We've got 4, 3 of which are school age. (4th, 1st, and Pre-K). Here's the dilemma - last year I got them started together in the AM, then the younger boys would wander off and play while I did 1-on-1 with the oldest. THen I was running back and forth trying to lure them back to the action and get some more work/activities/games, etc going. Once the boys were playing they were hard to interact with. Then the eldest would finish the bulk of her stuff and wander off and I'd want to start something more involved with them all but the day was gone and I'd wasted so much time rounding them up that it was too much work to do a project and I'd let them off the hook. So I felt like we barely covered the basics and never got to get deeper into stuff.
I wonder how families with multiple kids at the table do it?? Do you keep them all in the same area and keep them busy until they all take a designated group break together? My heart tells me if I keep it fun enough they will want to join in........ but really, that puts a lot of pressure on me and not much expectation on them and it never worked out that way last year. I want to expect them to stick around until they've finished a certain amount of TIME at work, not just a certain number of activities. Is that too "school at home"???
I want to start the school year with some good routines.
I'm by no means a veteran, but my kids are about the same ages, so I understand! What if you let your oldest do something independent (workbooks? reading for fun?) while you do the most crucial work for the day with your younger 2? Then, if you loose their attention it's not so stressful for you and you're able to really focus on your oldest.
I only have 2 I consider school-aged (4th and 1st). What I do is set the 4th grader up with independent work. Then I work 1:1 with the first grader. She basically finishes everything during that time Usually by then we all take a break for lunch or snack (depending on what time we started). Then afterwords, I go over the 4th grader's work and work 1:1 with her. I also have a 3-yo, but I don't do anything formal or "schooly" with him.
workboxes? get those plastic things with 4 shelves from walmart and put each child's school work into them ( or at least some of it, mostly stuff they can do independently or with light supervision)
Get the youngest one going while the older two start on their workbox projects, then kinda rotate between them to make sure everyone is getting stuff done? If someone is finished or is waiting a turn with mom have handicraft project avalible... say playdough, knitting, sewing (or lacing cards), blocks...etc..
unit studies might also be useful so you can do multiage studies for some subjects
Ak Hippie mama Yamia DSD '03 DS '07 DS2 '09 & DS3 '12
I think it depends on your expectations a lot. for example, I would expect a 4th grader to be able to do a lot of work on his/her own, with about an hour of 1 on 1 instruction. The 1st grader, i would also spend maybe 1 hour of 1 on 1, and then let him/her do some things unsupervised. I don't consider "pre-K" to be "school age", so at most i would maybe spend 30 minutes doing formal stuff with that child. So all told,. that is only 2.5 hours of sit down 1 on 1 instruction, with me acting as "teacher". So no matter how you cut it, it's just not that much of the day. Personally, I can't deal with "distraction" very well, so rather than include the others , I would make the 1 on 1 time unique, and deliberately NOT interact with/include the others during that time. We are actually using a much more relaxed method now because it seems to be working for us at the moment, but that is how i would do it if we were more structured :)
I have two but they are close in age. I know several homeschooling families in this area with a variety of ages (including triplets and then staggered younger ages). What I think would work best is to figure out what each child is able to do on his/her own and what will need assistance. Perhaps two can work on their own while the other gets help. Also...as work load increases with age, one probably can not expect multiple ages to finish at the same time.
I would schedule the eldest child to get the help at the end, when the younger kids have finished.
Several of you mentioned setting up the independent work and doing the one-on-one time as age and child appropriate and moving between those segments. I totally agree. And that's what we've more or less been doing. I guess the actual problem is the transitioning. So if I'm doing 1-on-1 with 6yo and 9yo finishes her subject and gets involved with play or art -- I have trouble getting her back to the table. Or while 1-0n-1 with 9yo the boys get involved playing together and I can't get them back involved without resorting to mean-mommy. I want them to want to do school work -- but really, once they are in play mode there is no competing with that.
I like the idea of starting the oldest with independent work and then do 1on1 with the younger set. set the youngers free, then 1 on 1 with the eldest. THen maybe after a snack/lunch I could woo the littles with the promise of a quick group project or game, then do another 1on1 with the youngers again....
and bobnjess99 is right on the time expectations -- I don't expect much more than that. What is killing me is the 45 minutes of wrangling and cajoling to get them to the table for the 30 min of lesson time. any hope to minimize that aspect?