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  1. #1

    Default Tips for Multiple Kids in Homeschool

    I'm only homeschooling one of my two children. The one who attends a school is very jealous. We have decided to homeschool through *some* of the summer. Today, we are giving it a trial run since my daughter's school has the day off. (Next week is spring break and neither are doing school next week.)

    It's WAY harder than I imagined it! :P

    I would love your tips for homeschooling more than one child. It's likely that I won't bring my daughter home until she's in 4th grade. For the summer and/or the future, I would love your tips!

    Problems that have arisen so far:

    •Kids talking over each other to me, constantly. (Admittedly, this is also an issue outside of school time, just less so. )

    •I give my son/them a list of "morning work" (assignments) to do. I starred the 2 items that they would do together. But, my general plan is to allow them to structure their own day and choose when to do what. That's a problem with 2 kids because some of these assignments are completely independent, but others are to be done with me. What has resulted is that they both only have left lessons with me and I'm only one person. What are your wonderful ideas for structuring this better, while still allowing some level of autonomy for the kids in choosing the order of some of their assignments?

    •One kid needs quiet, another kid is being loud doing work either because the work requires it (practicing violin) or because they are just being loud/stimming.
    Homeschooling: son, 10

    Not homeschooling: daughter, 7

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  3. #2


    I'm looking forward to the advice from others on this issue as well!

    I currently only homeschool my 7 year old daughter, but her siblings are home during this time as well and they are rowdy/loud. I find it difficult to get the peace and quiet needed for my daughter's assignments.

    I can't imagine how crazy it's going to be in the Fall when my 5 year old is also homeschooled. Then it'll be her and the 7 year old fighting for my attention, over their 3 year old brother and his antics.

    I'm picturing in my head that my dual homeschool experience is going to be very similar to what you described in your post.

  4. #3


    Quote Originally Posted by Mswebraven View Post
    I'm looking forward to the advice from others on this issue as well!

    I currently only homeschool my 7 year old daughter, but her siblings are home during this time as well and they are rowdy/loud. I find it difficult to get the peace and quiet needed for my daughter's assignments.

    I can't imagine how crazy it's going to be in the Fall when my 5 year old is also homeschooled. Then it'll be her and the 7 year old fighting for my attention, over their 3 year old brother and his antics.

    I'm picturing in my head that my dual homeschool experience is going to be very similar to what you described in your post.

    Haha! Maybe you can learn from my mistake of not planning for it at all. And whatever ideas we hear back from others.
    Homeschooling: son, 10

    Not homeschooling: daughter, 7

  5. #4


    It is not that bad. Really. Mostly, it takes a good, well-established routine, some time, and consistency. The kids have to know what to expect and how their day will flow, and they will learn and adjust. You just can't expect it to happen on day 1, or week 1.

    My kids have never been to school, so they have been in this multiple-age HS environment for all their lives and are well-adjusted by now, but it took time and consistency to make it flow very well.

    I have very clear lines as to what we do together, and what we do individually, and I say so explicitly to the kids. "Now, I am going to do math with E" and the other two know that they have to go to some other part of the house and find something to do. Sometimes, I lay something out for them - a new puzzle, a craft project, a new book to read on their own. Staying and listening in quietly! is always an option too, but they know that if they make a sound or try to distract, they will be asked to leave.

    It works very well because each child knows that they will each get a turn of my undivided attention (for better or worse) and they know this routine. So, taking turns and making sure that each child gets one-on-one time is important.
    mom to 3 girls: DD10, DD9, DD6

  6. #5


    As to working independently ... I would keep a check on how realistic your expectations are.

    Maybe, some other HS parents will come in and say that they have 5yolds, 7yolds, or 9yolds that can go through parent-made-to-do-lists independently and complete them all. My kids can not. Whatever I need them to finish, I have to be sitting right there next to them, even stepping away to the kitchen to refill my coffee will cause any math work to be stopped.

    This is not to say that they do not learn independently. They busy themselves with learning all the time. They can google camels, play games, build amazing solid shapes with magna-tiles, read, do puzzles/projects, write stories, learn to draw horses etc etc... BUT it has to be their own choosing, not from a mom-written-to-do-list.
    Last edited by Oksana; 03-10-2017 at 08:02 PM.
    mom to 3 girls: DD10, DD9, DD6

  7. #6


    I have three kids and a schedule to keep us on track and to avoid myself being double-booked. It isn't laid out with times, rather a list in rough order of what we are going to do in the morning, and what we are going to do in the afternoon. The core things have to happen in the morning when we are "fresh". Everybody does math at the same time at the table. Everyone is using a different math program with varying levels of independence, so I work with the youngest and answer questions for the olders as they come up.

    Independent work is still done at the table so that I can answer questions or help refocus, while I am actively working with someone else. Anyone can work elsewhere if they want, but I'm not going to track you down to keep you on focus. I think they worry about missing something if they work in another room.

    I do still get exhausted in the afternoons when I go from facilitating a group foreign language lesson to trying to give two spelling lists simultaneously to teaching one level of science and then another. Blah, lots of talking.

    If you aren't comfortable with people talking over each other, figure out how to address that outside of "school" to get it to whatever level you are willing to tolerate. In our house it is considered rude and addressed the way.

    Oh, things that I want to do as a group i try to do first thing after breakfast or lunch when we are all together and no-one is in the middle of anything. Otherwise, my youngest is pretty amenable to returning when the other two are ready, if needed.

    We don't have trouble with anyone needing silence, but you might consider nose canceling headphones if that is a struggle for somebody in your house.

    It is all a long process, make little changes one at a time. Good luck!

  8. #7


    My experience is the same as Oksana's - work does not get done unless I am sitting right by my 11yo. His distractibility increases exponentially the more feet I am from him. A 15 minute assignment (say, a problem set for math) will take him 15 minutes to complete if Im at the table with him, about a half hour if Im in the kitchen (maybe 10-15 feet away), and about an hour if Im on a couch in the living room. If Im upstairs or out of the house, its unlikely that any progress will be made.

    As far as multiple kids, I try getting the involved lessons from my part (like math, and literary discussions) done before my younger one wakes up.

    You will find what works and feels natural for you.
    But yah, that expectation of them completing assignments willingly and cheerfully, without cajoling or manipulation.... oh does that ideal really exist?
    Homeschooling DS13, DS6.


    My spelling was fine, then my brain left me.

  9. #8


    Here's what mostly works for us, broken out by day. I have two boys, ages 9.5 and almost 5, so it's 4th-ish grade and quasi-kindergarten. My kids have no special needs that I have to take into account, and I do not work an outside job.

    Monday - M2 goes to outdoor school, M1 and I do a lot of his intensive one-on-one work - anything involving reading aloud and discussing material. Most of his material for the rest of the week can be done independently or with questions.

    Tuesday - both kids are together, and it is the hardest day of the week for keeping them doing things. I have a morning routine of a walk, then coming home and going over their tasks separately at the school table while they play with the puzzles in the morning time basket. M1 can work at the table or head into their room to work at his desk. M2 has more of a party platter of works he can do, and I keep them pretty short and skills based, so he can go play.

    Wednesday - same as Tuesday, but with less fussing finding our groove.

    Thursday - M1 goes to outdoor school, and M2 has one-on-one time. This means more time spent doing his requested projects- baking, field trips, etc.

    Friday - Right now M1 is doing some catch-up, but this day is usually open.

    I suspect this will all change a little over the spring, and a lot once our summer quarter starts and outdoor school and their other activities conclude. But this has been our routine since September, more or less. Our day starts at 8ish and concludes around 1ish, including lunch and outdoor time. From the end of table work time till about 4:00 I help with projects, or we go to the library, or we shlep about to various activities. From 4 till dinner time is quiet time, and they can play outside with the neighbors, or inside with just each other. I am on call for emergencies, but I am not "on". This last bit is a new development, and it is a freaking lifesaver for me.
    FKA Hordemama
    Stay-at-home-librarian parenting a horde of two sons: Marauder 1 (M1) born in 2007, and Marauder 2 (M2) born in 2012.

  10. #9


    I jumped in with 4 school-aged kids and a Preschooler, now I have 5 in school. I kept my expectations low. My advice- set up different work stations. When they do independent work, that's in another room. The child you are working with is with you. We have sort of a musical chairs thing- I ask who is ready, someone will say they are- if not, I call on one of them. That kid (or kids) comes in and works with me on math or spelling or whatever, when they finish instruction time, I will let them work a bit, and if they get it, I call in the next kid. THat means I am working with someone all the time, but the kids are taking breaks, doing indep. work, playing or whatever. There are rules- no TV unless Ipre-approve, no food until lunch or snack time, but overall they normally do their work when they should. I will say it's hard with so many kids that always need something! SOmetimes they come in with a question and have to wait. I have tried doing math with more than one kid, and it never works. THey can do spelling or reading in the same room, while I go from kid to kid. I also leave them in the school room and go to the living room to read with someone or play a game or something if it's not bookwork and they don't need a table. My two big girls have desks in their rooms- the oldest does all of her work in there, and I will go into her room to teach. If she has a question she will come to the school room, but tpically she will just wait until I can come and help her. The youngest has a desk of her own, while the others work at the table, and that works out pretty well b/c she is always doing something messy and always needs help. THe middle aged kids can work at the table while I go back and forth with the little one. OVerall, it just sort of balances itself out. I remember when Ifired started I wondered how on earth I would work it out, but I had patience and made sure my kids knew this was a learning experience for me, too, and it would take a while. I'm guessing your kids are pretty eager, and you aren't sure what to do, when. It's okay! You will find a groove! I do not write things we do together on their list- those things are done when I call them all into the school room for science or history, that way no one is asking to do it. It's done when the indp. work is finished, and I can clean up and lay out the lesson, then call the kids in. When we read aloud, I just call all of them into the living room to read. I guess our school day sounds hectic and unorganized, but it works for us! Let me try to lay it out a little better:

    8:30- Me- math with oldest in her room, little kids to school room for indp. work, kindergartener- whatever she can to keep quiet! Sometimes she will do school work, other times TV, sometimes her dad does stuff with her

    9:30- (hopefully sooner, but it depends on when I finish math w/ ODD), DD2's spelling- twins out for a break or to read a story by themselves, Kinder kiddo in to do something sort of quiet- I bounce back and forth between the 6th and Kinder kiddos.

    10:00- Twins math, 6th grader break or ind. work- she knows math is up next so decides what she needs, I explain lesson, when they are working on it, I tend to call the Kindy kid in for her math worksheet and lesson.

    10:30- Everyone out, 6th grader in for math- it takes a while and she needs complete silence and no distractions. Sometimes I have the Kindy kid read to the twins.

    11:00- lunch! Everyone is done w/ ind. work- they did it on the break times, I have taught everyone math, and hopefully a reading lesson w/ kthe kindergartener.

    We take a long lunch break, kids clean the chicken coop and play outside

    1:00- All little kids in for science or history. Sometimes I will read some history in the morning if we end early, but usually it's in the afternoon. This is anywhere from 30 minutes to an hour, depending on what we are doing. We are always finished by 2:00.
    Mom to 5 great kids~

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Tips for Multiple Kids in Homeschool