Monday, February 15, 2010

Juggling Multiple Ages

The TOS Crew blog question this week is: How do you handle multiple ages? Teaching multiple ages is definitely something I am still trying to figure out. Most days I feel like I am juggling (unsuccessfully) and I also believe it's something that constantly changes. A method that works at the beginning of the year, may not work by the end of the year.

For instance, when my youngest was an infant, I would work on preschool activities while she napped in the morning and the afternoon. Eventually the baby outgrew her morning nap, and we only did our messy activities while she napped in the afternoons.

Today, I have an 8-year-old, 7-year-old, and an almost 5-year-old. We do as much as possible together. We do read-alouds, Bible, science, and social studies together. Then, the "assignments" are made age-appropriate. I also have time everyday that I spend one-on-one with each child. For instance, when I'm working on a reading lesson w/ the preschooler, the older children do their silent reading independently.

One-on-one time with my preschooler:
  • Reading Lessons
  • Handwriting Lessons
  • Math Games
One-on-One time with older children:
  • Math Lessons
  • Spelling
  • Oral and/or Written Narration
  • Creative Writing (once/week)

An ideal day would start with us all in the living room doing our Bible and Read Aloud time together. Then, I start rotating through the children for their one-on-one time with me. Then, we break for lunch, and our afternoons are spent doing either Science or Social Studies and our "specials." We alternate each week between Science and Social Studies (this is something new we are trying). We read a lot in these subject areas and try to do special projects and/or experiments, and I have found it is too difficult to try and do BOTH Science and Social Studies each day. So, we go through a chapter/unit each week in either Science or Social Studies. One day a week we do what I call "specials. Our "Special" schedule looks like this: Tuesday is art, Wednesday is Computer, and Thursday is Music.

The area I struggle with the most in this juggling act is keeping my other two children busy while I work with the third child one-on-one. Sometimes I assign chores, silent reading, and free play time, but interruptions always seem to come. Just when I think I'm juggling successfully and all the balls are flying in order, an interruption comes and all the balls fall disorderly to the floor. So, I am hoping the other contributors who share this week on the blog cruise will give me some ideas to help me get better at this juggling act!


Sandra said...

I don't have any advice from experience (yet), but I've seen other homeschool families with kids of different ages use work boxes for the older ones to organize their independent activities!

Nikki said...

Sandra, I have been thinking about doing some sort of modified version of work boxes. Some members of the TOS Crew actually reviewed Sue Patrick's Workbox system earlier this school year: