Depending on your homeschooling family, you may find yourself needing to teach more than one grade level simultaneously. While this may seem like an overwhelming situation, with a little preparation and patience, you can successfully teach multiple grades. I have four children, and this year has been the first year that I’ve really had four different grade levels going all at once. I’m not gonna lie to you, it can be slightly overwhelming! But with a little prep work and a few tips, you can make it work for your family, too!
Here are some tips to teaching multiple grade levels at the same time:
I suggest that you try to do as much together as possible to save time and make teaching easier.
We typically like to do our group work first thing in the morning. Then once our group subjects are completed, we move into our more independent work. This helps eliminate students waiting for others to complete work so they can do something as a group. It also lets students move at a more independent pace once group subjects are complete.
We work on our daily learning notebooks, science, history, literature, art, and music as a group. For the most part, this works for more elective-type subjects. We also do ‘calendar time’ together for the younger students. Then we move on to the work for independent grade levels for core subjects such as math, English, reading, and spelling.
The balancing act
After the group work is completed, we move on to our individual work. We still tend to do like subjects at the same time; however, students will move at their own speed once you hit this step. For example, we do math at the same time, even though I have three students working on different levels. I start off having my oldest watch her “Math U See” video, and then she moves on to her worksheets, while the next student watches their video. I have another computer at home, so my third student uses that, and then moves right to her worksheet. As all the students are working on math, I stand by and supervise or help as needed.
We basically follow the same format for the other subjects, alternating my teaching one student at a time. For example, I will teach an English lesson together with the older two. While they’re working independently on the accompanying worksheet, I will do a phonics lesson with my first grader.
It will look something like this:
Teach lesson to student 1 –> Student 1 does independent work associated with lesson taught.
Teach lesson to student 2 –> Student 2 does independent work associated with lesson taught.
Teach lesson to student 3 –> Student 3 does independent work associated with lesson taught.
Repeat this process with remaining lessons as needed.
As you can see, I teach a lesson to one of the students, then while they’re working independently, I move to the next student, and so on. Our day progresses like this as we go, alternating between them working and me teaching.
You will get more used to alternating between students as each year progresses. The kids will also learn to work a little more independently.
Another key to working with multiple grade levels at the same time is to have a few subjects that are more student-independent in nature. While we do not use all online or DVD-type classes, I do suggest creating a nice balance between teacher-led and student-independent courses to help keep your sanity, and teach your students the ability to work on their own as well.
Homeschooling multiple grades can be done, it just takes prep, planning, and, most importantly, self-confidence; knowing that you are more than capable of getting the job done!
Erica is a wife, mom, and homeschooler. She authors the homeschooling website Confessions of a Homeschooler, confessionsofahomeschooler.com, where she offers tons of free printables, resources, ideas, and homeschool curriculum. She likes to spend time with her family, and dabbles in graphic design in her free time. Feel free to drop by her site for a visit anytime!
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