How to Use BookShark to Teach Multiple Children in Different GradesSince he was little, my son has loved books. Whether I was reading to him or he was reading to himself, he just loved stories. When I started homeschooling him in fourth grade, a literature-based curriculum seemed like the perfect choice, and it was.

But by the time he was in 6th grade, his younger sisters were in Kindergarten and first grades. I had heard from many parents that this is the time when a literature-based curriculum gets unwieldy.  

While it’s true that using BookShark to teach my children has required some careful scheduling and time management, teaching kids in different grades with BookShark is entirely possible. Here are some of the strategies that we use to make it more doable.

Teach the Littles First

My younger children are fresher in the mornings, so as early as possible, I work with them on language arts and math. I make sure each of them has that very much needed one-on-one time with me.  

While I’m helping one learn to read, the other one is either watching an educational show like Reading Rainbow or doing an online math or Spanish program. Meanwhile, my oldest is doing his independent work without my help.

After I’m done teaching the girls, they’re free to play while I work with my sixth grader.

Combine Grades

Of course, you may not be able to combine all of your children’s subjects, but kids within three years of one another can be combined for literature and history. My Kindergartener and first grader are using BookShark’s Kindergarten history and literature program as well as science while doing their own unique grade level work in math and language arts. My sixth grader is using BookShark’s 5th grade history and literature program without any siblings.

Be Flexible With Reading Times

Some parents wonder how it is possible to get all of the read alouds completed during the day, especially when they’re teaching more than one grade. I have found that with flexibility, it is easy to do.  

With the girls, I often read them their shorter readings like Mother Goose and The Llama Who Had No Pajamas during the school day. I read them their longer assignments, like sections from chapter books, either when we’re waiting in the car to pick up my husband from the bus station in the evening or as a bedtime story.

I read to my 6th grader either during the day when the younger kids are playing or in the evening, after the younger kids have gone to sleep. Sometimes we save some of the read alouds for the weekend when my husband can help watch the younger kids.

Use Audio Books

Sometimes a parent has to do what a parent has to do. If you find that you simply can’t squeeze in all the read aloud time, don’t feel bad about checking out an audio book or two from the library instead of reading the book aloud together. The entire family can listen to the audio story while you’re driving around town running errands during the day.

A literature-based curriculum like BookShark may seem difficult to teach if you have students in more than one grade, but with flexibility, you will discover that finding read aloud time is not as difficult as you anticipate. And the rewards of using a literature-based curriculum are worth it!


melissa-batai

About the Author

Melissa is a homeschool mom to three kids. BookShark is her primary curriculum, and she and her kids love it! When she's not homeschooling, she's either shuttling kids from one activity to another or working from home as a freelance writer. You can read more about Melissa's homeschool journey at her blog Moms Plans.

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