For the past several years, I’ve had only one child at home for school. There are certainly advantages to homeschooling an “only” –plenty of individual attention, limited distractions, freedom for Mom to get out during the day—but, I miss having a houseful at home!
I know homeschoolers that have a complete, individual curriculum for each child, typically a text-book based program. That seems to work for them, although it makes me tired to even think about teaching and grading 3, 4, or 5 different levels for each subject!
When I was teaching three at home, I had a different approach. Each child worked at his or her own level in math, spelling, and possibly grammar. We all worked together for history and science, with each child absorbing and doing as much as he or she was able. I loved the atmosphere created by us all sitting in the living room reading and discussing biographies or “living” science books together. The children worked together on science experiments and history projects. They might each write a report on the same subject with me expecting more length and quality from the older ones. A first grader might not have gained as much from the book I was reading aloud, but she was learning (and learning more than most first graders in my opinion). The kids learned from and encouraged each other.
We used curriculums such as Five in a Row, Sonlight, and Diana Waring’s history materials, as well as interest-led studies that I put together myself.
I really think we learned more, enjoyed school more, and actually made life much easier by combining subjects as much as possible. That’s the beauty of homeschooling—We can do whatever works for our families instead of being pinned to a strict scope and sequence put out by some “expert!”
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