Homeschooling one child is challenging enough. Now imagine trying to teach more than one or even several. There are things that become more complex but also more efficient with the addition of each new member to the homeschooling context.
It Gets Easier Each Time
When you begin to teach the second child it is surprisingly easier. You have learned from the mistakes made teaching the first child and are familiar with the curriculum. The content is probably fresh in your mind and you’re no longer trying to remember how to do all of these basic skills that are now automatic for you such as reading and counting. You also have learned shortcuts and other tricks that make your teaching more efficient.
The second child has also probably watched you teach the first one. When this happens they learn a lot of the content almost through osmosis. I have seen three years playing with how to write when the older sibling could barely write at five years of age. Just watching the older sibling sped up the development of the younger one.
The second child is also more likely to be eager to learn from watching the older child be in school as well since there is a culture of learning in the house now. They can’t wait for their turn to learn and this also makes things easier. Combine this with an experience parent and adding an additional student is not as burdensome as it seems.
To be efficient and not stressed out many families teach non-core subjects (history, science, art, PE, etc.) to all children at the same time. The reason for this is that often in non-core subject the order the content is learned is not as important or linear. For example, in science, if a second grader learns about the weather before learning about plants it probably will not cause too much damage in their development if any at all.
Core-subject (reading, math) are taught separately because the difference in skill in the subjects can be extensive and there is a clear linear development in these subjects. The exception to this would be to have the older sibling serve as a teacher or tutor for the younger one. This really helps everyone involve in developing a better understanding and reduces the stress on the parent.
Independence of the Senior Student
With the addition of the second child to the homeschool, this calls on the oldest to become more independent. There is less one-on-one time to support them with the time that is no given to other children. Therefore, the older child will have to sometimes figure things out on their own. The benefit of this is the development of autonomy which is a hard to find skill in this world.
Instead of watching everything they do the parent is now more of a monitor who drops by to check progress rather than watch every academic move. This places some of the burden of learning on the child which is good for developing a sense of responsibility.
With a combination of experience, efficiency, and the help of older children, homeschooling multiple children is highly doable. The key is to get everyone working together to achieve the educational goals of the family.
Good article! I found it most informative.