{Catholic} Homeschooling Multiple Ages in a Large & Busy Family

It’s daunting to think about schooling many children, all different age ranges, in a busy house.

It takes a bit of creative thinking but it can be done. Each summer before the year starts, I start praying about our schedule, and I ask my husband to pray about it too.

I have some tips and tricks I have used over the years to have smooth sailing days when homeschooling a large family:

  1. Work with the Littles First – Start the morning with the youngest children.  Playing on the floor, reading stories, whatever works for the ages and stages of your youngest.  Your older children can be working on independent work.
  2. Contain the Younger Kids – When my children were younger, I had a space in our home that I could block off and keep the younger kids contained while I worked with the older kids.  It was a safe, child-friendly spot.  I could hear/see them all the time and I would rotate through some of our larger toys.  One day it would be the dollhouses, next it was blocks and cars, the next it was the kitchen and play food.I could work on some focused activities with the older kids without the younger kids having free reign over the entire house.  In an hour I could get a good amount of work done with the older kids and the younger kids had a focused playtime.
  3. Older Kids Work with Younger Kids – Having older children play with younger children has many benefits.  New readers can get practice reading simple board books and younger children hear more stories.  This year my 6th grader worked with my 3rd grader on learning the states and capitals.  Geography is something he loves and he was happy to share his knowledge with his little sister.
  4. Group Kids Together as Much as Possible – I like family style learning, I enjoy having all of my children learning together.  I think it makes learning more interesting for all of us, as we can all discuss the same topics.  It also makes it easy to have Dad join in on our learning.  In the past I have used a curriculum to group my older three together, this coming year I’m using a curriculum that can group all of my children together.  We are learning about the same topics, just adjusted for the different learning levels.
  5. Relax Standards a Bit – Learning does not need to be rigorous to be thorough, and seat work does not have to equal school work.  Nature walks, trips to the zoo and other activities go a long way to adding a richness to the day.  Spend time reading quality books while having a snack, or listening to books during quiet time, the rosary while on the road are all good things.
  6. Chore Time – Just like learning together is more enjoyable, chores done together can be more fun too.  I have found that in spending 30 minutes on assigned tasks we can get a good amount of cleaning and picking up completed.

What are some ways that you make homeschooling in a large family work in your home?


Raising Saints Homeschooling Contributor Jen blogs at Forever, For Always, No Matter What.  She has one amazing husband and six eclectic kids.  Stop in for a visit as she blogs about their Catholic faith, homeschooling and adoption, all while trying to fit in exercise and healthy eating.  Jen can also be found on Twitter, Facebook, and Pinterest.

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