Homeschooling. Ahh, the joy of having your children home all day, learning and growing in the fertile environment of your very own home. It can be the most challenging job you will ever have. And, if you have many children it can seem impossible to meet the needs of everyone.
For years I have had moms and dads ask me how they can possibly teach 2, 3, 4 or more grades at once? Is it possible? And as this new 2011 school year is in its infancy, the questions begin again. How can we get it all done?
If you have more than one child and there is an age gap of a couple of years or more, one of my solutions is the "buddy time." You can probably guess what it is, but I will elaborate a bit by giving an example of how it looked in my home.
Around 10:00 daily I would have everyone stop whatever they were doing so we could do buddy time. I don't think I called it that, but that is what it was. Usually one child needed some special attention, so I would have that child spend time with me and the other four buddy up. It could be that Chad helped Kari with math, while Cris took Scotty out to play, freeing me to give Dusty some one on one time. Or, I might buddy an older child to listen to a younger read or give a couple of kids free time [upstairs in their room] while I had an older help and younger and I got dinner started. There are many scenarios, but basically everyone stops what they are doing 1-2 times a day and they buddy up for 15-30 minutes in order to get it all done.
I am not saying it always worked perfectly, but it worked pretty well. Another suggestion is to pay an older child to grade papers if you need help. I have a friend who has 9 children and she says that if one child wastes her time then said child has to give her the same amount of time in chores, etc. That helps get the chores done and curbs children wasting time too.
I have more ideas of how to run a more efficient homeschool and will post them in the coming days.