I am Mom to five children ranging in age from 4 to 17. Some may think that managing that many children is difficult, and they may be right. Others might say that homeschooling them is downright impossible. I am here to tell you that, not only is it possible to homeschool a large family, you can use delight-directed learning to educate your children, and they can excel.
One of the easiest ways to homeschool in a large family is to combine subjects where possible. History, poetry, art, and Geography immediately come to mind when I think of combining subjects, but I am sure there are many other topics with which this is doable, too.
Does your family have a specific interest in Native Americans, cars, baseball, or gardening? Purchase or create a unit study on the topic and go through it together. Check out books of various reading levels from the library, read them aloud or assign reading to your children, and then have each child put together a notebook of drawings, facts, internet or magazine images, and more to show their learning. This is just one hands-on way to study a topic together yet cater to each child’s level and ability.
Have Your Older Children Teach The Younger Children
An excellent way to learn about a topic or to hone a skill is to teach it. Teens are perfectly capable of helping a younger brother learn his letters, reading a story and directing the completion of a related craft, or taking younger siblings on a nature walk around the neighborhood. Having the responsibility of teaching not only gives an older child a chance to practice managing people and speaking to a group (even if it is only a group of two younger siblings), he will also learn more about the topic at hand and become slightly more adept in that particular area of study.
Swing Shift Homeschooling
When I think about ‘swing shift’ homeschooling, I have in mind the way my daddy always worked a 12-hour daytime shift for three days in a row and then switched to a 12-hour nighttime shift for 4 days in a row. In regards to homeschooling, it might look something like this.
Each morning, spend some time reading to your younger children, completing craft projects, playing educational games, and practicing simple math facts on a markerboard while your older children are completing basic hygiene and household chores. Move on to a nature walk, sidewalk chalk play in the driveway, and a sink-or-float activity at the water table, as your teens ot tweens pursue their own interests, complete an exercise routine, or plan out their homeschool day. When the shift ‘swings’, allow your younger children free play time, to watch a favorite movie, or to enjoy blanket time with specific educational toys as your older children begin their independent work, you explain a math concept to your middle school child, and dinner prep begins.
These are simply examples of how swing shift homeschooling could look. The idea is to have each person in the family pursuing an area of interest and to continue moving forward and accomplishing goals throughout the day, without mom needing to direct each person individually all day long.
As you allow your child to pursue his own interests, learn to delegate, and begin to implement different methods of learning within your homeschool you will begin to see that delight-directed learning is not just possible within a large family, it is an exciting way to learn and your entire family will reap the rewards on a daily basis.
Wendy is a preschool teacher turned homeschool mama. She loves the Lord and seeks to pass on His ways to her children as she endeavors to live a lifestyle of learning with them. Wendy’s heart’s desire is to encourage women in their marriages, as parents, and as home educators. Be sure to connect with Wendy at WendyWoerner.com and on social media to receive the encouragement she offers.
I would also love to invite you the community inspired by this series, as we strive to inspire, encourage and empower our readers in everything homeschooling.