen science or music activity next. Take into account the daily patterns of younger kids, so that if you have a baby with a mid-morning nap time, for example, it’s a good idea to organise your older children’s more focused tasks to take place at the same time so he or she (or they!) can have your help and advice to a greater extent.
Make the Most of Group Learning Opportunities
Make the most of opportunities for individual and group work that can crop up when you’re home schooling several children – plan group learning because working together as a family can be fun, but also remember that individualised learning – one of the central advantages of home schooling – remains important.