I need help on organization with homeschooling different age groups. I have a 7 yo daughter and 5 yo son that I homeschool. I also have a 4 yo son that I would like to bring in on the schooling a few mornings a week but haven't really yet. How do you HS different age groups? So far I've usually been working with my daughter in the morning and then my son in the afternoon. I would really like to combine it though and teach them all together. How do you organize things? My daughter is working on reading chapter books, writing stories, exploring what she finds interesting in science and social studies. My son is learning to read and write. I find this takes up a lot of my time and makes it hard to teach both at once. My younger son would be doing more preschool type activities. Usually I involve all 4 of my children in a seasonal/holiday craft every day and bible studies every day.
Also, for extra-curricular activities - one of the reasons we HS is b/c we don't want outside influences influencing our children. I actually pulled my oldest out of gymnastics last year when I heard some of the music they were playing at practice (vulgar in my opinion!). Where do you find wholesome activities? I want them to interact with other children but not be negatively influenced either. My two oldest do attend a children's group one night a week at church.
-Happy Stay at Home & Homeschooling Mama to 7 y.o. girl, 5 y.o. boy, 4 y.o boy, 2 y.o. girl, and currently 8 weeks pregnant!
I have four children over a 9-year age-range, with the eldest three clustered fairly close in age. All were homeschooled until high school. Our solution was to rely heavily on an unschooling model. This meant that when structured academic learning happened, it was very child-motivated and child-directed, and therefore my role was more as supporter and facilitator and I didn't need to work to structure the time and the tasks, or to keep my child on-task. They stayed on-task and motivated their own learning, because it was their idea.
I also did a lot to create multi-age, multi-disciplinary learning opportunities, both at home and in the community. We found wonderful communities of likeminded families through a local gardening & environmental club, through string music education, and through aikido. We volunteered at any family-friendly venues we could find. At home we worked together on home renovation projects, redecorating, growing a large vegetable garden, raising animals, cooking from scratch, processing our own bulk food (canning, dehydrating, etc.), making / sewing / knitting / upcycling clothes, grocery shopping and meal planning, making soap, building webpages, binding books, etc.. And we spent a ton of time in the natural world. The trickle-down and trickle-around effect was fabulous.
So in a nutshell, I strived to nurture independent learning, and to roll learning into real life.
I also didn't push the envelope on learning. Learning to read might take 3 years of steady teaching if you start at age 4. If you start at age 7, it might come in a couple of weeks because so much of the foundational learning has taken root without top-down teaching. There's an efficiency in awaiting true readiness.
Of course I tried to spend one-on-one time with my kids too, whenever I felt they would benefit, or when they asked for it. In our case much of this was within the realm of their music education. There was one year when I was spending up to 3.5 hours a day practicing violin and viola with each of my kids in turn. We did that by utilizing a lot of non-traditional times for this part of their "homeschooling." The older kids would do a lot of their work with me in the evenings when their dad was often available to help out by supervising / entertaining / distracting the younger ones. Weekends were used similarly.
Mountain mama to two great kids and two great grown-ups
Have you looked into finding a homeschool support group in your area? There may be a christian group? Not that you won't still have problems with peer influence, but you might have a better experience as far as mindful media is concerned. Is anyone else in your church homeschooling? I have a friend from church who also homeschools and we've arranged and art evening at her house once a week. She is a former art teacher, so that gives my kids a social outlet as well as a learning experience.
Good luck figuring out the mixed ages question...I'm still working on figuring that one out!