When you homeschool multiple ages, it can feel so overwhelming! Like you have to juggle 23 balls or keep 53 plates spinning.
Fortunately, you can make learning at home with multiple ages less stressful and more fun.
Check out these tips and ideas for homeschooling multiple ages without losing your sanity.
Believe it or not, it’s possible to homeschool multiple ages (and keep it fun) with the right organization and expectations of your day.
You may find that you have to be flexible and tweak a few thing before finding what works for you and your kids. With realistic expectations and a positive mindset, you’ll figure out how to make it work each day while homeschooling multiple kids.
How to Homeschool Multiple Ages (And Still Keep It Fun!)
After homeschooling for several years with multiple ages, I’ve discovered a few things that make my life much easier. I want to share those tips and ideas with you. Hopefully, they’ll make your life easier as well 🙂
1. Have a Morning Time Routine
One of the most important things to incorporate into your homeschool day as a large family is a morning routine. Having a routine sets a flow for the entire day and helps your children (and you) know what to expect each day.
What your morning time routine looks like differs from family to family, but here are some suggested ideas:
- Read poetry together
- Take a look at any examples of art you might study
- Read your history books together
- Have a calendar and weather time for younger kids
- Hand out assignments to your independent workers
- Watch a child-appropriate news show (my boys and I look forward to CNN10 each morning)
- Listen to an audiobook or podcast
- Enjoy music appreciation
2. Have a Daily Routine
When you homeschool multiple kids, having a relaxed routine can be so beneficial.
I recommend a daily routine, not a schedule. A schedule has specific times that you need to follow. A routine has more wiggle room, like if you want to go down a rabbit trail of interest-led learning. Or if you have an erratic family schedule (like we do due to competitive sports) and your homeschool start time varies.
A routine provides a flow for your day. And it’s okay to have different routines for each kid, especially if you have kids who aren’t ready for independent work and need your help. When those kids are working with you, your older kids should be on their individual work.
3. Try Unit Studies
Unit studies are amazing for large homeschool families.
It’s fun for kids to learn altogether, and most topics easily fit into all age ranges.
Older kids can focus on research projects and in-depth issues rather than skimming the surface, even for things like farm life and dinosaurs.
Don’t be afraid to pick a “little kid unit study” and make it work for your older kids. You might be surprised by how excited your older kids will be to dive into the world of dinosaurs and make a DIY dinosaur dig for their preschool siblings.
4. Focus on the 3 R’s
The three R’s (reading, writing, and ‘rthmetic) will usually be separate subjects for each child.
You may find, however, that some kids may fit together in the same range, even if they aren’t the same age. It’s all based on ability level, not ages when you homeschool.
I’ve found it helpful to do math all at the same time. Little kids need help, but big siblings can help them as well. (And you don’t have to keep switching gears in your head between subjects!)
Don’t be afraid to ask your 8-year-old to help his 5-year-old sibling while you assist your 11-year-old. Everyone benefits. And you can check their work later 😉
During our homeschool math, I usually walk around the entire time, checking work, and helping those who are stumbling.
I also make notes in my homeschool planner if I notice that a child is struggling with a particular topic so that I can schedule time later for them to work separately with me to reinforce the lesson.
5. Always Have Family Read-Alouds
Our family loves read-alouds. The kids gather snacks, drinks, crayons, paper, and other cool stuff to do with their hands. Yes, it’s totally okay (in fact, I highly recommend it!) to have things for your kids to do when they listen to you read.
We have read great series like the Little House on the Prairie series or Chronicles of Narnia together. Even little kids enjoy listening to these great stories. And, chances are, you’ll reread them in the future. So, if they miss something, don’t stress it 😉
Oh, and don’t think you have to read the books aloud yourself! Audiobooks are awesome options for read-aloud time. I love to find a great audiobook on Audible or via our online library system so I can sit back and relax with the boys. (One of my favorite homeschool mom hacks!)
6. Play Games
Games are like a secret sauce for when you homeschool multiple ages. Some kids are naturally competitive, so tap into that and have fun with your kids while they learn.
Gameschooling can work so well for a large homeschooling family. We play sight word games with Xman (my youngest boy), and even the older boys want to join in and play the memory game.
Bingo with fun themes is another fantastic game when you homeschool mutliple ages.
Puzzles and logic games are other wonderful activities for learning fun with multiple ages.
7. Have One-on-One Time with Each Child
Each child needs one-on-one time in your homeschool. This part of your homeschool day will take up the most time – and that’s okay!
That time might be checking in on your older kids, looking over their work, or giving them a test. It might be some encouraging words to tell them that you see how well they’re doing. No matter what age your kids are, they need praise, too.
For little kids, it might be a phonics lesson or a math lesson.
You know what each of your children best. Include time in your routine to work with each kid and you’re sure to experience success.
8. Get Your Kids Outside
Outside time is a MUST to keep it fun when you homeschool multiple ages.
Getting outside for some fresh air and room to move is beneficial for all.
Your kids can let off some energy and you may find that you have a few quiet moments to yourself.
Oh, and you can totally take your homeschool adventures outdoors, too!
Grab some sidewalk chalk and practice sight words, math facts, or handwriting. Sketch a hopscotch board for some creative homeschool P.E.
Bring a book or two and enjoy your read-aloud time under the shade of a tree.
Take a walk around your yard and observe nature.
Lay back on the grass and observe the clouds.
Take a messy science experiment outdoors (weather permitting) and get everyone involved!
9. Include Hands-On Activities
Hands-on projects are a great way to bring multiple ages together. Our family has completed numerous projects over the years, and experiencing all of the excitement is so worth the mess.
We’ve painted replicas of famous artworks, created models of the Nile River, built models of The Great Wall of China, and more throughout the years.
All kids love hands-on projects, so think about the lesson that you have at hand and figure out what your kids would love.
10. Play is Okay (in fact, it’s recommended!)
Here is one of my biggest secrets to help you homeschool multiple ages:
It’s okay to let some of your kids play while you work with a few others.
You are ONE person, and if you have multiple kids that need help at one time, someone has to wait. If they don’t have independent work, it’s okay for them to get a snack or work on a homeschool fun activity.
You do NOT have to replicate a traditional school, so it’s perfectly fine to do what works for you and your kids.
11. Get Organized
As a homeschooling mom with several kids, being organized is a must. Stay with me now..I struggle with this myself but it is possible!
An amazing way to get organized is to have a homeschool planner that you use and love – paper, digital, or combination of the two.
How Much Time Does It Take to Homeschool Multiple Ages?
Homeschooling multiple ages takes a handful of hours per day, if you stay focused.
It really depends on:
- how many kids you’re homeschooling
- the ages and stages within your homeschool
- your homeschool approach
- if you are a year-round homeschooler (and have the flexibility to stretch out lessons) or stick with a traditional school schedule
- how many independent homeschool students you have
- if you outsource any subjects
You CAN Homeschool Multiple Ages (& Keep It Fun)
After 9+ years of homeschooling my boys, I can attest to the fact that you can homeschool multiple ages AND keep it fun.
In fact, fun is the key to homeschool success 😉
Promise me that you won’t get caught up in comparison with other homeschool families or worried that you’re not doing enough.
Because I’m here to tell you that all that worry and fuss just isn’t worth it!
I’m graduating my oldest boy this year with flying colors. He’ll be pursuing his dream of becoming an electrician and working on a trade to support him for life. And my mama heart almost burst when Captain told me that he was so thankful that he was able to homeschool so he could have the space to figure out what would be best for him.
It might not always be easy when you homeschool multiple ages. But, it is SO very worth it!
You’ve got this, mama. I’m cheering you on.
If you have any questions (or would like to add suggestions), please feel free to do so in the comments area below 🙂