You are a One-Room Schoolhouse
My kids are 9 years apart top to bottom. The idea that I could run five grade levels each day became a joke-on-me quickly. Certainly there are skills that are child-specific, but once I stopped thinking of pushing the rock up the hill called “individual work” and thought about my crew as a unit, my life got easier and theirs got happier.
Here are three ideas to help you one-room schoolhouse it.
Same Topic, Different Levels
Why study five different historic periods or five different science concepts or five different grammar terms? Everyone can learn about fingerprints or the red-tailed hawk or Colonial America or the Lakota Nation or adjectives at the same time.
Sure, your older kids will bring more detail to the table (though your curious youngsters may surprise everyone), but the littles also bring down the house with giggles. The connections they make are off-beat, charming, or super silly—refreshing the cool elders. Each kid can do a project scaled to that child’s skill, but all on same topic.
Same Skill, Different Levels
We had math time (everyone working on math at once). If a child needed extra help, I focused on that child while others worked individually but as a group (same time of day, same table). If my littlest ones were too small to “do” math, they had blocks or games or puzzles reserved for math time. Same for handwriting/copywork.
One Project, All Contribute
Pick a project: building a small medieval town, or writing a year-end family newsletter, or hosting poetry teatime. Each child can help—scaled to skill. Final project is a combination of everyone’s efforts.
For the village, big kids build it, little kids add decorations. For a letter, youngest kids contribute drawings while older kids write the content. For a party—you know who can bake, set the table, arrange flowers and books. Enter in together.
Some independence is good too—especially as kids start to become teens. But any time YOU feel frazzled, the best way to reset the dial is to come TOGETHER again—even going to the zoo or flipping through Netflix or making crafts.
Happy Home Educating One Big Family!
This post is originally from Instagram and @juliebravewriter is my account there so come follow along for more conversations like this one!