How to Homeschool

Need to learn how to homeschool and find out more about exactly what some of the homeschooling requirements are? Will you be teaching just one child or several?

Will you utilize the Montessori home school principles or different learning approaches? Will you test your children and issue a home school report card as evidence of what they are learning?

You might be interested in joining one of the homeschool organizations that cater to small or large families for additional support and fun homeschool activities.

First, I'll speak to those who will start homeschooling a single grade at home and then to others who are teaching multiple grades, like me.

My single most important piece of advice when teaching your child at home keep it as simple as possible. Please do not make the mistake of trying to teach nine or more subjects to your child when you start homeschooling. Ultimately, s/he will despise learning, you will become frustrated, NEVER accomplish your goals or complete your homeschool lessons.

In elementary grades through high school you need to determine the core homeschool courses for your child and choose your best homeschool curriculum. Then, add electives as needed or if your child shows interest in a topic. Lastly, only add extracurricular home school activities after these other things are firmly in place so your child's academics won't be compromised by outside activities.

For instance, if your child is failing in English, postpone joining a Theater class at the Community Center until after the grades are better. Your child will have more of an incentive to work harder in English which will make it easier for you.

Typically, core subjects will be English, Math, History, and Science in most homeschool programs. Electives vary from Bible and Fine Arts to specialized Math or History classes and more.
When you teach multiple grades at home, you still need to keep it simple but the amount of teaching increases. It became more important to combine ages and learn how to homeschool children together as our family continued to grow.

We have ten children and this year I will have six at home in grades...

  • Second
  • Fifth
  • Seventh
  • Ninth
  • Tenth
  • and Twelfth

So, I learned how to homeschool everyone, every day, by combining grades and/or subjects as much as possible in our homeschool program. What follows is a system that has worked for us over the years.

Create a Workable Schedule

Sometimes, I would have the older children arise earlier and start certain subjects before waking up younger ones.

Or, I would create blocks of time and have everyone work on the same topic during that time. For instance, after breakfast everyone works on Math, English, and History/Science subjects and I managed everyone in those subjects during that time. This was also a great time for us to work on our lapbooks.

This form of curriculum planning works well when most of them are in the higher grades.

Combine Subjects When Possible

I wish I could say I always knew this but I had to learn how to homeschool this way and discover that I didn't have to teach all my lessons separately to each child. Then, I started to combine lessons in as many subjects as possible.

Bible, Handwriting, History, Science, and Art lessons are good subjects to start with when you combine multiple grades. Also, attending Field Trips is another really fun way to combine grades assuming the venue permits it. After the field trip, assign age-appropriate writing assignments or projects within your homeschool lesson plans.

Consider Using Unit Studies

Unit studies are homeschool programs designed for teaching multiple grades and ages. They suggest a topic and give examples of possible ways to teach across the grade levels. KONOS, Weaver, and Sonlight are examples of unit studies.

Re-Create the One-Room Schoolhouse

Plan on having everyone do their schoolwork in a large room in the house, such as a family room. You could teach a lesson on a dry erase board to several children while others worked quietly on independent work.

In this scenario, everyone learns together and from each other. Older students help younger siblings if needed. The younger ones quickly learn more advanced skills as they see and hear you interacting with their older siblings.

Develop Independence In Children

Teach your children to read as soon as possible so they are able to read their own directions and complete assignments independently. Also, teach them how to locate answers using reference tools like dictionaries, handbooks, thesauruses, and even the Internet.

No Child Left Out

Learning how to homeschool multiple grades may mean that you have a baby or toddler to care for when you start homeschooling your other children. I know. I've been there many times now.

Include them as much as possible in the course of the day. Be creative and work around their nap or quiet times. Also, try reserving a special toy or game to be used solely during instruction times.

Now that I've shared how to homeschool multiple grades and ages, teach as many subjects together to your children when possible. Also, group children to work in the same books if their grade levels are close enough.

Let them learn to help others and gain confidence as they share the knowledge gained from your previous instruction to them.

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