Spacing children and homeschooling? - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 9 Old 02-03-2011, 01:26 PM - Thread Starter
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I don't have too much time at the moment, but I was wondering...I have two children right now--DD1 who is three years and four months old, and DD2 who is 7.5 months old.  DH and I definitely want to have a third at some point, and are also leaning towards homeschooling our kids.  But I was wondering--from a HSing perspective, is it easier to have children who are rather closely spaced in age, or more distantly spaced?  As far as entertaining little ones while older ones are working a bit, or as far as different kids learning different things...Did anyone base any spacing decisions in part on HSing concerns?  Just curious.


If it helps: We're leaning towards CM, maybe using amblesideonline.


Thank you!

Wife to DH 6/05 partners.gif and mommy to DD1, born 10/07 dust.gif and DD2, born June 2010 energy.gif, and one cat.gif! We bftoddler.gif, familybed2.gif, and homeschool.gif

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#2 of 9 Old 02-03-2011, 02:12 PM
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I think it depends on so much, what your hs style is, what the kids' personalities are, etc.  I think both can have it's advantages.  We always planned to hs our kids, and always wanted to have several children fairly close together (just because, not for hs purposes)  After IF we got lucky and our first 2 are almost 2 yrs apart, but the third took 3 years and we likely won't be able to have more.  I'm a somewhat relaxed hs'er, I don't find it too difficult schooling the 2 older ones (8 and 6) at the same time, we usually do a few subjects that they share- Bible, History, Geography and some science and art activities.  They each do math and LA at their own levels.  My youngest is a really laid back little guy, loves to sit and read books and do puzzles so he hasn't been much of a distraction to our hs'ing up to this point (he's 2).  I would plan your family the way you want it and then school around your family dynamic and needs, either way, you'll find a way to work with what you've got! :)

Jewels & Jon (Married 11+ yrs)- Homeschooling, No Circ, BF, CD Mama to:
Alex 8 Gabby 6 (Homeborn!) Gideon 2.... chickens, ducks, cats and a dog
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#3 of 9 Old 02-03-2011, 03:06 PM
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I don't think you can really know. Closer spacing may make it possible to homeschool some subjects and skills together. But if the children's interests and learning styles are quite different, trying to work with them together on the same material may end up doing one or the other or both a disservice. And if the younger of the children picks something up more quickly than the older sibling, you can get into serious self-esteem or competitiveness issues. (My middle two kids are two years apart but the younger is more gifted with math than the elder. Both are ahead of grade level but the elder thinks he's slow and stupid at math because his sister is so incredibly quick, and that's really affected his confidence.) There's a lot to be said for project work that engages multiple siblings, but even with close spacing you can end up with vast differences in ability. (My two older kids are 2 years apart but the eldest is scary-bright and hyper-academic, so the difference in academic levels is more like 4 years than 2.) My two youngest kids are spaced four years apart and that works reasonably well, but my youngest often gets frustrated that she's not more on par with her older siblings, that much of what they do is totally over her head.


So hey, you win some and you lose some, and there's really no way to say how the chips are going to fall with any particular family and kid-spacing arrangement.



Mountain mama to one great kid and three great grown-ups
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#4 of 9 Old 02-03-2011, 04:14 PM
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We don't do any sort of family planning.


My three are almost exactly 2 years apart.  So moderately close in age.  It has not been a problem at all, and actually it's been handy that they're close enough in age that they often enjoy the same things, and we can combine learning.  Right now I'm having a little problem with my youngest, mostly because he's "in between"--he's not old enough to get the "real" curriculum that his brothers have, but he doesn't want to do other school stuff because he's feeling like he still wants to be "the baby".  I don't think that's a spacing issue as much as an age/personality issue.

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#5 of 9 Old 02-04-2011, 04:55 AM
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Homeschooling is pretty much a given for us, but I haven't really factored it into child spacing. Our family finances and my own education plans have been the major factors. So, #1 and #2 will be 7 years apart, and as I plan on starting law school next fall, the next one will probably not be along for 4-5 years, as I plan on not having any more until I'm done with law school and gainfully employed. We'll adapt our homeschooling to our family spacing, not the other way around.

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#6 of 9 Old 02-04-2011, 08:04 AM
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Closer spaced is easier. Then they can do more together and you will have less that you have to teach separately.

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#7 of 9 Old 02-04-2011, 06:16 PM
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I think it depends on how well the kids get along and how you can handle multiple children.  We have one and are planning on having another one this year.  One of my reasons for hoping we got pg now is because of homeschooling.  By the time the second is homeschooling, the first will be independent when she needs to be. 

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#8 of 9 Old 02-05-2011, 06:27 AM
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I would like to travel a lot, so I spaced mine close together with that in mind.  When the oldest is 10, for example, I don't want to also be trying to keep a preschooler happy in a museum or be having to go back to the hotel to get a cranky toddler her nap or her early bedtime.  There's a 3 year (plus 3 months) gap between the oldest and the youngest, and there is a 2 year gap between each child grade-wise.

Trying to live a simple life in a messy house in a complicated world with : DH, DD (b. 07/07), DS (b. 02/09), and DD (b. 10/10)
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#9 of 9 Old 02-06-2011, 08:36 AM
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Most of my kids are 3.5 years apart, but my daughters are only 13 months apart.


On the plus side, the girls do history, science, spelling, grammar, and any "extras" (music, art, etc.) together, saving me tons of time.  But one dd is dyslexic and the other is a bit advanced, so they're actually 2 years apart in math, and do writing and reading separately, and the younger gets more one-on-one time.


Despite the age gap, my 12yo actually does part of his history with his sisters.  We do Story of the World together, and then he goes more in depth on his own.  His independence gives me more time with the girls.


I don't do any formal schooling with my 3yo, but he often sits in on our history stories, and the girls like to play number and alphabet games with him, which is helpful.


I didn't know we would become homeschoolers until I was pregnant with our fourth, so it was never a consideration.  Now, knowing how different each of my kids is, despite whatever their chronological age might be, I don't think there'd be much overall impact if I could go back and change anything.

Carrie .. 
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