When it comes to homeschooling, there is not a one-size-fits all approach.
Every family has their own unique style of education, and as my family has grown over the years, I’ve found that style changes the more children we have.
I’m in a strange mix of wanting to follow my heart and choose every living book out there, nature studies, art and music studies galore, and then sometimes picking out curriculum that looks more like textbooks because I know it will work because of the size of our family.
When I started homeschooling our oldest son in Kindergarten I used a curriculum that was hands on. I read to him all the time and we sang and counted and colored and, well, I just spent so much time with him!
I’m currently homeschooling our 6th child doing pre-k/kindergarten work with her, and my day with her looks very different than it did when I was only homeschooling one.
Sometimes that mom guilt kicks in and I feel bad that I’m not able to give her the same exact educational experience that my oldest received.
Then I have to stop, reflect, and remind myself that God placed Sophia as the 6th child in our family. He knew what each child would need and receive, and He gives us the right tools and knowledge in how to train and educate each child.
Years later, I’ve now learned that homeschooling a large family looks incredibly different than when all of your children are 10 and under, and that’s ok! Our school days are unique to the season we are in, and our children each receive a different type of education based on what they need.
I have learned some things to make homeschooling a large family easier though, and would love to share just a few tips.
A big thanks to Kirkwood Education Online for sponsoring this post! Affiliate links are included.
Some practical ways to help teach your younger children:
Group them together. I can’t tell you how good it feels to read one history book to 3 or 4 children and know that you just taught all of them together. I’ve been doing lots of read aloud lately and it has been such a special time of our day.
Your 5 year old can pick up history facts from the same book that you read to your 9 year old. You can accomplish a lot in a short amount of time.
If your child has trouble staying quiet while you read, let them do something to keep their hands busy. Coloring, playing legos (those can be hard to keep quiet), or give them some historical playmobil to re-enact the history you are reading to them! How awesome would it be to set up a Playmobil Roman scene while you are reading to them from that time period?
Listen to stories on tapes.
This can cover history and literature topics! Books for younger children on audio like Winnie the Pooh and Beatrix Potter are always excellent. We also love the Little House on the Prairie audio! Mystery of History audio are great history stories even if you are not doing the full curriculum.
What about all the those topics that need individual attention though? You can’t group all the topics together for all ages. Every child needs to be doing math, language arts, and at some point some science at their own level.
Do you need extra help?
If you feel like you can’t keep up with doing it all, there are some excellent online programs that are available. We have been testing out one program I’d love to share with you about, because I always love finding new options!
Kirkwood Education Online is a Christian Homeschool Program for children Pre-K-5th Grade. I love that they have an emphasis on these grades. It can be hard to find online classes for these younger grades versus all the high school classes you can find online now.
These online classes can be done independently by the student. I did have to sit and help my Kindergarten child, but I think once they got into the routine of how it all worked they could do it with you just nearby.
This frees you up to have your child work online for the classes you want them to do, and you spend the one-on-one time with them doing exactly what you feel confident in teaching.
The classes are super flexible. You can assign and reassign subjects and even levels as often as you like until you feel like your student has mastered it.
You can choose your own schedule! If you want to slow down during a certain time of year it’s no problem!
This program works on all devices – computers, tablets, and phones. That’s always a huge plus for me. I want the flexibility of handing my child a phone or tablet and not just always giving them my computer.
I find that it’s important for my younger children to feel like they are accomplishing important things in school, just like my older ones. This is such an easy way for children to be able to learn how to be independent (even in just one school subject!), and also have a huge sense of accomplishment.
You can homeschool for just $1.00 or day, or less with the large family plans! This is so affordable compared to other programs out there. And I love that right now they have a Free 30 day trial that is good until January 1st! You can sign up and have your child try it out for a month to see what you both think before committing on purchasing.
Another huge plus about Kirkwood Education is that they are Bible based, so there are character and Bible lessons included!
Sophia tried this program out and she really enjoyed it. We originally signed her up for the pre-k level, and quickly realized she was ready to be at the kindergarten level. That made her super happy to know she was able to skip over a lot of stuff she already had learned! The lessons are the perfect length; not so long that they lose the child’s interest but not so short that they don’t really cover enough.
I love that they have printable work pages for every child as Sophia really enjoys worksheets. The program is easy to set up, and easy to use!
If you are looking for a way to homeschool online, definitely check out this program and sign up for the free trial offer. It’s easy to set up an account for each student. Just select the correct grade level for them and then they are ready to go! You can even schedule out how many days of the week they will do school and how many sessions and minutes you want them online.
if you’re not in the market for a subscription-based learning program but need a little extra help, check out these amazing unit studies that they offer for just $5-$10 each!
However you end up deciding to homeschool your large family, the most important thing is to just stick with it and do it. There are so many distractions that it can be hard to get all the subjects in. Honestly, sometimes it’s hard to just get the basic subjects in, let alone all the extras like art, poetry, music appreciation, etc.
Don’t give up and feel like you are alone. Find another mom that has a large family if you can and be open and honest with each other. I have a friend like that and it’s been an incredible blessing to me!
Homeschooling moms of large families have many, many years of parenting and education to accomplish. If you are in a season of weariness, or are struggling to fit it all in, do yourself a favor and just try something different (like the Kirkwood online classes!) and see if that could be a huge blessing for your family!