Homeschooling Multiple Children of Different Ages

Homeschooling one child can feel overwhelming but homeschooling multiple children of different ages can seem nearly impossible. I’m sharing simple and practical tips for teaching different grade levels and ages peacefully at home. 

It’s that exciting time of year again- Back to school! As a former classroom teacher there are few things I love more than the smell of newly sharpened pencils, and back to school supplies. However, as a beginning homeschool mom, planning for multiple children can be anything but exciting. 

Curriculum Planning for Multiple Children

As will many things, organization makes a huge difference. Consider purchasing a planner created for a large family. This way you will have room to plan for multiple children all in one place. If a planner isn’t in the budget, a notebook will do.

Make space on your planning sheet for each subject area. Subjects such as language arts and math will most likely need to be individualized based on ages of children. However, you may find that science, history, and read alouds can be taught as a whole family.

You’ll find that as you become an experienced homeschool mom planning your homeschool curriculum will get easier. My best tip is to plan for as much family style learning as possible!

Family Style Learning

The general idea of family style learning is for as many children as possible to be engaged in the same subject together. There is plenty of room for individual work and independent learning. This is a major benefit over traditional school. 

Nature Study is one example of family style learning for our family. My youngest child as well as my oldest all come together to learn about something together.

Let’s take insects for example. With my younger children, we may simply go on a walk looking for insects and noticing how they look and move. Maybe we will stop and draw a picture or come back home and watercolor what we observed. But older students might label the insect as they watercolor and then research a few facts to share or even dive deeper into a project or unit study. 

In my opinion family style learning is the best way for homeschool moms to teach and manage multiple ages. It’s a great place to start if this is your first year teaching more than one child at home. 

homeschooling multiple children of different ages

Daily Rhythms and Routines (Not a Schedule)

When I first began homeschooling, I ran our day as if we were in a classroom setting. My background in education was a hinderance for me my first few years of homeschooling. I even hung a scheduling chart with times we would begin and end our subjects. I learned very quickly that this was not a great way to schedule our day. 

Now, I think in terms of our daily routine and rhythms instead of having a time slot for each subject and activity. I use a weekly planning page like the one below and find that it’s incredibly helpful for our entire family. Everyone knows what’s coming next and how our week will flow. You can get this set of planning pages for just $5 in my shop or a more comprehensive planner here

homeschooling multiple children planner bundle

Begin with Morning Time

There are lots of names for what we call morning time. I’ve heard it called table time or even morning basket. The idea is to come together as a family and learn together before breaking off for independent work.  It’s a great time to read aloud or work on a memorization activity or even a foreign language.

We do this right after breakfast at the kitchen table. I keep our materials on a small table in our dining room so they are handy. We memorize Bible verses, work on Spanish, read a poem from this book, and pray before we start our day. Everyone is all together, even my oldest who’s in high school. 

Call it what you want, but having a time at the beginning of our homeschool day where everyone is together is a great way to ease into our day. 

Encourage Independent Learning

The ability to work independently is something that’s built upon over time. Each year your children will become more independent and you won’t have to put as much work into balancing different age groups. One benefit to having older children is that they are able to assist the younger ones. My older girls read aloud, explain math concepts, and practice memorization drills with my young children. They are a huge help and I’m always telling other mom’s how I couldn’t homeschool without them. 

One tip I learned from Sarah Mackenzie of Read Aloud Revival is note booking. It’s as simple as purchasing a 25 cent notebook for each child and each night writing down their assignments for the next day. That’s it! This is a huge help for older kids. Every morning they simply grab their notebook and set to work on whatever is written down for the day. You could even add household chores or daily reminders on their list. 

​Quick Tips for Managing Younger Siblings

  • Gather a basket of independent activities or toys that are only for school time.
  • Get a YOTO! We have the mini and my younger kids love it. Be sure you get headphones so it’s not a distraction to everyone who is try to do school work. 
  • Implementing a quiet time or a rest time for young kids is a great way to allow time for helping your big kids. 
Homeschooling multiple children of different ages

Final Thoughts on Homeschooling Multiple Children

In the end you’ll want to evaluate what works and what doesn’t for your family. There’s no best answer or system for homeschooling multiple children. The great thing is that you can adjust and change as you see fit. You’re the boss!  Flexibility is a huge benefit of homeschooling. The most important thing as a homeschool parent is that you do what works best for your family. 

Related Posts You May Find Helpful

Homeschool Day In the Life

5 Things You Need to Preschool at Home

Similar Posts

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *