I was never one to grow up thinking that homeschooling would be something that I would do with my kids. Yes, I knew homeschoolers and thought they were amazing, but for my kids? No, thanks! I was, after all, a school teacher and homeschooling just wasn’t going to cut it. Fast forward to the time my oldest was 5. Suddenly, homeschooling started to look awfully good. So, we decided to give it a go. Having his three year old brother in the mix was challenging, but hey, it wasn’t like I was homeschooling two kids.
It’s funny how the things you thought you’d never do can sometimes sneak up on you until you’re hip deep in them. The girl who never thought she’s homeschool is now homeschooling multiple children, three to be exact, and it’s a love-hate thing with these multiple grades.
Things I Love About Homeschooling Multiple Children
1. Let’s Learn Together
There are some topics and assignments we all do together. Learning about the reaction between Mentos and Diet Coke? Let’s all do it for science! Want to explore Ancient Greece? Virtual field trip time! One of the great benefits to homeschooling multiple ages is that there is so much you can talk about and teach that it’s never boring. When one child discovers something new, he’s eager to tell his siblings about it. They, in turn, do the same. It’s learning with and from each other that makes it so neat to homeschool multiple ages.
In most instances, hand-me-downs refers to clothes, but in homeschooling, I’m talking about curriculum. You can’t even begin to imagine how excited I was to have saved some of the kindergarten and first grade materials from the first two kids to use with my third child. It was like Christmas in July when I found that box!
3. It’s All Differentiated Learning
In education, the “differentiated learning” buzzword can often invoke fear in a teacher’s heart. Differentiating for 25 kids? Hold me. Differentiating for 3? Heck, yeah! Easy peasy! When you know how your child learns, what they’re interested in, and what they need extra help with, it’s so insanely easy compared to teaching a classroom of 30 kids. And, quite honestly, it’s fun to figure out ways to help your kids succeed by giving them the type of instruction they need when they need it.
Things I Dislike About Homeschooling Multiple Children
1. “Mom, I need help!” x3
Some days I swear I would give anything for a cloning machine. One of me, three of them. The odds are not in my favor when they’re all working at the same time…because invariably they all need help at exactly the same time.
2. No Rest for the Weary
Someone asked me recently when I got a break and had time away from the kids. I stared at her blankly and tried to recall. February? Maybe? For an hour at Target? Yeah, that sounds about right. Homeschooling multiple children is not for the faint of heart. You have to have laser focus and depths of patience unlike any you’ve ever seen before (so. not. me.). Or lots of coffee…that works too.
3. You Question Your Decisions Every Day…Multiple Times
When it looks like your fifth grader will never learn to write a paragraph independently or your seventh grader looks at you blankly when you ask who Einstein was…you begin to worry. And, as all homeschool moms do, you begin to question things. Is the curriculum rigorous enough? Are they learning anything? Are they going to be able to write an essay in college (because at the age of 11, I’m kind of worried about that!)? The questions go on and on. And with multiple children, there are multiple questions. None of them are easy and most days they’ll leave you worried you’re doing the wrong thing.
Whether it’s an “I love homeschooling!” day or a “Please come back, school bus!” kind of day, I can honestly say that I wouldn’t trade it. I wouldn’t trade homeschooling and I certainly wouldn’t give up the opportunity to teach three different, amazing kids in three completely different grades. It’s a love-hate thing sometimes, but love really does conquer all.
Find out what other homeschoolers love and dislike about homeschooling at the iHomeschool Network Link-up!