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How do you run math with 2 or more kids?


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1 minute ago, Not_a_Number said:

That would be very much worth the break for the rest of you, though... 

I agree, and I am accepting that.

He is currently being evaluated by the public school to see what placement/support they can offer him. Realistically, I think public school would be far worse for him academically, socially and emotionally...and would pose a not insignificant health risk due to his life threatening food allergies. Also, I think putting him in public school will come with many of its own unfamiliar stresses (before, during and after school and on the weekends)...as opposed to the familiar stresses that we are currently under and have somewhat learned to cope with.

OTOH, his being home is so detrimental to the rest of the family that the bar for sending him to school is pretty low...somewhere around "it probably won't be too horrible."

It is all going to hinge on what placement they offer. According to me (and for better or for worse, the decision will ultimately fall on my shoulders), some of the possibilities are "too horrible" and others at least warrant a closer look and a lot more questions to determine how they would meet our needs.

The evaluation stage has moved very quickly, and I hope to hear their decision in the next couple weeks. That should give me a few more weeks before school lets out to gather information and ask questions. I don't need to let them know either way until much closer to the fall, but for my own peace of mind, I want to mentally make a provisional decision sooner rather than later so I can start laying groundwork one way or the other.

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22 minutes ago, wendyroo said:

We start with Singapore Essentials.

Then they start working through Math Mammoth while concurrently working through all the Star Wars math workbooks, all the 70 Must-Know Word Problems Workbooks, some of the Singapore Process Skills workbooks, and a plethora of fun Scholastic and Balance Bender-type activities.

Thanks for this list. I've heard of Singapore and MM in this forum but haven't seen them for myself, and the others are new to me.

Does "working through math mammoth" mean a problem at a time, checking or grading their work as they go, or do you also do a lot of editing and curating?

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2 minutes ago, wendyroo said:

I agree, and I am accepting that.

He is currently being evaluated by the public school to see what placement/support they can offer him. Realistically, I think public school would be far worse for him academically, socially and emotionally...and would pose a not insignificant health risk due to his life threatening food allergies. Also, I think putting him in public school will come with many of its own unfamiliar stresses (before, during and after school and on the weekends)...as opposed to the familiar stresses that we are currently under and have somewhat learned to cope with.

OTOH, his being home is so detrimental to the rest of the family that the bar for sending him to school is pretty low...somewhere around "it probably won't be too horrible."

It is all going to hinge on what placement they offer. According to me (and for better or for worse, the decision will ultimately fall on my shoulders), some of the possibilities are "too horrible" and others at least warrant a closer look and a lot more questions to determine how they would meet our needs.

The evaluation stage has moved very quickly, and I hope to hear their decision in the next couple weeks. That should give me a few more weeks before school lets out to gather information and ask questions. I don't need to let them know either way until much closer to the fall, but for my own peace of mind, I want to mentally make a provisional decision sooner rather than later so I can start laying groundwork one way or the other.

I'm glad this option is at least potentially looking feasible. I hope they come across with a "not too horrible" option. What do you think that would look like? 

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18 minutes ago, UHP said:

Thanks for this list. I've heard of Singapore and MM in this forum but haven't seen them for myself, and the others are new to me.

Does "working through math mammoth" mean a problem at a time, checking or grading their work as they go, or do you also do a lot of editing and curating?

I print out Math Mammoth (I bought the complete pdf curriculum for very cheap money back when my oldest was in kindergarten) and bind chunks of it into booklets. Then I go through and mark what problems I want them to do and where they should stop each day.

How many problems I have them do really depends on the kiddo and the topic. Sometimes they are doing as few as half the problems, other times as many as all of them. On average they do about a third of the review problems (less if they show they don't need it), half of the straight arithmetic problems and all of the word problems.

If they struggle with a topic, then the next day I go through it with them, and they try again by doing the undone half of the problems.

They work almost entirely independently - Math Mammoth is written directly to the student. When they are done they turn it in and I check their work. They correct anything that needs it. If they are really stumped, I offer guidance...and remediate the problem the next day if I think it shows a fundamental lack of understanding rather than a silly mistake. The digital Math Mammoth is nice in that it allows you to print worksheets on any specific topic (and often at several difficulty levels).

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32 minutes ago, Not_a_Number said:

I'm glad this option is at least potentially looking feasible. I hope they come across with a "not too horrible" option. What do you think that would look like? 

Our local public school has an "emotional regulation" room that is geared toward 3rd - 5th graders. Some kids spend all of their time in that room; others are part of a mainstream class and go to the emotional regulation room on a daily or weekly schedule or as needed.

I honestly don't know what would be the best situation for Elliot. Right now he is doing all of his "hard" school work one-on-one with his ABA therapist. "Hard" is relative...the math he is doing is very high level for his age, but not particularly challenging for him, and he only does about 3-5 problems a day which take him 10-15 minutes total. He writes one paragraph a day, and more often than not violently, destructively tantrums either over the initial writing (which eventually he does in less than 10 minutes), or about simple editing and revising (also about a 10 minute task).

I'm not particularly worried about academics for their own sake; he can afford to coast for a year, and emotional health is way more important right now. BUT, what does emotional health look like, and which setting is going to best nurture it? Is it emotionally healthy to prevent tantrums by removing expectations? When he REALLY doesn't want to write a paragraph here, we can ride out the tantrum all day if necessary and never let the tantrum "work" to escape the task. I need to know more about the goals of their emotional regulation program...because I will make major sacrifices for long term emotional regulation that helps him learn to cope with frustration and keeps him alive and out of jail...but I have no interest in sacrificing educational advancement if all it is buying is momentary peace and quiet and "emotional regulation" through getting his way. That would certainly lead to a safer more harmonious classroom, but it would be working against my highest goal of seeing him live to be a self-sustaining adult who is not in my house.

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This year I'm working with 3 and have a baby getting into mischief. Ds9 is independent with about half his subjects (I started really working on independence at the beginning of this year and I feel we're in a good place now). He's instructed to do what he can in one subject and move onto the next if he gets stuck (and NEVER interrupt when I'm working with a different brother). He can do most of his reading, piano, Greek, Latin, writing, and math on his own (I check his work and discuss as needed and sometimes those subjects aren't independent at all if he's learning something new). When he's doing independent things that's when I work with the younger two.

We have other subjects that we treat like you do math: lots of discussion and some independent work. We don't do those subjects at the same time. My kids all work at the same table, but if they are feeling very distracted there are other rooms they can go to.

This is my ideal scenario-ha! Often it's ds9 interrupting me like he's the only child and me having to chase the baby in the middle of a sentence as I explain something and then being distracted and it taking twice as long as it should. SWB's daily routines have been very helpful (and entertaining-I laugh, I cry, I relate) to read.

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We've never used a rigid schedule - sometimes a kid moves very quickly through a subject and other days they get stuck or gets into a groove and want to keep working.  We also sometimes stop if they get frustrated and aren't learning - I'm not going to spend non-productive time on a subject.  When mine were in K-1 I kept more control but still let them pick what they did next.  Once they got to second or third grade they planned their week, determining what they wanted to do each day.  It was fascinating - one of mine would front-load the week and do their hardest stuff and once or twice/week work on Monday and Tuesday and then enjoy a very short Friday.  The other tended to procrastinate more and would always get to Friday with some subject that they didn't want to do.  Both kids were usually able to at least start most work independently and would ask if they needed help, although some subjects were designed to be done together so they could only do them when I was available to talk with them.  

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Interesting. Sounds like "rigid schedules" aren't the norm! 

We've generally had lots of activities out of the house until this year (and I imagine we will again), plus I like getting the schoolwork out of the way so the kids can play, plus we don't really have "the next thing to do" in any subject: I write their math, I read to them in science and history, and I speak Russian with them. So there isn't exactly a task list approach to the issue, at least at the moment. 

It's super interesting how different different homeschools are run 🙂 . 

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When they were younger, the timing of the work wasn't flexible - we started school at 9 and tried to be done with seatwork around lunchtime, or else we ate an early lunch and then finished by 1-2.  But, their planning of their day within that time was flexible.  Now that they are older, their day takes a lot longer.  They still have the same tendencies, though.  One kid tries to stay ahead and manages a very challenging schedule of sports, academic competition, and tough classes.  The other has some extracurriculars that take a good bit of time but still struggles to make themselves do work that they don't want to do.  We should be finishing our school year tomorrow but one is going to need an extra week because they procrastinated on writing 2 papers...which is fine.  I try to give my kids a lot of autonomy in general, not just in play but in decision making.  We sit down a couple of times a year and hash out what works and what doesn't and what we want to continue with, including school stuff and extracurriculars.  Some things are non-negotiable, obviously - we're not going to not learn to write an essay or do arithmetic - but if they hate a particular approach to a subject, I'm happy to find something that is a better fit.  At different times we've chosen more and less interactive and more and less independent.  My older is seriously contemplating dropping one team sport and maybe just playing it in a rec league for exercise due to time constraints.  After tomorrow's AP exam, and probably again after scores come in, we'll talk about what kid might want to do as AP next year, if anything.  They help decide whether to do a class at home, online, or at co-op.  I actually enjoy watching them take more ownership of things as they get older and am glad that I get to talk with them about how they will accomplish the goals that they set for themselves (and give them reality checks when they need them!).  

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2 minutes ago, Clemsondana said:

I try to give my kids a lot of autonomy in general, not just in play but in decision making.  We sit down a couple of times a year and hash out what works and what doesn't and what we want to continue with, including school stuff and extracurriculars. 

My kids probably have more autonomy in the precise things they study than most kids. However, we do have a fixed schedule. 

 

6 minutes ago, Clemsondana said:

Some things are non-negotiable, obviously - we're not going to not learn to write an essay or do arithmetic - but if they hate a particular approach to a subject,

I've taken a pretty loose approach to what it means to learn to write an essay or do arithmetic -- hence the autonomy 😉 . 

I'm curious: what's the advantage of not having a fixed schedule for you? I find that for us, having things scheduled out makes things more predictable, which the kids like. And it makes it easier to plan around things. 

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33 minutes ago, Not_a_Number said:

Interesting. Sounds like "rigid schedules" aren't the norm! 

We've generally had lots of activities out of the house until this year (and I imagine we will again), plus I like getting the schoolwork out of the way so the kids can play, plus we don't really have "the next thing to do" in any subject: I write their math, I read to them in science and history, and I speak Russian with them. So there isn't exactly a task list approach to the issue, at least at the moment. 

It's super interesting how different different homeschools are run 🙂 . 


I think there's a difference in definition here.

Many of us have a somewhat fixed schedule of start/stop times for school.  It has all the benefits you talk about. By 2pm, I'm done.  I need a break.  DS usually stops at this time and then begins his activity schedule at 4:30 (music, sports, book clubs).

We don't usually have fixed times for subjects.  It's a more fluid start/stop, mostly to allow for engagement with the topic to run later, or cut out earlier if the topic is particularly difficult and needs time to digest. We begin doing more independent work around age 9, just a little, where it's not so parent directed.  By 11, the kid has more leeway in when independent work is done.  This year, I have my own school work to tackle plus a few I tutor right now.  Being able to have ds work side by side with me while I get other things done is a huge benefit over having him wait until I can engage him again with a more intensive lesson.

 

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2 minutes ago, HomeAgain said:

We don't usually have fixed times for subjects.  It's a more fluid start/stop, mostly to allow for engagement with the topic to run later, or cut out earlier if the topic is particularly difficult and needs time to digest.

Yeah, we don't do that so much. We actually used to have a looser schedule, where we just had an order of subjects, but then sometimes things really dragged on when we did that. 

Come to think of it, we moved to a more rigid schedule this year because I had a tendency to let things like math run too long, hmm. But we've never actually tried having a list of tasks that needs to be completed. I suppose that's also because some of the tasks are hard and therefore for me, having some control about what order they happen in is very helpful -- I need my breaks. 

When DD8 has some work she put off into the afternoon, she has autonomy about what order to do it in. But if a day goes well, the work doesn't get pushed off... 

We also simply don't do that many subjects non-interactively. Just about the only things that'd be amenable to a check list are math and the occasional Russian handwriting. Or a question that gets put down in writing because she gets stuck when we're talking about it. But it's really not like we're going through a bunch of curricula where there's a "next thing to do" most of the time. 

The kids also do a few things together, so I wonder what would happen if I tried to have them decide the order of things. I feel like they'd have trouble agreeing 😄 . ("Russian cartoons first!" "No, math first, Russian cartoons later!") 

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I would struggle to have both kids on the same schedule, and they move through their work at unpredictable rates.  One day math might take 20 minutes and the next day it might take an hour.  One day kid might think a subject is fun and want to do more of it, so we do 'double science' on Monday and then do 'double literature' on Tuesday.  That wasn't typical, but sometimes that's what they wanted to do.  We had times when they would read a week's worth of history while driving on a road trip.  One worked to finish some subjects completely before the Science Olympiad practice season kicked in.  For some subjects, they like being able to be done with it once we've accomplished what we set out to do - finish the book, research enough to write the paper, etc - and for most subjects we determine 'done' by meeting goals rather than time on task (except for some high school credits where time is the only way to measure credits).  We would find it difficult to follow the same schedule every day - over the years, speech therapy, violin lessons, Science Olympiad practice, and karate have all happened during the day.  So, they sometimes arranged a day's work by what was easiest to do at home, what was easy to pack, and what they could do in the car (mostly reading).  Older specifically saves discussion work for us to do in the car while we wait at younger's lessons because it will be quiet.  Math is done at home because kid likes to spread out.  So, some days math happens early and other days it's in the afternoon, depending on when we are at home.  Until we got to high school and the workload exploded, we still got everything done between 9 and 3 most days.  I didn't make a daily checklist, but once they planned their general weekly schedule at the start of each semester, they were basically following a subject checklist that that they had created themselves.  This is the first year that we haven't done that - with middle and high schoolers, they mostly know what a reasonable amount of work each day is, and I'm around to work with them, or answer questions, or teach, or remind them to 'get to work' , whatever is needed.  

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1 minute ago, Clemsondana said:

or some subjects, they like being able to be done with it once we've accomplished what we set out to do - finish the book, research enough to write the paper, etc - and for most subjects we determine 'done' by meeting goals rather than time on task (except for some high school credits where time is the only way to measure credits). 

Interesting. So far, I haven't had very well-defined goals most of the time. We have goals occasionally, but mostly we want to work together, make connections, and discuss. 

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One of my goals in elementary is broad exposure to subject matter...which meant that there were times that we were learning about something that none of us found particularly interesting.  It helped to have an endpoint - this stack of kids books, this chapter in a book, understanding this concept, being able to use this skill, watching this video series, etc.  We could always spend more time on things that we enjoyed, but, left to our own devices, older would have learned nothing about music and younger would have skipped all of history.  With exposure, older developed some music appreciation in elementary and has actually enjoyed the music theory/appreciation class that they are taking for a fine arts credit.  There are lots of ways to do content subjects, obviously - some prefer to dig into what the kids like.  Based on my own history, I want to expose the kids to academic subjects and also extracurriculars to see if something unexpected clicks - we've been surprised a few times.  

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Posted (edited)
15 minutes ago, Clemsondana said:

One of my goals in elementary is broad exposure to subject matter...which meant that there were times that we were learning about something that none of us found particularly interesting.

Yes, I remember you mentioning that 🙂 . I suppose I have that goal somewhat, but I’m more interested in increasing interest in subjects as opposed to learning specific facts. So I’ve been OK being quite unschooly for content — we read and discuss things we’re enjoying, but I’m not that bothered about exactly what we’re learning as long as we’re learning something.

I do want broader exposure for the kids than I have myself. But I also tend to think that there are certain preliminaries to actually retaining things... so we’re trying to work on that. 

I’m curious how it’ll all work out 🙂. Unlike with math, I don’t feel confident that everything will work, although we’ve had good results so far. That being said, there are definitely things the kids don’t know that perhaps they ought... my expectation is that it’ll even out in the end, but we’ll see.

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11 hours ago, Not_a_Number said:

I feel like if this happened to DD8, she would just rush through the work and do a bad job, and telling her that she did a bad job and to redo it would set off a hideous power struggle. (In fact, things like this have happened before...) So I'd worry that letting her manage her own time would result in her academics being done less well. 

 

17 minutes ago, Not_a_Number said:

The kids also do a few things together, so I wonder what would happen if I tried to have them decide the order of things. I feel like they'd have trouble agreeing 😄 . ("Russian cartoons first!" "No, math first, Russian cartoons later!") 

In both of these cases, with my particular kids, I would prioritize the social-emotional learning over the academics.

When Spencer finds himself unhappily working into the afternoon due to his own immature choices, then of course he tries to rush. And I make him redo unacceptable work. And he gets very upset and cries and ultimately probably does learn less academically than if he had done the work in the morning. But, for him, occasionally experiencing that natural consequence is much more important than any one day's academics. He needs to feel that upset - I would actually be worried if he procrastinated and then did not feel some frustration and disappointment as a result - because that memory is what is going to help him make different choices in the future.

(Though, to be honest, I think the rushing-redo-upset cycle is less of a concern here than at your house, simply because my kids will ALWAYS try to rush through and/or avoid everything they do. There is no magic time of day during which they are self-motivated workers - substandard work is common, power struggles are common, obfuscation is common - so afternoon work is hard, but not significantly harder than mornings.)

And with my kids, the discussion about math or cartoons would be more important to me than the math or cartoons. Disagreeing calmly, discussing, compromising and conceding are all skills they need to work on. Obviously, having to spend lots of time on it every day would be draining, but over the years my kids really have gotten better at it...which is obviously the goal. Some days people wake up on the wrong side of the bed and have a harder time agreeing (and those are obviously the days it is most important to practice their compromise and self-regulation skills), but most of common, everyday scheduling compromises happen pretty easily now.

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Well I have 2 school kids and a 5 & 3 year old not in school.  My 5 year old used to be a HUGE distraction when she was younger, but she's getting better and the 3 year old is a pretty mellow kid.  My family all has the same bedtime, so this often means my school boys are up before the little girls.  If the boys are up early, we do what we can to get our hard subjects like Math and Grammar and writing done while the girls are still in bed.  Sometimes this doesn't happen.  If not, I give the girls a chance to play, but I often just let them watch videos.  It's not ideal, but it saves my sanity.  It's not like they watch all day, so I'm ok with it. Videos happen once or twice per week, usually they can stay busy and not bother our main lessons.  There is no struggle to bounce between the boys.  Usually I'll present the 4th grader's lesson and then he starts to do his work pages and then I'll present the 2nd grader's lesson and then he will do his work pages.  Then I just sit with them both until they are done.  The boys aren't bothered by each other at all.  They are great at working with distractions, I'm the one that struggles.  

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1 hour ago, wendyroo said:

In both of these cases, with my particular kids, I would prioritize the social-emotional learning over the academics.

When Spencer finds himself unhappily working into the afternoon due to his own immature choices, then of course he tries to rush. And I make him redo unacceptable work. And he gets very upset and cries and ultimately probably does learn less academically than if he had done the work in the morning. But, for him, occasionally experiencing that natural consequence is much more important than any one day's academics. He needs to feel that upset - I would actually be worried if he procrastinated and then did not feel some frustration and disappointment as a result - because that memory is what is going to help him make different choices in the future.

(Though, to be honest, I think the rushing-redo-upset cycle is less of a concern here than at your house, simply because my kids will ALWAYS try to rush through and/or avoid everything they do. There is no magic time of day during which they are self-motivated workers - substandard work is common, power struggles are common, obfuscation is common - so afternoon work is hard, but not significantly harder than mornings.)

And with my kids, the discussion about math or cartoons would be more important to me than the math or cartoons. Disagreeing calmly, discussing, compromising and conceding are all skills they need to work on. Obviously, having to spend lots of time on it every day would be draining, but over the years my kids really have gotten better at it...which is obviously the goal. Some days people wake up on the wrong side of the bed and have a harder time agreeing (and those are obviously the days it is most important to practice their compromise and self-regulation skills), but most of common, everyday scheduling compromises happen pretty easily now.

Yeah, I think this comes down to the fact that we have different kids and different focuses. My kids are both basically OK socially (DD5 is actively good at it and DD8 is just fine), and we do work on negotiation and social-emotional learning with them, but it's usually in the context of playtime and not of structured academics. 

They are also both engaged kids who LIKE their academics, so they are self-motivated for most of the day. I generally don't push things they aren't relatively self-motivated for -- like, both my kids like math and learning to handwrite, and they both like their Russian cartoons and all of us reading history or science together. DD5 has been a bit reluctant about Russian conversation, so I've been working on that slowly -- I really try to make sure we don't get into resistance loops around here, because it IS possible with my kids, and resistance behavior really lowers how well they work. 

I asked DD8 whether she'd like a chance to manage her time more, and she did sound enthused about that, so I'm going to think about whether there's a way to incorporate more of that at some point. She has generically enjoyed things we do together a LOT more than things she does on her own, which means her schedule is almost all things we do together... which doesn't seem nearly as amenable to her figuring out the order of things herself. But I'm going to have to keep the fact that she has this goal in mind. 

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On 5/5/2021 at 7:16 AM, Not_a_Number said:

When do they start doing this? 

From talking with other parents I've gotten the impression that 10-14 is typical. For another set of data points, my oldest started working semi-independently (just needed supervision but not much interaction unless he got stuck) at 11 and was fully independent and reliably did assignments without reminders beyond a daily check list at 12. Second kid is 11.5 now and *just* in the last couple of months hit semi-independence, working independently as long as I'm nearby making sure he isn't goofing off on his computer (he's doing an AoPS class). Kid #3 was semi-independent at 7-8, but has recently regressed without ADHD meds and now at 9 isn't doing much of anything without *constant* redirection. He'll literally be mid-sentence explaining his reasoning on a problem and just stop and stare off into space or switch to talking about antimatter or Minecraft the fact that zippers are actually just tiny wedges and examples of simple machines. Its feeling like independence is a very long way out.

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Once upon a time I had just a 5yo and an 8yo homeschooling. We did literature and social studies together, but I worked with them each separately for all the other subjects, alternating between them. The one I wasn't working with would play independently or participate in whatever therapy they were at (we did a ton of waiting-room-schooling). We use curricula, though, so things were maybe easier for me? At the time DS#1 was doing Beast Academy 5 and DS#3 was doing Right Start C/D. Each kid got the individual attention they needed.

Now with four homeschooling there's no way I could do almost all the subjects with each individually. But basically, while I work with one on a subject that they need one-on-one attention for, the others either work independently or play. Right now I have two that need my undivided or nearly undivided attention and two that can do most things independently, just needing me to grade, give feedback and dictations, that kind of thing. It works out.

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You get more adept at switching back and forth between kids and subjects/levels with practice.  I had 7 and then 6 students for much of this year, so lots of practice with this.

My oldest(6th) can work independently, so she might be doing math upstairs and only occasionally coming down with a question.  The rest I keep all in the same room for school.  My kids all have checklists of what they need to get done each day, and choose what order to do them in, so they are not all doing the same subject and requiring my attention at the same time.  If they need my help with something, they know they need to wait until I'm available, and do something short and independent if they can in the meantime.  Math generally takes my full attention while I am getting them started, then most of them could work semi-independently with intermittent help on the questions.  Usually mr. 3rd (who is gifted at math) is too impatient to wait for me, and will just read the guide and get going on his math on his own first thing in the morning.  Miss 3rd had the hardest time with math, so I would have her do hers last, when my attention did not need to be as divided.

I might start miss 4th on math while the others were doing things like handwriting, xtramath, duolinguo, or music practice, then get mr. 1st started on math next, cycle back to help miss 4th along, check on mr. 1st's progress, then get miss 5th started on math as mr. 3rd is finishing.  I might be kept busy rotating between mr. 1st, miss 4th, and miss 5th, then as mr. 1st finishes his math, pull him and miss 3rd aside for a grammar lesson, pausing once in the middle to answer someone's math question.  Next I'd get miss 3rd started on her math, then help miss 4th with her last, hardest problems, check on miss 5th, help miss 3rd again, and as miss 5th finishes math pull her, miss 4th, and mr. 3rd aside for a writing lesson, pausing in the middle to help miss 3rd again.  Then I'm getting mr. 1st's phonics done and back to help miss 3rd's math again, and checking over everyone's daily checklists and work and either sending them off to play or circling things they need to fix first, and helping miss 3rd through the end of her math, and finishing up going over miss 6th's work with her

At least, that was about what it was like when things were working.

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On 5/5/2021 at 10:19 AM, Not_a_Number said:

This is making me wonder... do your kids have lots of independent subjects? Because I basically don't assign truly independent subjects to my kids yet. I guess I've always believed that working with kids is how you make sure they are engaged in sense-making and not in doing rote work, so everything I don't do with them is totally unschooled. They are both big readers and have lots of good ideas, so I'm pretty sure they learn a lot when I'm not there, too... but I don't really concern myself with WHAT it is they are learning then!! 

My kids' entirely independent subjects are math facts practice with xtramath, handwriting (once they are forming their letters well, not for my 1st grader yet), duolinguo practice for their foreign languages, and music practice (but not for my little guy).  Also, spelling is independent for some of them except on spelling quiz days.  But their grammar practice sentences and their math are semi-independent, as they attempt the grammar sentences and then I go over them with them, and with math I introduce the lesson and then they work on the problems without me until they need help.  Their foreign language is entirely independent except for me making sure they are set up properly on the computer, because they do those with online tutors.  My oldest is mostly independent on everything; I had to outsource her English, History, and Math to keep up with everything, and she has really gotten good about staying on top of her work during the course of this year, so she just comes to me when she has a problem and I make sure I check her assignments for her online classes each week.  Science and History (except for oldest) are not a part of our morning school routine; they are afternoon subjects done as a whole group together.  Subjects requiring my full attention for instruction during our morning school time are writing/grammar, the initial part of each math lesson, my youngest's phonics, and miss 4th's spelling (she's dyslexic).

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Different years different set ups.  This year my two homeschoolers are ten years apart, so I do math completely separately.  Most of their school is completely separate.  I do school with the lo in the mornings on the days that the older one is at work and work the older one on what she needs me for when she gets home.  On days she is home all year it depends.  For much of this year the older one needed me one on one for math, and she will for at the least the first of next year.  THen she gets to a point, where she can carry on the lessons because they build on earlier lessons and can go most of the week without me, maybe needing me for an introductory lesson on a new topic only.  So in those cases, the little one usually just has free time while I do math with older one.  My little one does sit in for listening to older's other subjects with me though. She likes listening to her mythology Great Courses videos, listening to us read together, and practice Spanish.  

When I had two closer in age but still at different levels in math, sometimes I did all at the same time on the same subject, and other times, probably more often I had a schedule set up so that one could be doing something independently while I worked one on one with the other on math and then switched throughout the day. 

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Posted (edited)

I have twins who are both able to handle grade level material, so I teach them together....but that is easy, of course, because they are doing the same math assignment / concept. I do split them up after lesson to do independent problems because my daughter wants absolute silence and my son taps constantly (foot, pencil, whatever, he has to move). My twins also have a checklist for the week, and they do some math independently if they already were taught the concept and are just practicing. They usually do that in their rooms alone. They started using a checklist in 2nd grade.

This year I added the 6 year old for kindergarten, but he does all his school in a morning block of time before his siblings get up. He is easily distracted so I don't think I could have him in the room with the twins for lessons. Eventually, I'll have my 3 year old along too. I intend to keep all the kids schooling essentially in different time blocks for math so I can give each child individual attention.

Edited by keirin
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  • 3 weeks later...

Update on what we are doing, if anyone is curious:

I split them up for the first week, then they clamored to work at the same table. We tried that for 2 weeks, then they all said it was far too loud (I spend a long time talking them through being confused, after all!) and decided to work in separate rooms again 😂. So that’s what we’ll be doing for the foreseeable future.

We’ll hopefully be moving into an apartment where they can finally each have a bedroom, so I’ll have to make sure they each have a workspace in their rooms.

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