I homeschooled all seven of our children from start to finish and tried (what seemed like) all the methods out there at the time. I found what worked best for our family was a combination of several methods that were geared to multi-level homeschooling as there just wasn’t time in my day to teach 5 subjects to 7 different children (that’s 35 subjects!)
I don’t know what methods are available or popular now, I am just sharing what worked for us. Everyone has the ‘best’ curriculum and method and the new out-dates what was tried-and-true. Did you ever notice that?
What I am sharing can work no matter what curriculum you choose. All you have to do is adapt it to your family and style of teaching. For instance, if you like a third grade science book, you can read it aloud to a much younger child and they will enjoy and benefit from it.
Once you have been homeschooling for any length of time you will notice that grade-levels overlap and content repeats to the point of being annoying.
Once I was a seasoned homeschool teacher, I actually realized that a book didn’t necessarily have to be finished since the next year would start up with an incredible amount of review.
This is especially true when you homeschool-year-round and amnesia in your sweet children is minimized.
My Favorite Approaches
The first few years I homeschooled I tried to wade through Charlotte Mason’s wonderful original books on homeschooling. I would glean tidbits from her before falling asleep on the sofa, exhausted from a full day.
I was thrilled when Karen Andreola came out with the Charlotte Mason Companion. The Andreolas were the ones who discovered Charlotte Mason when they lived in England.
I was also influenced by Marilyn Howshall’s books on the Lifestyle of Learning. I am sure that you will find a flavor of these methods reflected in what I share as what I learned was grafted into my thoughts and methods of teaching our children.
Multi-Level Homeschooling is a Win-Win
For our homeschool, the mulit-level classroom was a win-win situation. I have the best memories of learning with my children during those years.
When you teach to the oldest child and include the younger child (or children), you are involving all of your children to a much greater degree. It is always so easy to loose the oldest or youngest child which only makes them bored or leads to trouble.
When I included my three year old, she no longer drew on the wall but on paper while I read out loud. I gave her an appropriate medium for her artistic bent.
Choosing several books on the same topic on differing levels captures the interest of varying ages of your children.
Activities are usually inclusive to multi-level homeschooling. What child doesn’t love a science experiment. Even when a couple of my children reached middle and high school, our younger children thoroughly enjoyed watching a frog dissection.
It was always amazing to see our younger children pick up concepts that I would have thought they were too young to comprehend. I remember walking through the woods with them talking about the ‘ecosystem’ – how cute is that?!
Each family is unique and there is rarely a one-size fits all; you must find a variation that works best for your particular situation.
In my next post, I will develop these concepts as I share more about Multi-Level Homeschooling.
If you homeschool, do you find multi-level homeschooling to be the easiest? What are your favorite approach?