Planning, sourcing materials, and juggling schedules. These are some of the greatest challenges – and joys – of homeschooling your one child, but can feel overwhelming if you have more than one child. While home learning with more than one child can seem daunting, it truly doesn’t have to be.
Instead of focussing on individual subjects for each kid – which can make anyone’s head spin – consider focussing on broad themes with threads that you can pull on for many moments of discovery for your kids. For example, if you and your children enjoy flowers, you could easily pull three literacy experiences on flowers for three children.
Let’s imagine the youngest child is somewhere between two and three years old. Flower-themed literacy options for this child could be burying several of the letters “f” (either wooden or paper) in a flower-themed sensory tray.
Depending on the child’s level, they could look for the “f” and say it upon each discovery, then try their hand at producing an “f” – either with loose parts by tracing the letter with their finger.
Let’s imagine the next child is around four or five years old and knows the sound the letter “f” makes. This child could even use the same sensory bin, and find “f” letters, along with vowels. They could begin to connect “fa”, “fo”, or “fe”. Or they could even make CVC words, like “far”. Another alternative for CVC words is to bury letters that form flower-themed CVC words, like “bud”, or “sun”.
And now for the oldest child, who may be six, seven, or even eight, and may have more literacy experience. The child could, again, in the same sensory bin, look for letters to form more complicated flower-themed words, like “leaf”, “water”, “sunlight”.
Or all three children could work on creating an anatomy representation of a flower (either in felt, dry beans, paint) and then work on reading and matching labels for the different parts.
Math can be done the same way. The youngest can be given three flowers, and practice using fingers and counting 1, 2, 3. Or they can have counting cards with flowers on them and place little wooden bees on each flower as they practice one-to-one correspondence.
The second child can do the same activity and count to ten, fifteen, or twenty, or even shuffle and practice ordering the counting cards from one to ten. Or they can group the flowers and work on number bonds, e.g. a group of 5 and a group of 5 make 10 altogether.
The older child can do sums with flowers, or count petals of flowers with set numbers (e.g. wild rose or trillium) and do multiplication.
Even if your children don’t like the same theme (for example, one loves dinosaurs and the other two love unicorns) it’s still possible to theme it all. If we go back to the flowers, the dinosaur-loving kid can have a dinosaur eating all the flowers (and thereby work on subtraction) whereas the unicorn-lovers can imagine all the ways the flowers can decorate their unicorns.
Whatever theme you and your children decide to do will be the right fit for you and them, and will not only make your resource-collecting easier, but will also foster many hours of engaging conversations, role modelling, and cooperative learning between them – which is at the heart of home learning.
ABOUT BRIDGETTE from MODERN IMAGINATION
A teacher turned homeschooler, Brigitte has always been passionate about nature and learning. Each of her units are researched and fact-checked by leading research biologists so that the information is as current and accurate as possible. If she isn’t elbows deep in mud with her kids, or raising snails and ladybugs, she’s outside planning her next climbing route.