I decided to home-school this year because I felt that my children are not learning what they need to learn in school. I found that it is very challenging to try to home school so many different age groups. So I would like to know what I can do make this journey interesting and less stressful for us all.
I have a 2yr old, 4yr old, 5 1/2yr old, 7 1/2yr old, 9yr old, 11yr old, 13yr old, 14yr old, 15yr old, and a 16yr old. I do not know if I should follow a timed schedule or what type of curriculum to use with them.
I am lost but I really want this to work.
I think it may take you some time to figure out the best way to homeschool, and you may need to experiment with different methods. As Maryilyn Rockett says in Homeschooling at the Speed of Life :
"It doesn't matter what your circumstances are or how many children you have; there are families with two children who struggle with chaos, and families with ten children who live in peace and order."
So I think a lot will depend on your family and how you all enjoy doing things.
I know some large families like structure. There is a lady in the UK with 11 children who gives each child a time slot where they review the child's work and set new goals. This schedule for 7 kids under 11 obviously works really well for the writer - but I couldn't manage it no matter how many children I had! If you think you would like some structure then look at Amblesideonline - and maybe think about doubling up some of the children into the same year. They say
"Whether you combine children in the same Year or keep children in their own Year, you can combine art appreciation, music, nature study, Shakespeare and other topics that aren't specifically grade-relevant. It can be useful for even the youngest child to listen in on the older child's Plutarch lesson; even if nothing is required of him - the exposure to the language may help prepare him for future books in later Years."
If you are a relaxed family then you may find unschooling works well for you. To quote another homeschooler:
"We have seven and unschool.....Unschooling is awesome in a big family, because my kids are all working together and learning from each other, as well as me."
My advice would be to have a think about how you would love homeschooling to work for you. Then decide if that is realistic for you all and adjust the plan to accomodate to your own family's quirks and characteristics. I am sure it will take some experimenting. And some days are bound to work better than others. But trust yourself - I am sure you intuitively know what is best for your family.
Here is some reading that I hope might give you some ideas :)
Oh my goodness! I am a home schooling mum of 4 and I have NEVER found a better site! Thank you so much.
Blessings, Jenny (New Zealand)
I wanted to say THANK YOU for your fabulous website. I found your website, and finally I have the confidence to take the plunge and take my daughter out of school and educate her at home, thank you, thank you. Marina (UK)
I cannot get over how much great information and super ideas you have here. Fantastic! Ruralmama (USA)
This is simply fabulous!! I just now found this site and I'm so excited!! The opportunities and suggestions as well as the need to inspire are exactly what I have been searching to fulfill!! I'm so thrilled to get started and even more excited to continue to explore all of the fabulous suggestions and creative ideas you have offered here!!! Thank you, thank you, thank you! Jennifer (USA)