From the HSLDA E-lert Service:


7/23/2009 10:23:21 AM
Home School Legal Defense Association
HSLDA's Homeschooling Thru the Early Years Newsletter--July 2009

HSLDA's Homeschooling Thru the Early Years Newsletter--July 2009
Multi-Level Teaching: Homeschooling More than One Child
Dear Friends,

Homeschooling one child can be challenging enough, but adding more
children can make a homeschool mom feel like the juggler doing the
zany plate-spinning act, rushing from pole to pole to give each a
quick twirl to keep those plates in the air. This month, I'd like to
share some ideas for keeping the homeschooling "plates" from crashing
to the floor!

1. Set goals and prioritize --
Map out your year but be flexible (use pencil!). "Add to your faith,
virtue; and to virtue, knowledge..." (2 Peter 1:5). You'll want to
include character training and Biblical discipleship to as well as academics . (It's much easier to teach an
obedient, diligent, cheerful child!)

And speaking of academics: Don't make it complicated. In the younger
years, your goal is to build relationships within your family while
nurturing their relationships with God, and facilitating experiential
learning--"hooks" on which they can hang his learning about God's
world. Many parents feel most confident if they concentrate on mastery
of the foundational skills areas of language arts and math at each
child's own level, and then add a multi-level approach in the content
areas of history/geography, science, and arts by utilizing
family-friendly, non-graded materials.

2. Organize your home and your schedule for success -- Simplify your homemaking and
your chores. Have a routine, but be flexible! Build in some "down"
time as well as catch-up time. Have realistic expectations, and create
an environment conducive to a learning lifestyle!

3. Encourage independent study -- Train them to work without you
right at their sides each moment; this may be difficult at first, but
it really does get easier! Have educational "while you wait for Mom"
materials on hand for those times that a student needs to wait a few
moments for help. Consider using the computer for drills, research,
and educational software. Make it easy for them to correct their own
work in skills areas such as math. Consider giving him his own planner
with his assignments listed so he can move forward at his own pace, or
try Sue Patrick's workbox system . Categorize materials into
"learning stations" to make self-study more user-friendly; some items
to include might be cassettes or CDs, supplemental workbooks or
coloring books, games, or drills, as well as books on various topics
related to the studies at hand. Most of all, remember that they do
what you inspect, not necessarily what you expect, so do stay nearby
and available.

4. Include your little ones -- Provide "mommy time" early and often;
if you spend time with the little ones first, they will be more
content playing nearby on their own while you work with the older
children. (Need ideas? Check our resources section .) Include your toddler as a
young learner; you'll be amazed how much he'll pick up by the
trickle-down approach! Include the younger ones in the discussions;
don't expect an answer, but don't discount that possibility, either!
Keep educational toys nearby for the younger ones during the lesson
times. For more insights, read "What to Do with Your Preschooler" and Mary Pride's "Top Tips for
Teaching Toddlers."

5. Read aloud -- Hearing good
literature read aloud encourages in children a love for language,
builds vocabulary, motivates them to read, and encourages them to use
their imagination. They have a much higher receptive vocabulary than
reading vocabulary, so it's okay to read books aloud that are well
above their reading level, and stop to let them narrate back to you or
to dramatize what you've read. Leave time for discussion and enjoy
the experience!

6. Adapt curriculum or use multi-level materials, especially in
content (non-skills) subjects. These might include:
> textbooks or workbooks
> workbooks
> living books
> biographies
> historical fiction
> CDs and videos
> games
> projects/experiments

To adapt your textbooks, use the table of contents (from the oldest
child's book) as a guide, then use "living" books for learning time,
modifying assignments for younger ones. Skim chapters, noting
vocabulary (bold words or vocabulary lists), timelines, important
people, project ideas, and experiments or field trips. You might use
just this one book, or you might find lower level texts that cover
similar topics for the younger ones, then use them as references.

Or you may prefer to simply use the same multi-level, family-friendly,
content-area program for all, such as Konos, Tapestry of Grace , Trail Guide to Learning, or Five in a Row , to list a few.

For additional practical tips for teaching multiple ages, join us for
the August 19 webinar on "Multi-Level Teaching" at HSLDA's @home

With encouragement from a mom of many,

Vicki B.
HSLDA Early Years coordinator
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