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monalua

Advice for juggling multiple kids in elementary?

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Hi everyone. What is your best advice for juggling the teaching of multiple kids of elementary age?

 

This fall I'll be "officially" teaching two kids for the first time - 3rd grader and kindergartener. Plus a toddler. I've been teaching my oldest for the last few years and it's gone great, but I'm nervous about adding a new student.

 

What curriculum do you like to use for teaching multiple grades at the same time?

 

What curriculum has your 3rd grader (age 8) been able to do somewhat independently, if any?

 

When you work with one kid on math, for example, what does your other kid do? How does your schedule work?

 

Thanks in advance for any tips! Uncharted waters for me.

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For teaching multiple children, a unit study like KONOS can be really great. Each child does his own math and English, and y'all do Bible, history, geography, science, arts and crafts, drama, literature--everything else--together.

 

Some people with children your children's ages let one child play with the baby while the work work with the other child individually, and then they swap.

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For multiple kids/levels in elementary, it has worked out really well for us to use one curriculum for history, geography, art, music, and science. We are currently using one Sonlight level for History/Bible/Literature/Geography, and it is appreciated by all my children, but I still throw in some picture books--a couple a week from the library--to enrich the experience of the kids who are still in a concrete thinking stage. The previous poster mentioned KONOS, another is My Father's World. We've also used Wayfarers, by Barefoot Ragamuffin Curricula in the past. There are many more, so it just depends on what kind of a flavor you are after, what you think you can budget for. We've kind of thrown our own science curriculum together based on the boys ever changing interests. I aim to teach science at my higher-level kiddos grade, but it is easy to include my lower-level boys as long as it is hands-on, or concretely presented, with videos (Youtube is so great), picture books, and projects. (That sounds really complicated, but it's actually nothing terribly fancy.) My older child is expected to complete assignments at his level, and the younger-age/stage kiddos do a very basic assignment like narrating back what happened in a history book, going over discussion questions verbally, coloring a picture or map, or making a graph. I think it is enough for the youngest ones to have positive learning experiences, without much expectation for "out-put" at all. The focus is really on the 3R's. 

 

For the subjects that can't be combined (3R's), I first go over lessons with my older more independent student to get him started, and then I sit down to go over the more intensive lessons with my younger (or lower level) people. They each have a Keyboarding program, and other computer programs or apps we have found to be particularly effective in supporting reading or math. I have them pop onto one of those programs during each subject period at different times, so I can juggle people who need my undivided attention. It's never long, but they enjoy it, and it helps them practice their skills. 

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My oldest is not on his own yet.  I have a 3rd grader, 2nd grader, and prek.  But my youngest wants to do lessons too! 

 

While I teach one student, the other two play together.  So, for a toddler, magnatiles worked great in my household. 

 

I do Mystery Science for all three.  Albeit, it's not meaty enough for my oldest, but that's ok.  I want it to be fun at this age. 

 

We also do home art Studio with all three.  So, it was a year behind for my oldest, but right on target with my middle child and a year ahead for my youngest. 

 

I used to play song school spanish and song school latin for all three on the cd player, but then again we got behind.  I'm sure we could still do them as a family.

 

Your middle child being in kindergarten shouldn't take long each day.  So, I wouldn't worry.  I just focused on reading, handwriting, and math as one on one at that age.  The rest can be done as a group. 

 

Hope this helps!

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I make liberal use of the timer for skill areas and switch my two youngers out every 20-30 minutes for math, phonics/spelling, and then I tack 10 minutes of handwriting on to one of the sessions. They're very competitive so I use different curricula for each for math and phonics so there is no comparison. While one is working with me the other is playing, because honestly they are K & 1 and there is zero independent work going on at the moment unless its something like a Kumon maze or coloring sheet. Letting them play alone during the other's lessons accomplishes two things in my mind. It lets them learn to entertain themselves, and it lets them blow off steam and concentrate better when it their turn. For all other subjects I combine them. In your case I'd teach to the 3rd grader for most read alouds, history, or whatever and let the K'er absorb what they could. Give the K child a separate read aloud time if needed or let your 3rd grader read to the Ker and give you a break for 15 minutes at some point. :) 

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