Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Schooling Kids of Different Ages

This year I have 3 "grade" levels I am teaching.  Kent is in 3rd grade, Katy is in 2nd grade and Kaomi is in Kindergarten.  We started back to school about 3 weeks ago.

When Allyson at A Heart for Home invited me to be a guest tipster for their T.I.P.ster topic about Homeschooling kids of different ages I didn't think long before letting her know I would write it.  I knew I'd probably be writing about that same subject anyway.  The other moms who are writing on the same topic are Kristin at Bits and Pieces From My Life, Christy at A Living Homeschool, and Allyson at A Heart for Home      

I realized last year that trying to teach 3 different levels would probably be a little bit too overwhelming, especially since the kids are still so close in age.  I decided that the best thing would be to combine Kent and Katy together and then they will stay together in the future.  Kaomi has her own schedule, but she spends less time on school and needs more one on one time with me.  So this year Kent is revisiting the history he did last year, but I am having him do the extra reading for the extended package.  This reading is for a 4th to 5th grader, but as he loves to read I'm not expecting much complaint from him.  Last year Kent and Katy were both in a science co-op, but I wanted to teach them the science that loosely coincides with their history this year.  We school 4 days a week, but complete 5 days worth of school in those 4 days.  We use the 5th day as a day off, to play catch up, or to run errands and volunteer.  Kent still advances to the next level of English, Math and Reading.  While I only have 3 in school I also have a 1 year old and a 2 year old that need mommy time and good supervision.  

Before or after breakfast the piano is being practiced.  We try not to have piano practice going on if someone is napping so we found it is best to have everyone try to complete their practice earlier in the day rather than waiting and not getting it done at all.

Right now we try to begin school all together with the Pledge of Allegiance, prayer and sometimes a song or short story.  This is usually followed with sending Kent and Katy to work on something that they can do all by themselves and I work with Kaomi on her school.  We try to keep the atmosphere as quiet as possible all day until everyone is finished with their school.  I have found they don't get much school done if there is lots of noise or distractions.  While Kaomi does some work by herself, I may read or play quietly with Felicity and Clark.  I also check to be sure that Kent and Katy get any questions answered that they may have about what they are working on.  I make sure to do reading with Kaomi before lunch, otherwise it probably won't happen.  After lunch I focus more on Kent and Katy and the things I still need to teach them.  We have group storytime and everyone who isn't working on school has quiet time.

I've been using the Heart of Dakota curriculum by Carrie Austin since I started Kent in pre-school.  So far I've really liked the layout and the flexibility allowed by the curriculum and this year I'm trying out the extended plan for Bigger Hearts for His Glory.  Our reading program is Drawn into the Heart of Reading with Kent doing level 4 and Katy working on level 2.  I'm using The Ordinary Parent's Guide to Teaching Reading with Kaomi.  She already knew the sounds of the letters, so we go through the first lessons quickly as a review to get ready for actually reading.

One thing I've learned about having multiple kids is that they have multiple personalities and multiple learning capabilities.  What works well for one might not work for someone else and what worked last year might not work this year.  I've also learned that structure is good, but the ability to be flexible is important on a day to day basis as well.

The beginning of a new school year doesn't come without its struggles and needed adjustments.  Right now we are working on encouraging Kent and Katy to apply themselves on the work they can do by themselves.  They enjoy doing something other that what  they have been told to do when I am working with Kaomi.  This often results in the rest of their school being delayed.  We also don't always get everything on our daily plan accomplished.  When that happens we either try to catch it the following days or skip it altogether if it isn't important to build on for the next time.  Another struggle I have is what to do with Clark.  He is so active that unless I am holding him teaching is severely disrupted.  He ends up in his bed with toys and music on by 9:30 most mornings.  He's not real fond of it, but he'll fuss for awhile, play and then nap.  He usually wakes up between 11:30 and 12 pm and gets to sit in his high chair for lunch with a cracker then play on the floor and roam.  Sometimes he is able to join us for some mommy lap time as we do some afternoon school.  He usually is ready for his afternoon nap between 1:30 and 2:00.

Linked up to:

    The Modest Mom

1 comment:

  1. Sounds like a wonderful school year coming up! You have a winning formula -- a structured plan with room for flexibility.


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