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  1. #1

    Default Having trouble finding subjects dd & ds can do together. Getting overwhelmed!

    This year is our first year of hs'ing. When we started, I felt comfortable with my curriculum choices and all of the lesson planning I had done. Because of their age difference, they each had their own LA and math curriculums. I reasoned that we could do science and history together with ds doing higher level work but covering the same period in history. Well, we were using SOTW Ancients and I decided that ds needed more. So he began using History Odyssey level 2. Even though they are both studying Ancients, each curriculum progresses in a different order. For example, dd started learning about Crete while ds was starting China. This was too much. Now I'm just reading to dd from SOTW based on whatever ds is studying so we are all in the same place. I feel like dd has no contunuity now with history.

    In science, I planned on studying chemistry all year, realizing that dd might want to switch to something else 1/2 way through. Well, she lasted 6 weeks. Ds wanted to continue with chemistry, so he still is. But I havn't done any formal/organized science with dd until recently when I have started using BFSU for science. I recently had to make some LA curriculum changes which resulted in my having to spend more time with ds on grammar and more time with dd on spelling. They each have very different interests and learning styles also. One of the reasons I wanted to hs to start with was to give each of my children a customized curriculum that would work for them based on their learning styles, abilities and interests. I finally feel like I've done that but there is no overlap of subject matter- nothing we can do together. There is also a huge amount of planning involved with all of these separate subjects. I'm dreading the thought of having to teach ds from 9:00-12:00 and dd from 1:00-4:00. There must be a better way.

    The bottom line is that I feel like I need to be cloned! lol How does everyone else manage to teach kids who are polar opposites in every way? How to you divide your time? Any thoughts and advice is greatly appreciated.
    ​​~ DD-13 homeschooled
    ~ DS-17 formerly homeschooled, now attending private school

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  3. #2
    Senior Member Arrived dbmamaz's Avatar
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    Jun 2009
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    Well, i have to admit, I feel like my younger (also 7) is getting the shorter end of the stick, and partially unschooling. I did a blog entry about my typical day, but they each have some things they can do independently. I also thought I could do history jointly last year, and it failed. I thought that this year I could go through Story of Science jointly, but that failed. My kids are so far apart, there is almost nothing thats useful for them both. This year we do 4 pages of Usborne's history of the world together, and Orion does other independent reading. Raven spend some time on Time4Learning. I feel like neither is getting as rigorous an education as I would idealy like, but i'm only human. We do sometimes find documentaries we can watch together.

    Have you considered a home school co-op where they could take different classes at different times, or activities one could do while you work with the other? BTW, I really dont think 2nd grade is that crucial other than math and reading and maybe some grammar or spelling or writing (we're not really doing any except occasional mad libs). The science and history they learn at that age is unlikely to have a huge impact on their later success. What do you remember from 2nd grade? I really mostly remember reading.
    Cara, homeschooling one
    Raven, ds 10, all around intense kid
    Orion, floundering recent graduate
    22 yo dd, not at home
    Inactive blog at longsummer

  4. #3


    I've got one in 1st & one in 7th. They do ASL together and my dd has decided to do ds's Latin with him (in addition to her Latin), so she can communitcate with him using the words he's learning. Nothing else is done together. While ds works independently, I work with dd. While dd works independently, I work with ds. The each spend some time on the computer. Jay's time on the computer is mostly fun, educational games - Timez Attack, PBS, games I've created, etc. Though, sometimes he visits sites more specific to what he's studying. Dea also spends some time with the games I create & some other educational games, but spends more of her time doing school specific work - research, writing, etc. While one is on the computer, I work with the other one.

    I try to make sure I watch documentaries or other dvds/shows specific to their studies with them. They enjoy watching educational stuff, so will sometimes watch educational stuff unrelated to current studies. I also use those times to work with the other, if needed. They each read for a minimum of 1 hour a day. Sometimes, they read at different times. Sometimes, they read at the same time, but in different rooms.

    I'll admit that it can be time-consuming, but it's worth it. It's really just a matter of finding your groove. Try out some different schedule ideas, and you'll find the one that works for you.

  5. #4


    Thank you Cara and Brandi for your insights. We live in a small town where there is no such thing here as a homeschool coop. It sounds like a wonderful resource. I think I need to lower my expectations of what I can reasonably accomplish during our first year. I'm sure with time we will settle in. I definitely could organize our time better when one is reading or using the computer, as you mentioned, Brandi.
    ​​~ DD-13 homeschooled
    ~ DS-17 formerly homeschooled, now attending private school

  6. #5


    I am considering that same issue, WindSong. I'd love to get the 8 and 5 year olds working on the same themes, but the simpler question of how to work with more than one child, period, concerns me.

    I just started this book: Homeschooling More Than One Child: A Practical Guide for Families It has lots of scheduling samples and lists. I can't say how helpful it is yet, but it may be something you want to look at.

    Good luck!
    Dad to two: DD, 12 and DS, 8.5

  7. #6
    Member Enlightened ItBeganInCamp4's Avatar
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    I was wondering this same thing. I don't do any formal lessons with my 3 year old yet and wasn't planning to next year, but she has started sitting next to us and listening in during math lessons, so I think I will at least start that with her next year. I always thought it would be feasible to teach some things to both of them (like you said, get them on the same history cycle, just the older one goes more in depth), but as time goes on, that's not looking like it will work. My oldest excels at reading and struggles with math, while my middle daughter appears to have a natural talent for math and not much interest in reading. Right now, I'm beginning to think we may just have to take does independent work while I help the other and then we switch (which will probably be fine until baby sister tries to get involved). By the time my youngest is ready to really get started, my oldest will probably be 12 or 13, so I'm hoping she'll be ready for a lot more independent study or co-op class time by then to take some of the teaching load off of me.
    My blog (homeschooling, family travel)
    6th year homeschooler with 10 year old, 8 year old and 4 year old girls.

  8. #7


    I also have a 10 yr old and 7 yr old. We do science and history together. We do it in a lecture style, where I read them some information/ draw or write on the white board, and then we discuss what I just read. Then we go from there, based on their interests. So that'll usually be it for a Monday, so I can feel them out and see what types of questions they have for me. Based on that, I pull information from books, the internet, craft ideas, whatever and piece things together for as long as it holds their interest, and/or as long as they want to continue going more in depth with it.

    I'll give you our last science project as an example. I planned on doing a week long lesson on the earth and just covering the basics, but the boys kept going on with questions, and we ended up making it into a full blown presentation. They learned about the hemispheres, the earths rotation, the seasons, the layers, they made a salt dough replica of the layers, they painted styrofoam balls to look like the earth, and it went on for a month! My oldest absorbs more than my youngest boy, but I plan on doing a second round (with all of the history and science) with my youngest boy when my daughter gets to be his age, so he'll absorb it better and remember it.

    For other subjects I try to stagger the things they'll need my help on, so that I make myself available to one at a time. And if they both need me at the same time, I have some ziplock bags (busy bags) set up with 5 minute activities, that they know to grab while I'm helping a sibling until I get to them. And I schedule their more "intense" subjects (like math) during my toddlers nap time, so that were not interrupted by her. But even the toddler gets her own activities to do lol, because you can't leave the little ones out of "home cool."
    Homeschooling Raymond (10 yrs), Orion (7 yrs), and Olivia (3 yrs)

    Our blog

  9. #8


    Thanks for the resource, Pilgrim. It looks like a book that could provide some practical solutions for me. I will definitely check it out.

    arenas3651, I also use the "busy bags" except ours are baskets. In each basket they have fun-reading, science and history reading and logic workbooks, journals, etc. that they can work on independently while they are waiting for me to finish with the other. This has definitely worked well for us.

    I guess part of my anxiety and reasons for starting this thread stemmed from my mid-year analysis of what was working and what wasn't. I was getting more uncomfortable with ds spending most of his time working independently with little formal "teaching" from me, except for science. I felt like he was teaching himself. That doesn't sit well with me. It's great that he can work independently but he's too young to be doing everything by himself... right? It has become clear to me that he needs more help with grammar and outlining, so I will be working with him directly in those areas, which I am looking forward to. In addition, I would like to have more discussions about what he is reading.

    I appreciate the responses everyone has given. I feel confident about working it all out now. I may just give each of my kids 1 hour (we'll see, maybe 1/2 hour to start) of direct one-on-one time with me each day. I am lucky that both kids are avid readers and can occupy themselves in such a productive manner.
    ​​~ DD-13 homeschooled
    ~ DS-17 formerly homeschooled, now attending private school

  10. #9
    Senior Member Arrived Teri's Avatar
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    My 10 year old is able to do quite a bit independently. Our curriculum is actually set up so that the kids get more independent at the 9-11 level and up.
    I am still here for any questions, but he doesn't need his hand held through every activity anymore.
    I have the oldest and the youngest doing the same thing, but the middle one is doing something completely different. I see my role as more guidance to send them in the right direction and help them out when they hit a snag. We are hitting our groove now (the middle one just switched to her own thing about a month ago).
    Last edited by Teri; 02-06-2011 at 11:21 AM.
    Joseph (5/00), Libby (10/01), Caroline (9/02) and Alex (4/89)
    My Blog

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Having trouble finding subjects dd & ds can do together. Getting overwhelmed!