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This week’s podcast episode is designed to steam the wrinkles out of your crumpled homeschool. Sit back with an ice cold glass of lemonade and exhale.
One Big Happy Family
A family is a collection of individuals and we can’t forget that. The friction of human beings living in a family space together is always going to feel a little bit like controlled chaos – and it’s totally okay if that’s the way that it is!
However, making space for everyone in your family to have some of your focused attention and some alone time or downtime is the challenge, particularly for big families. So how can we leverage the unique benefits of homeschooling to do that – and what should we avoid?
What doesn’t work:
- Scope and sequence don’t work, no matter how many kids you have.
- Timed lessons just don’t work in homeschool. If you have children that are a range of ages, especially if some aren’t school age yet, something is going to disrupt that schedule.
- Forgetting about your middles. It’s easy to overly focus on the oldest and youngest and neglect the ones in the middle, so we recommend keeping track of when you spend focused time with your kids so it’s easier to distribute evenly!
- Too much routine or too much inspiration. Set up a routine that you can always rely on, but then if inspiration strikes ditch the routine.
What does work:
- Group projects work incredibly well for science, history, writing, and arts & crafts.
- If you have a big family, take advantage of it! Let your children talk to each other – and encourage it! One of the most incredible tools we all have now is the ability to easily record each other digitally. It allows your child to narrate in a way that they won’t in a traditional classroom scenario.
- Doing math as a family can be difficult, but the book Family Math is an incredible tool we recommend to make it easier!
- Rotate one-on-one time so that everyone gets a share of your focused attention.
- Co-ops can help or hurt. It’s great to have somewhere you can go that has other kids, especially kids at multiple age levels so that every child has someone to socialize with. However, some co-ops can feel like a ball and chain: they’re so academically oriented that you end up feeling more pressure, instead of getting some relief and time to socialize!
- Time off for errands, play, and clean up.
- Hire someone to help you! Someone else’s child would probably love to make a few dollars spending some time with your younger children while you have to give another child focused attention.
- Take advantage of non-traditional hours to get everything done.
- Create predictable storage for each kid, for library books, for writing supplies, and for all of your media. This means everyone always knows where everything will be and a lot fewer things go missing.