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Homeschooling through High School as a "Large Family" - How do you do it?


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I've home schooled four kids. Two are now away in college.

 

(My youngest was not taught math consistently enough and now I regret doing that.)

 

I always set a goal for each child. One subject that I would concentrate on teaching that particular child. This year is B's year for math and C's year for Algebra. (Both math.. just realized that. :) ) Next year I might concentrate on English for C and Biology for B.

 

I relied on oral narrations in history and science for a few years.

I've also relied on Quizlet to test and grade certain subjects. Biology for instance.

I've used computer programs and online websites for some subjects. Both my boys are doing two subjects each of SOS this year. (BTW..... SOS is so much BETTER than I thought it was going to be.)

 

One just can not teach, grade, guide, and assign 5 or 6 subjects for 4 or more students every day.

 

What subjects can you do orally?

What subjects can you use Quizlet for tests?

Do you have to have written assignments that must be graded?

What is one subject per child that requires teaching, written assignments, and grading?

What subjects can the student do on the computer or online?

What subjects could be "reading only"?

 

You can not do everything. Pick and choose. Let computers, videos, and reading only pick up the slack. Next year, focus on a different subject for each student.

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Neglect the housework, forget to exercise, and fall asleep in your dinner plate every night? That's how I'm doing it, but there's probably a better way...

 

:lurk5:

 

:lol::iagree::tongue_smilie:

 

This has been my method so far. Granted, I have 4 of my own that I am homeschooling (9th grade, 5th grade, 2/3 grade, and pre-K), but then I am also watching 2 preschoolers full-time. One is almost 4 and the other just turned 2. I have to be "on" all the time. My oldest has to do the majority of her work independently. The things she needs further instruction on have to be done "after hours"...usually when dad gets home or after the youngers have gone to sleep.

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One thing that has really helped us has been to make use of outsourcing. My kids do both a co-op (1/2 a day a week, covers art, music and unit study- usually history/science, geo, etc) and a 1/2 day a week tutoring center. The classes for Tutoring Center vary by the year. Last year my h.s. took chem, lit, oral interp, and my 5th grader took history, lit, etc.

Tutoring Center costs more and there is homework. It is worth every penny.

We meet at a library, it's set up by a mom and classes are taught by area homeschool moms/das with an occasional "other." The parents who teach are grateful for the extra money they garner and do a terrific job- the standards are high, there is good feedback, etc.

 

Worth every penny.

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I've had to let go of a lot of things...

 

I don't teach a church class, we don't go on field trips during the week. I'm not doing the amount of nature time to my littles that the bigs had. I follow a traditional school year very strictlly because we have so much to accomplish and with part time jobs and mentorships for my olders we can no longer make up time whenever nor can we school year round.

 

Our day starts early and ends late. I've also had to give up my 1 1/2 hour quiet time that I've always maintained. I need that time while the littles rest to meet with my older kids, and check on work.

 

I do heavy housework and errands on weekends. I've had to simplify lunches and even to an extent suppers. I've lowered standards on my garden and home.

 

I also made some curriculumn changes.

 

I have less freedom... but this is just for a season... and it's an important season!

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Neglect the housework, forget to exercise, and fall asleep in your dinner plate every night? That's how I'm doing it, but there's probably a better way...

 

:lurk5:

:iagree:And I only have one in high school right now. The thought of more is...terrifying.

Our days are long and full (no, I should not be on the computer right now :tongue_smilie:). I focus on the younger kids (10, 8, and 6) in the morning while the older children (15 and 13) work independently. The littles are all done their work by the afternoon, so I work with the older two then.

My highschooler is very motivated and self-disciplined, and she studies well by herself. I wouldn't be able to manage otherwise.

The whole thing is a balancing act I'm not quite in control of, but I'm able to bumble along and pray it will all be worth it in the end.

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I have less freedom... but this is just for a season... and it's an important season!

 

:iagree: From someone who has finished homeschooling four children, let me tell you. It's WORTH IT!!!!!!!!!

 

So many times, in little ways --- that add up to big--- my children tell me of the ways they are grateful.

 

They haven't always felt that way but when they think of their children or future children, they think seriously about how to educate them.

 

How many parents think about this as seriously as homeschooling parents? Many but to actually spend the kind of time and give the kind of guidance to our kids is phenomenal. Hard at times, but amazing.

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:iagree: From someone who has finished homeschooling four children, let me tell you. It's WORTH IT!!!!!!!!!

 

So many times, in little ways --- that add up to big--- my children tell me of the ways they are grateful.

 

They haven't always felt that way but when they think of their children or future children, they think seriously about how to educate them.

 

How many parents think about this as seriously as homeschooling parents? Many but to actually spend the kind of time and give the kind of guidance to our kids is phenomenal. Hard at times, but amazing.

Thank you for sharing! It's really nice for those of us in the trenches to hear from parents who have graduated their children.

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Thank you! I'm finding that meeting for once/week classes is frustrating to my 10th grader and I don't have the time to give her and everyone else the attention that they need. I like what I see at Scholars Online, particularly that math classes meet 3x/week, but we are locked into CC for this year.

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Thank you! I'm finding that meeting for once/week classes is frustrating to my 10th grader and I don't have the time to give her and everyone else the attention that they need. I like what I see at Scholars Online, particularly that math classes meet 3x/week, but we are locked into CC for this year.

 

Just a heads up......our experience w/SO was less than stellar and we won't be using their online courses again.

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I start my day with my younger kids while the older ones are doing independent work. We outsource where possible. I spend time in the afternoons with my older ones and schedule a block twice a week for history and lit discusssions.

 

That is pretty much how I've always done it - it is definitely a full-time job!

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Admittedly I may not be the best person to weigh in as my first is a sophomore. I'd be curious to know if others agree with my opinion:

Middle school is a poor example for what high school is like. In middle school the kids have a heavier load but do not yet have the ability and experience to work and juggle things independently. Her two years of high school have certainly been more rigorous but *she* is very much in charge of her time and workload.

 

Plus, high school is much more gratifying. It is far less correcting and much more of a mentorship... Learning, reading, discussing - very enjoyable.

 

I am making it a point to try to read as many of the major works as I can so we Aww able to discuss and so I can help her to the fullness of my ability with her writing. It is very different than how we did middle school.

 

I will say I am having some regrets with our second child. I used materials I *liked* better with him even though they were teacher intensive. It resulted in a much more teacher dependent child. We are making headway in that area

However, with our 4th grader and our 2nd grader we are very much instilling independence in a couple areas, knowing that this training will later be valuable.

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By high school age, my children are working independently a skill I worked on during middle school. During the first two years of high school I work with them on scheduling their own work based on the goals I set and on meeting deadlines. They are held responsible to get the weeks work completed by 6 pm Friday, no excuses of not knowing how to do something or forgetting to have me look over a rough draft so the final isn't turned in on time. I do not teach them unless they come to me and ask. We do do discussions of readings but this is in a casual way...usually during mealtimes so the whole family gets involved.

 

As for keeping up with the paper work, I only look over the math daily. The rest of the work is looked over on Friday evenings and corrections are worked on over the weekend.

 

(I only have 2 now, a 9th and 1st, but at one time I had 4 and this way kept me sane)

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Something that I did with #2 was to have her older sister take over the grading of her English papers her senior year. I figure oldest had way better writing instruction than I ever had, so it worked. Now oldest helps with dd #3--she made suggestions on a lot of that sister's college essays. After all, oldest dd had a Master's in pedagogy by that time!

 

Having the olders help the youngers has worked for us, too. I paid our junior biology major to teach our high school junior how to write a biological research paper over his summer break. And, during our college freshman's final two years of high school, he helped our other high schoolers through Wheelock's Latin and answered questions in physics and pre-calc. I wasn't sure what to do about Latin when that son went off to college this fall, but our high school senior is doing well online with Lukeion's Latin III.

 

(BTW: We are loving Lukeion for Latin III and College Research Writing. I'm not usually a big fan of online classes, but these have been great.)

 

Quiver's post is also similar to what I would have said. (i.e. Work with the youngers during the morning and the older during the little people's quiet time in the afternoon.) In general, this has been effective.

 

CC in the following:

 

I've been hesitant to answer in these threads because families and even individuals and phases within families are so different. Solutions that have worked for us one year or with one child have not work with the next. And available options vary so widely. I never would have foreseen having the option of using the older kids tutor their siblings as I wrote in the paragraph above, and that option is about to close for me. There aren't many pat answers that work for everyone for all time. I think it's God's way of keeping us leaning on Him, and the one thing that I do know works every time is prayer. When I'm stuck and not sure what to do about a situation, He always surprises me with the options He makes available, and it all works out.

Edited by Luann in ID
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I'm right there with you. I currently am teaching 9th, 7th, 6th, 3rd, 2nd, and PreK. I also have a 21mo and am due literally any day with baby #8. My 9th grader has CAPD and comprehension issues due to the CAPD, so not only is he not as independent as I would like, I am having to remediate him so that he CAN become more independent. He also does NOT want to be homeschooled, so his attitude really gets in the way sometimes.:glare:

 

What I'm doing right now to juggle it all (in addition to the whole "no cleaning" thing):

 

We start at 8 and don't end till roughly 3:30. The KIDS don't necessarily have work that whole time (except maybe the 9th grader), but I sure do.

 

We have a strict schedule. I shudder at the thought (and am in complete denial) of what throwing a newborn into the mix will bring.

 

I stay up late grading and getting things ready for the next day.

 

Since my oldest's biggest beef is that he doesn't want me as a teacher, I try to find classes that I can use either via DVD or online for him. For example, for science we are using Red Wagon Tutorials on DVD. Once he is done with his current math book I'll be using the Saxon Teacher CDs. Some of the stuff I'm not able to outsource like that, and he just has to suck it up.:tongue_smilie: But where I can, I do. "Meaningful discussion" hasn't been a huge issue just yet because of his language issues.:tongue_smilie:

 

I try to work with the younger ones in the morning, though I do start off the day with my oldest 2 working on reading comprehension. The only reason I start with them is because often my younger ones aren't ready to go at 8.

 

Not sure if this helps at all...it is definitely a full-time job. I know a gal who has like 6-7 in school and is done by noon.:001_huh: But I also suspect that they aren't as rigorous as we are (and I would not classify our homeschool as "rigorous" by any means LOL!!!).

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I am currently teaching my 13 yo (8/9th grade), 10 yo (5th), 7 yo (3rd), with my 2 yo and 10 month old as tagalongs. My eldest is 16, a junior, and is at a two day a week private school. She does homework at home on the other 4 days a week.

 

It is chaotic and hectic. I do laundry 3 days a week. I use the crockpot as much as I can. We eat breakfast together and while the girls eat lunch, I run errands or do something around the house that I can't do while they need me. We finish late in the day. I try to keep the 2 yo occupied, but she is rather precocious and into everything. There are days when I really wish I could just hang out with her and give her more one on one time. I must have forgotten to feed the baby enough yesterday because I've ended up with a plugged duct today.

 

However, when it works well, it works well. I move from one child to another, helping them out as I can, and directing them to the next thing. Everyone has a list of what needs to be done during the day. If they don't do it one day, they know that it needs to be done by the end of the week. I don't have the luxury following the lead of everyone anymore. :(

 

My 16 yo is coming home from her private school at the end of this week and I'm going to have to figure out how to add her to the mix. She is pretty independent but one of the reasons that I am bringing her home is because she is working way too much. LOL Hopefully, I can give her better attention at home. We might have to do it at 6 a.m. ;)

 

The thing that works best for me is keeping to my plan. If I get off the plan, then all heck breaks loose and a whole week goes by and we don't get what we need done. I plan 8-9 weeks at a time using the Donna Young quarterly planners.

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I didn't think I could do it this year with a 9th grader, 8th grader, 6th and 4th grade dyslexic dc, K'er and 8 month old!

 

But it is working! My ninth grader is independant. He is doing My Father's World which has lesson plans written directly to him.

 

8th grader mostly independant. I work with him about 30 minutes per day.

 

6th and 4th graders require most of my time. I write everyone's daily assignments on a white marker board. When the board is clean, they can have free time. This greatly helps me to know at a glance how much everyone has accomplished and what I have to do with each one.

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I didn't think I could do it this year with a 9th grader, 8th grader, 6th and 4th grade dyslexic dc, K'er and 8 month old!

 

But it is working! My ninth grader is independant. He is doing My Father's World which has lesson plans written directly to him.

 

8th grader mostly independant. I work with him about 30 minutes per day.

 

6th and 4th graders require most of my time. I write everyone's daily assignments on a white marker board. When the board is clean, they can have free time. This greatly helps me to know at a glance how much everyone has accomplished and what I have to do with each one.

 

Talk to me about MFW. This was the direction we were heading before we landed in Classical Conversations. The simplicity of focusing on Bible, history, and literature with me and then outsourcing for language, math, and science is appealing to me. Is there enough guidance that you feel like you can grade fairly? Are you studying alongside, discussing with her? How does that work for you?

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Just throwing this out there. This year I'm attempting a one-room schoolhouse technique. All the children are covering the same subject at the same time. 30 minutes Latin, 1 hour LA, 1 hour Math, 1 hour Science, then TOG. It's been keeping me sane because I'm not jumping from subject to subject. I wander around the children chasing babies, checking work, running through teacher intensive sections, and answering questions. It's easier because I'm on the same subject, versus history with one child, science the next, English the third, science, math, English, history, science, etc. Something always got missed.

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Just throwing this out there. This year I'm attempting a one-room schoolhouse technique. All the children are covering the same subject at the same time. 30 minutes Latin, 1 hour LA, 1 hour Math, 1 hour Science, then TOG.

 

I've been doing this, too, though not consciously. LOL If I don't do the same thing for everyone, even though I have a schedule written out, I forget it for one or the other of them. I like how once we have something done, it's done.

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Talk to me about MFW. This was the direction we were heading before we landed in Classical Conversations. The simplicity of focusing on Bible, history, and literature with me and then outsourcing for language, math, and science is appealing to me. Is there enough guidance that you feel like you can grade fairly? Are you studying alongside, discussing with her? How does that work for you?

 

I spent the first week sitting right beside him, walking him through the lesson plans, and explaining what I expected from him. After that he just read the plan for the day and did it. I have him come tell me when he completes one subject and tell me what he is doing next. I look over his work a few times per week to make sure he is doing it. We discuss the material at least once per week. He does need help with writing so I sit down with him for that. MFW gives instructions on how to grade the various subjects and has already assigned credits. The grading is not difficult to do. I am having my sister, a fabulous writer, grade his papers.

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Hey Cindy!

Your thread title is a great question! One I'm sure so many deal with daily...

 

I just wanted to throw out there the idea of SL. We're loving it as it gives me the opportunity to teach without having to plan. Big time sucker, that planning :)

 

We read alot of books together. The 13 yo and I read the same book, just not at the same time, then discuss. With my 10 yo we read aloud and discuss all but the readers. The books are engaging, it's a one stop order for me, and my girls, most importantly, LOVE IT! It's all about the books with SL. The children are engaged and enjoying their schoolwork. That's worth alot with older ones. They're not on board? Watch out for trouble...

 

It's not an online class but it sure does make my teaching "many" easier!

HTH, and hope you are all well!

S

ps We school pretty much year round to allow for lots of time mid year for fun and social activities because without those my girls would burn out! as would I.

pps my husband calls CC Classical Calamities - we crashed and burned big time and I learned Monday mornings are sacred time for our weeks to begin at home, slowly AND the children I am teaching are not geared toward all that memory work. It's a great thing to find what works. I'm sure you will!

Edited by momee
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  • 1 month later...
We have a strict schedule. I shudder at the thought (and am in complete denial) of what throwing a newborn into the mix will bring.

I was right to shudder/be in denial.:lol:

 

One thing I struggled with, even BEFORE the baby, is when to do everything ELSE. When do y'all do anything ELSE besides school? Like grocery shopping, cleaning, meal prep, etc.? I have been outsourcing the cleaning to my kids, but that's about all they can do. Everything else is up to me. And we won't mention any large projects like decluttering, clothes organization, organization in general!

 

So when do you get all THAT stuff done? (Or are you like me...it DOESN'T?)

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Wait! I remember the rule! I think it's 2-3 weeks multiplied by the number of children. ;) I could be mistaken though.... It might be four weeks.

Oh my, for what? To take off school???? We definitely can't do that...I want SOME sort of summer break! (Plus we're required by law here to complete 172 days.)

 

And truly, I've been overwhelmed for years when it comes to all the non-school stuff...it's NOT because of the baby.;)

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So when do you get all THAT stuff done? (Or are you like me...it DOESN'T?)

 

I schedule it. I do two to three loads of laundry a day. One of the children is assigned to fold it and the others are to put it away. Dishes are done after each meal. Kitchen clean up happens after the evening meal. If it doesn't happen then, they have to wake up early to do it.

 

In theory, we do 8 or 9 weeks on, with a 1 week break in between. I'm learning that this isn't enough. We need more like 4 weeks on, 1 week off. During that 1 week, we do the clothes changing, the deep cleaning, the trips, etc.

 

I also try to schedule a 4 day week. Then, we try to get it done in 6 days. LOL Thursday are our day to be out of the house. We have speech/debate and it's really hard to do anything but that. Friday morning are tough because the kids have been out late the night before.

 

If I want something done, I put it on the weekly schedule that is given out. Then, I have to follow through and make sure it is done. I even make a schedule just for me so that I don't forget to do something. When we had the newest baby, I had to schedule nursing her because I was so busy that I just didn't do it, and she didn't fuss much. The guilt was/is horrible about that one.

 

One day at a time, one step at a time.

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In theory, we do 8 or 9 weeks on, with a 1 week break in between. I'm learning that this isn't enough. We need more like 4 weeks on, 1 week off. During that 1 week, we do the clothes changing, the deep cleaning, the trips, etc.

 

We have a pretty strict daily schedule (even the baby...if I waited on her to wake up or act hungry I'd have no milk! I even have to set my alarm to wake her at night...what is up with that????? LOL), but it's those big things that really just throw me for a loop. I always feel like I'm behind and feel like they should be somewhere on our daily schedule, but of course they won't fit. So I LOVE the idea of doing a certain number of weeks on and one off. As I pondered that idea, I realized that it's not so much my kids who need the time off from school to get projects done, but ME. And if they take time off school then they are unoccupied (which isn't good LOL!). SO! I think what I'm going to do is to have a certain number of weeks on and then have a week where we won't do any "Mom-necessary" school - they'll ONLY do their independent stuff while I work on bigger projects.:D:D:D

 

Thank you for that idea!

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We have a pretty strict daily schedule (even the baby...if I waited on her to wake up or act hungry I'd have no milk! I even have to set my alarm to wake her at night...what is up with that????? LOL), but it's those big things that really just throw me for a loop. I always feel like I'm behind and feel like they should be somewhere on our daily schedule, but of course they won't fit. So I LOVE the idea of doing a certain number of weeks on and one off. As I pondered that idea, I realized that it's not so much my kids who need the time off from school to get projects done, but ME. And if they take time off school then they are unoccupied (which isn't good LOL!). SO! I think what I'm going to do is to have a certain number of weeks on and then have a week where we won't do any "Mom-necessary" school - they'll ONLY do their independent stuff while I work on bigger projects.:D:D:D

 

Thank you for that idea!

 

This is exactly what I just decided to do. We're going to school for 5 weeks and then take one week off. Except during that one week while I get caught up on everything, the kids will be doing things like reading, playing educational games, watching educational dvds, and doing independent science projects (I just received my Rainbow Science order that my two olders will do, and my dd11 is teaching my dd7 Nancy Larson science). They will get a break from their monotony, and I will have time to get other stuff done (I haven't had a physical in 8 years, etc). And we'll get to use the fun stuff that we never seem to have time for. We do math and Latin over the summer anyway, so now I'll just add in whatever I feel we need to focus on--probably language arts this summer.

 

Laura

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Kidding aside, our newest little one has spoiled me for any future babies. She is too easy. I always feel the baby is not the problem, the toddler is!

 

We use student teachers here. :) I know a child needs reinforcement, I have them teach younger one. For example, use a 4th grade child to teach the 1st grader. I try very hard not to rely on my oldest ones as they have full plates.

 

As far as the running of the home goes we've decluttered as much as is practical I think. Each child, three on up, helps with their own laundry. Simplify meals having a REPEATABLE menu and being simple. Roasts in the crockpot, leftovers for lunch, yogurt and smoothies for breakfast to keep you feeling good and minimize dishes.

 

Don't let the littles out of sight. Whatever peace is gained is lost during clean-up.

 

School simplification really depends on how you run your school. Teaching Textbooks is a time saver for DS, but does not work for DD. Discussion can take the place of checking some papers. (For example we sometimes discuss a book rather than assign a paper because a paper will require editing plus grading and in depth feedback.) If they can be trusted to check some their own work, that will help. Because if dear friend, Tim recently discovered books on tape. This has given me hours of peace. : D

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