Homeschool 101: How to Teach Multiple Grades

“How do you teach the kids at different grades?”


I get asked this all the time. I have 4 kids that are currently in grades 11, 9, 6, and 3. To be honest, before we started homeschooling I wasn’t quite sure how this worked, either.

When most of us imagine kids learning, we picture an authority figure (teacher, parent, etc.) standing up in front of them, at a blackboard (okay, a white board, but I’m old enough to remember when they were black and covered with chalk dust), giving instructions. So it’s hard to imagine one teacher doing that for 3 or more kids, all at different grades.

The reality is that’s not what happens at home. There are materials available that are designed to be used with multiple age groups. Usually they cover history, science, Bible, geography, etc. But there are some subjects that in most cases cannot be combined, like math. This is the part that can get

The actual teaching aspect of it is more like helping with issues as they arise. When the kids are just starting out at the Kindergarten level, you teach them to read and write, and teach basic math skills. As they get older, and are competent readers, they can read for themselves. This means they read their lessons, follow the directions for how to complete assignments, and do the work. If they come across something that they don’t understand, they ask me for help.

The majority of issues that come up happen to be with math. I don’t know if it is that way in all families, but it’s what happens in my house. As a result, I have learned that staggering their assignments is a must. I learned this by basically running around from kid to kid, trying to accommodate all of their questions at once. That didn’t work out so well.

So now I make sure that while one is doing math, the others are working on history, science, reading, or anything else that doesn’t require my attention. This year I actually wrote up a schedule with time slots to help move our day along and ensure that their lessons are staggered. Before I did this, I found myself having to work with one and tell the others that if they need help, they have to do something else until I’m free.

You can read in full detail about our daily schedule here. I cannot express how much this schedule has saved our homeschool and my sanity!

I hope this helps you understand how homeschooling multiple children works in real life. Do you have more than one child at home? How do you manage their lessons? Leave a comment below.