February 6, 2011

Homeschooling: Schooling multi-age/grade levels

I definitely get  a lot of interesting responses when people find out that I homeschool......I once sat beside a woman at a spaghetti dinner fundraiser....she was a complete stranger who looked at me and said, "What makes you think that you are qualified to homeschool....."  Hmm....how do I answer that one? 

Another frequent question that I am asked is.....how are you able to homeschool multi-age/grade levels.....I find this question very interesting because it make a HUGE assumption about the public school classroom....it assumes that all 20-something students in a public classroom are operating at the same skill level in the same grade.......which they are NOT! You can have a very wide range of skill and reading levels....especially in an elementary classroom. 

Honestly.....one of my fears about homeschooling was looking at the minimum 6 subjects per child and multiplying by 3....that would be 18 subjects per day??  How would that be possible??  Wouldn't I completely lose my mind trying to do that??

I came about our current system that we use by accident....My son spent a couple of years in public school and his first grade teacher had a great idea for how she had students complete their morning work....each morning she would have a "to do" list on the board. 

Students would work their way through the list and check-off the work that they completed.......the problem that our son had was that he would finish his work very quickly and then spend the rest of the morning making 11 trips to the library to check-out books.... he ended up spending a lot of time in class "waiting" for the other students to get their work done.

Well.....I use a variation of my son's first grade teacher's "To Do" list.....

I write out a daily list of work for my kids to complete....I make little check boxes that they cross off (or scribble out!) when they finish that assignment.  I always write History and Grammar or Science and Grammar last because they complete those assignments with me.  They also always do Math with me.

I have combined my kids together for science and history so that cuts down on 2 subjects for each.....and a lot of their work is completed independently with me looking over their shoulder and making corrections.

The younger grades like my daughter take SO little time!  She can be finished with her lessons in about 15 minutes.....we've actually been doing double lessons and she will be finishing kindergarten this week.

I also keep a master lesson plan book for each of my kids.  Usually in March or April, I start to plan for the following year.  I pull together all of their curriculum and start writing lessons plans.  Donna Young has amazing free printables......here is the link for the lesson plan forms.


My plan book keeps me on-task and helps me to see the bigger picture of where I am going....

There's no perfect solution......I still spend a lot of time going back-and-forth between kids and feel like pulling out my hair!...... but the "to do" list does keep them on-task when I am working with their sibling.

Linking Up With:

Hip Homeschool Hop Button


The Knights said...

Thank you so much for sharing... My husband and I are really hoping we can homeschool (God-willing) and if you don't mind me asking, what program do you use? Thanks...

Carrie Page said...

What a great comfort it is having a lot of my thoughts verbalized! I'm not a home-schooler (is that even a word) haha, but am frustrated by that same mentality that all children in a classroom should all progress and move along together. My daughter is a bright, intelligent child...who also happens to read slow.

It's been a frustrating year, maybe I need to explore other options. Thanks for your thoughts.

Bella Storia said...

There's a lot of stigma regarding homeschooling vs. traditional public school education. Thank you for sharing your thoughts and basic plan. It sounds like you're on track to educate and support your children - that's so wonderful! Often children in public, or even private, schools don't get at-home attention from their parents to help suppliment their studies.

Been loving your blog, by the way. Good luck and all the best!

Alison said...

It's always 'interesting' the assumptions that well-intentioned (I'm being generous there...) people make. I've come to think that any parent who spends a couple hours a night helping their traditionally schooled child with homework is actually doing some home schooling.

I like your check-off list...it's similar to our chore chart method. Always helpful to see different ideas of school work record keepling/organization.

Have you heard of Hip Homeschool Moms? They have a homeschool linky every Tuesday where you could share posts like this.

Robin said...

Yes, I had that response, "Oh, you homeschool..." which an unapproving grin afterward. Little do they know that homeschooling is farrrr more work than throwing your kid on a bus and being gone for 8 hours a day. Thanks for linking up for the planner hop!

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