Homeschool planning for a large family can seem daunting. From choosing curriculum to setting up a daily schedule, there are seemingly endless decisions to be made. The good news is that you can simplify the homeschool planning process. The key is to prioritize your goals before you begin planning.
If you live in a state that regulates homeschooling, the educational requirements of your state should be your first priority. It is essential that you meet your state's requirements if you plan to continue homeschooling. Don't know exactly what your state requires? You can get the information you need from HSLDA.
The subjects that are most important to real life–math, reading, and writing–should be the focus of most of your planning. Invest the time to find math and language materials that will work with each child's learning style. Keep these core subjects a top priority as you plan your homeschool schedule. After completing these "real life" courses, you can fit in the less important subjects and activities where there is time.
It's a great idea to start your planning with the student who is closest to graduation. Why? Students in the higher grades have fewer years to complete the courses required for graduation and college entry. By planning for your oldest child first, you can ensure that they are on track to complete their home education on schedule.
After planning for your oldest child, move on to the next child. Keep in mind that the younger the student, the less intense your planning will likely be. For a kindergarten student, you really don't need to worry about more than reading and very basic math (unless you want to, of course).
A math whiz may be able to self-teach or use a computer program for math instruction. An excellent reader may love to delve into history on his own, with very minimal direction or time commitment from you. Perhaps you will choose to use a self-directed curriculum for one or more subjects.
Don't feel guilty about not teaching every single subject to every child. It is humanly impossible to teach dozens of classes each day. Remind yourself often that independent learning is a great skill for every child to learn!
Try to combine a subject, such as history or science, for two or more children. Multi-level teaching means less time to plan and teach, and provides you with a ready-made class!
Look for a curriculum that offers different activities for different age groups, or use your creativity to adapt whatever materials you are using. It's perfectly fine to allow younger children to listen in without completing the assignments that their older siblings are doing.
If your kids enjoy textbooks, use them! If a relaxed approach has worked in a particular subject, don't change! It is important to remember that you don't have to change your methods just because something new has become popular. Let experience be your guide.
I hope this article has answered some questions or given you some much needed advice about homeschool planning for a large family.
Judy Hoch is a homeschooling mom of seven children, ranging in age from toddler to teen. In between lessons and laundry, she finds time to blog about homeschooling, homemaking, and large family living at Contented at Home .