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Tips for teaching multiple kids?

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Starting in January, I'm going to be teaching both of my daughters. They are currently 2 years apart in grade level, so I think that they can cover a lot of material together (science, social studies, French, math enrichment), just requiring my older daughter to go a little deeper. But I think that at least in math fundamentals and LA they will be doing separate programs.


I am curious how others handle working with one child without disrupting the other (or having the other be disrupting). We have a small house with a connected living room and dining room; we usually teach at the dining room table and our computer is in the living room. I am thinking of having one do either reading (assigned or free) and/or homework while I'm working with the other; I could send one upstairs to their room to work so long as they don't need the computer.


But for those who have already done this, what are your tips? Are there particular types of material that you find work best for one to work on individually while you work with the other? How far do you find that you need to separate people physically?

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I have both of my girls sitting at separate desks about 3 feet from each other and I have classical music playing to drown out other noise distractions. It doesn't usually bother the other student when I'm teaching just one of them. If I send one to another room, that student would end up daydreaming and not doing their work, so I keep them together so I can always be in their presence and make sure that they are working and not doodling. Occasionally, if they keep talking to each other every time I turn my back, I will put one student on the other side of the room facing a different direction, but that rarely happens with my kids.


Rod & Staff English and Math Mammoth have minimal teacher involvement. I picked them because they are excellent and because I needed material to be fairly independent with the number and ages of my kids.


In Rod & Staff English, I teach the new concept, go over the directions, and let her do the work. My third grader is very independent in Math Mammoth this year. The concepts are explained so well in the text that she can usually do the math without my help, but I am there when she has a question.

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I taught the neighbor's kid for a year--they are 9 months apart, adjusting for my son's preemie birth. I thought I could combine him and my son in everything but reading and math. Turned out I couldn't. They were just TOO different as learners.

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