If you’re homeschooling more than one child, chances are that they’re going to be in different grades. As a homeschool mom of three, I had kids ranging from high school through elementary. It can be a challenge for sure, but it is possible to homeschool different grades at the same time.
Maybe it’s the former classroom teacher in me who used to have multi-grade level classes (imagine teaching three different grades with kids on all different levels in a classroom of 30 students…), but I always found it a fun challenge to integrate everyone’s grade levels in the day’s lessons. For those who haven’t taught in the classroom or are trying homeschooling for the first time, don’t worry, you’re right, it can definitely be intimidating! In fact, one of the most common concerns with homeschool is having to teach children of different grade levels at the same time.
The good news is that it’s not always as difficult as it may seem. Here are some tips on how to homeschool different grades. You can do it!
Homeschooling Different Grades
Teach Different Grades Simultaneously
Some parents who need to teach kids at multiple grade levels teach lessons simultaneously. For instance, you can teach a lesson about the Civil War in terms understood by several grade levels and give each child vocabulary words and projects at their own level of understanding.
We did this a couple of years ago when we combined 6th and 3rd grades in the Paths of Exploration curriculum. It was great to learn about the subjects together and led to some really interesting “non-school hours” conversations about American history. It also made field trips a lot easier, because they were all interested in the subjects!
Allow for Plenty of Physical Activity
While I worked one on one with one of the children, I would let the others go play in the backyard. This allowed them to get out their energy and gave me quieter time with the child I was working intensively with inside.
Physical activity before learning also makes it easier to focus during lessons, so when the others came back in, they were ready to learn. Research has shown that kids who get in exercise often focus better in the classroom, so it’s no surprise that homeschooling is no different! That “wiggle time” also helped get in physical education requirements!
Consider Joining a Multi-Age Co-Op
If teaching multiple grades at once is difficult for you, you’re not alone! It’s a challenge for every homeschool parent. You might want to consider joining a homeschool co-op.
There are many different types of co-ops, so finding one that will work best for your family is key. There are some where parents split the teaching responsibilities and others where outside teachers are hired to come in and teach lessons. The shared responsibility of teaching can help take some of the burden off and keep you from feeling completely overwhelmed!
Frequently Asked Questions About Homeschooling More Than One Grade
What is the Law About Homeschooling Different Grades?
Most states don’t have any rules or regulations about homeschooling multiple grades at the same time. The best thing to do is check your state’s department of education site for the laws regarding homeschooling in your area. We’ve compiled a list of all of the department of education links in this article to make it easier for you to find them.
How Will I Assess Different Grade Levels?
Even if you use a common curriculum across different grade levels, you’ll still need to assess each child independently. Not only is it important to make sure that they’re learning what they need to be learning, but it also allows you to assess the curriculum’s strengths and weaknesses. You don’t have to do formal tests and huge projects to assess; oral quizzes and even fill-in-the-blank worksheets will give you a good feeling for how much a child is retaining.
Homeschooling more than one grade level is not as easy as homeschooling just one, but it can be done. With some creativity and patience, you may find that the variety provided with homeschooling multiple grades is just what you need to make the homeschool year exciting!
Questions about homeschooling multiple grades? Be sure to leave your questions below! We’re happy to help answer them!