Keeping a large family focused and moving forward while homeschooling is a difficult task. One child wants to play with LEGOs, another child needs to potty train, and yet a third wants you to explain algebra. There are so many needs and so many opinions. How do you juggle it all?
Work from a detailed schedule which begins when you wake up and ends when you go to bed. Allot time for chores, meals, playtime, and homeschooling. You’ll never be able to follow the schedule exactly, but the schedule will form the framework of your daily routine. Everything that needs to be done will get done.
2. Get the day started off right
I know getting the day started right is important for everyone, but it’s even more so for a large family. On a day that begins smoothly, the children move through the daily routine in rhythm. When the day gets off to a bad start, breakfast is late. Kids get distracted with games, toys, and fun. School and chores never get done. Life is chaotic.
3. Prep the night before
In the evening, have all the children help you tidy up the house before dinner. Do a quick sweep or vacuum of the floors. Layout any needed materials for morning and get the children to bed on time. You’re more likely to start the morning on the right foot if you wake to a tidy house and rested children.
4. Many hands make light work
Unless you have a large family full of babies, the children should be able to help maintain the house and do basic chores. Toddlers can help pick up their toys. Preschoolers can pick up, return things to appropriate rooms, and wipe tables.
As children grow, their abilities grow as well. Cleaning, helping, and doing chores are life skills children need to know before they leave the house. It’s a lot easier seeing my oldest heading out the door to college knowing he can do the laundry, cook basic meals, and keep his room clean.
5. Don’t automatically ask the oldest to do everything
Look for the youngest child able to do a job first. Our oldest children are capable and well-trained, but as they reach high school they become busy. Schoolwork increases. Teens pick up new activities and jobs. They no longer have time to be available to help at a moment’s notice. Teach the younger children to be your helpers. They need to learn responsibility as well.
6. Rotate children
During the school day, rotate through the children. I spend 30-45 minutes working with each child while the other children rotate playing with the toddlers and preschoolers. This means the oldest works with me while my second child entertains the tots. Then my second child works with me while my third child entertains the little ones. This keeps the youngest children out of trouble, and I have time to individually tutor the school age kids.
7. Teach independence
Teach your children to complete their schoolwork independently and in a timely manner. Begin with a simple worksheet at the kitchen table while you wash dishes. When that is mastered, move out the room for a minute or two. After several years, your children will be adept at completing schoolwork independently. Don’t forget to double check their work. We’ve all had children who neglected a subject for a time.
It may not be easy to homeschool a large family, but with these seven awesome tips you’ll keep up the homeschool and enjoy the time with your children.
About the Author
Sara Dennis is a homeschooling mother of 6 children ages 4 through 18. After much research into homeschooling in 2000, she and her husband fell in love with classical education and used it as the foundation for their homeschool. Sara Dennis blogs at Classically Homeschooling.