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Can I do this with 4 kids?

post #1 of 16
Thread Starter 

Dh and I are in the process of deciding whether or not to hs our 2nd grader (starting 3rd grade next year) and our 5yo (kinder next year).  I have considered it for years now.  Dh needs some convincing.

We have 4 boys (7.5, 5, 3, 1).  The oldest is in the gifted/talented program at his spanish immersion school (GT program seems pretty worthless so far) but has never been IQ tested outside of that.  We know he is very bright though and just loves to learn.  We do not see this love of learning at school.  He has NEVER come home expressing any sort of exitement over anything going on at school.  However, PE and recess and his buddies he loves dearly.  Other than the pals, school is a waste of time IMHO.

Our 5 year old has also never been tested but is on a similar path as his brother. 

The 3yo and 1yo are...well, babies.


We have always been activley in pursuit of learning in our house, following our kid's interests and providing them resources.  They get a hold of a subject and "go to town".  I think I would lean toward the unschooling philosophy, that is, letting thier interests drive them and not applying any curriculum.  However, I am of the opinion that kids are kids and need guidance and some structure (my personalitly needs structure as well) so I may lead them down some paths and see what sticks.  They also enjoy workbooks and computer math programs so I will use those to fill in holes.  When we can fit it in financially I plan to enroll them in classes here and there, if they are interested.  Without any actual hs intent, these older 2 have accomplished much in this manner.


So, a pretty loose homeschool is the plan.  But there is the chaos that a house full of little boys provides.  And there are some days that feel very fruitful, and others that are a struggle to get even the basics of living covered. 


Then there are the babies.  I don't want to be dragging them all over town trying to provide a social life for my older 2.  My little one has always had a nap at home.  Same time, same place, nursing in my lap (this is my break time as well and I am not very flexible with this!  Again the structure I crave...).  I am a slight homebody.


Also, we are not exactly high on extra funds.


Anyway, I could go on but I wont.


Can I do this with 4 small kids???

Can I really??




post #2 of 16

We are flirting with homeschooling our two next year and I stopped by the lurk. No wisdom for you, but will be watching your replies.

post #3 of 16

My sister HS her kids ages 11, 8, 4, 2 and 6 months. I honestly don't know how she does it (particularly since her 2 year old is really going through a difficult stage) but she does and does a pretty darn good job. So no specific advice, just know that it is possible :)

post #4 of 16

I hs with 4, soon to be 5.  We are not unschoolers.  My 3rd grader has about 4.5 to 5 hours of work each day but she is almost independent.  Due to his personality and since he isn't reading fluently, my 1st grader requires almost constant attention for about 2 hours in the morning.  It is a lot of work, especially with keeping up with the little ones, cooking wholesome meals, being the laundress and housekeeper, etc.  But it is incredibly satisfying to me!  I'd say it is definitely doable, provided you have a strong level of commitment.  

post #5 of 16

Also... we get our regular social stuff in at a Classical Conversations group, twice weekly karate class, and church activities.  This is enough and it is tough for me sometimes.  I am a homebody too.  So I've had to be flexible with nap times on certain days.  But again, the sacrifice is worth it to me and I try not to dwell on the downside.

post #6 of 16

Your house sounds very much like mine.  We also have 4 boys... almost 8, almost 4, 2, and 11weeks.


This is the first year HSing my oldest.  He would have been in second grade this year, but I pulled him due to some anxiety issues he was having.  He is a MUCH happier child now, and we're slowly learning what will work for us.  We took a lot of "time off", due to the birth of my youngest, and I'm so grateful to have the flexibility to do that!


My 7yo and 3yo both enjoy time4learning.com.  You could check that out!  I'm still working on the social gatherings and whatnot.  We won't have a vehicle until sometime in late February, so I'll worry more about it then.

post #7 of 16

I have been somewhat debating  whether I should comment since I only have 2 little ones right now (and a 3rd on the way!). 


I think you can do it, or at least, not knowing you personally, I know certainly is possible. I know quite a few families with a similar make up to yours who homeschool successfully and I know families with a lot more kids who do just fine as well. It wasn't clear from your post if you plan on pulling your kids from school soon or if you were going to start homeschooling in the fall. Starting in the fall, you have excellent time to prepare and get into a really good routine with the little ones so you have more time to work with the big kids. The biggest thing I notice with homeschooling families is that the little ones are taught to be independent as far as possible.


I know you mentioned unschooling but also some basic structure as well so this is what we are planning just in case it strikes your fancy:


We are setting up a montessori-type environment right now with lots of practical life work for the younger ones as well as the math materials.My 15 month old already works very well and needs minimal supervision for her age - hope the next ones follow her lead and can be let to work or play without worrying he is coloring on the walls or flooding the bathroom! Then I want to use a Charlotte Mason style curriculum (ambleside online) with the school aged kids (won't be starting with my son for a little over a year though) because it seems to have a great efficiency to it. The kids only do seated work for about 3 hours, leaving the rest of the day to pursue their own interests and project as well as spend lots of time in nature. We are also going to use Atelier Art and hope we love it as well as all the reviewers seem to!


You might also be interested looking at folks who homeschool with unit studies. 

post #8 of 16

4 kids is more of a reason to homeschool. I really want to homeschool my babe, 3 next month, but we can also afford to put her in a Waldorf school, which is the next best thing (for us). Now we are talking of having another kid, which would make more sense because we couldn't afford both, but we can afford to homeschool. 

post #9 of 16
Thread Starter 

Thanks for all the insight and comments!  Its very helpful.


post #10 of 16

It sounds like if you do choose to homeschool you would like a "unit study" approach. 


And that you might really like to check this book out from the library while you are trying to decide:







post #11 of 16

I think, yes, you can certainly homeschool your kids. no problem. They are so little that you have time to play around and see what works best for you. Your plan sounds great. I've always found that some structure works for us (me).


Where I think, (sorry), I'd give some extra thought is the whole socialising thing. Especially (I think) if you have social older kids (it sounds like you do), then I think you need to think about how those needs will be met. Just because to take a social kid who is used to seeing others every day out of school, and not provide much in the way of stimulating social interaction, isn't really likely to make them happy. And the reality of homeschooling, IME, is that unless you are very, very lucky, you WILL have to travel for any kind of a social life. Even if you are incredibly lucky and have one or two local HSers, you'd then have to be also incredibly lucky to have your kids actually get on with and like that family. The reality of it is that you may well have a choice between having keeping two older kids who really want social interaction stuck at home, and taking your younger kids all over town (if you are lucky) or all over the county even, to provide a social life for the older ones. This is just a reality of homeschooling, tbh. The only families I've known where its worked a lot to stay home is where both the kids and the parents were homebodies, or else where there was a clear way for any family member who was more social to get out regularly. To just keep social kids (or parents!) at home probably won't work. 


I think in some communities it might be sufficient to use local classes to provide social experiences. Round here, a city environment, it would not work, because classes tend to be fairly focused with not much room to play. My kids do some classes but I wouldn't see them really as social time. 


post #12 of 16

   Yes you can! It takes a leap of faith, but just roll with it, and it will flow. And if it doesnt work out, you can always choose another alternative. You will be so happy that you tried and happy for the time you got with your boys, otherwise, conventional school takes your children away full time.


post #13 of 16

I also have kids that are 7, 5, 3 and 1.  We homeschool, DS1 is currently in 2nd grade and DD1 in K.  It's hectic, my house isn't as neat as it could be (that's cyclical), keeping my littlest one busy while we school is challenging, but I wouldn't have it any other way.   Like the PP said, jumping in and rolling with it is the way to go.  

post #14 of 16
One of the reasons I'm considering hs-ing next year is that I'm frustrated with the lack of foreign language in our local schools. how is the Spanish immersion part of your son's school? Is he really learning Spanish?
post #15 of 16

I think you really have to look at your situation, get an idea of exactly what kind of schooling you want to do, see some examples of what others are doing. 


I will say in my case it did not work.  I could get into a long and lengthy discussion about it, but I have four (3-10) and I tried homeschooling last year and it was pretty much a disaster for me.  I found that I couldn't keep up with everything else and attend to all of the educational needs.  The home seriously suffered, the lifestyle itself was so much chaos and I found that I wasn't able to take care of myself at all.  I really discovered relatively quickly that I could not do it all.  



post #16 of 16
Thread Starter 
Warning: Spoiler! (Click to show)
Seana- my son is learning Spanish very well actually. Spanish is the only language spoken at this school. Teachers speak only Spanish and by 1st grade it's pretty amazing how the kids have caught on. Problem is, that's the ONLY thing my son is learning. He is stagnant in everything else. Plus, my husband is a native Spanish speaker so we can make the language happen here at home.
It's a good school I think. It's just not meeting my kid's needs.
...and I don't happen to be a fan of classroom style learning.
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