One of the neatest trends I see in the homeschooling community is that majority of us are homeschooling multiples. Whether the kiddos are close in age are spread far apart, figuring out how to homeschool effectively can be overwhelming.
I totally get it. I started this homeschooling journey with only one kiddo in tow. Fast forward five years and now we have four! On top of that, the youngest three were all born within 18-20 months of each other. Can we say Irish triplets?!
About a year or so ago I decided to trade in chaos for calmness, especially because we were expecting another blessing. I wanted to have a grip on this homeschooling multiples thing without losing my mind. What I want to share with you today are three genius ideas for homeschooling multiples!
You’ve probably heard this called several things, from together time to circle time and everything in between. Basically, you spend a chunk of your homeschooling time with all of your kiddos together. Don’t panic! I promise it’s super easy no matter how old your kiddos are.
I personally have a couple sessions of together time. We all come together to kick off our day with prayer, Scripture reading, and a short devotional. I also take the opportunity to read a book that helps with learning about character traits, and we go over our Hebrew letters, numbers, shapes, and vocabulary word flashcards.
After this, I typically split the kiddos up to work on individual activities (more about how I do that later). After a round of that, I will bring them all back together for a Netflix show, YouTube video, and/or a book (or two) pertaining to whatever unit study topic we are currently learning about. This is also prime to do some sort of hands-on activity, experiment, art and/or craft.
Together time can be used for whatever you want, but the whole idea is to take the stress off of you trying to keep the kiddos separate according to age and grade level. You’d be surprised of how much the kiddos enjoy being together, learning the same things. Not to mention, there are tons of free resources to help you study the same topic/subject but also meet the individual learning levels!
I mentioned a little earlier about breaking from together time to allow the kiddos some individual and personal learning time. The next two tips are what I use to keep the other kiddos occupied while I work with each one individually.
My Time Baskets
If you haven’t picked up on it from reading previous posts and watching my videos, then let me tell you how much I love homeschooling on a dime. I have yet to spend over $100 in a given homeschool year on curricula, supplements, and resources (not including supplies like printer ink, laminating sheets, etc.). It can be done!
I’m telling you this because making my time baskets for your kiddos takes less than $10! Everything I’m about to list for you came from the Dollar Tree:
- 4-pack of small white baskets (with handles)
- 6-pack of mini plastic bowls
- manipulatives (pom balls, buttons, popsicle sticks, etc.)
- sand timer
I also include a small book in each basket. For the older kiddo, I also include a math manipulative like this learning wrap-up from Usborne Books. The idea is to give each child a few activities that vary across several learning domains, not nothing overwhelming or new. In my homeschooling multiples video series, I showed what I put in each of my kiddos’ my time baskets.
Consider your child’s attention span as well as things they like and go at it! Here’s a little disclaimer, don’t think it’s not working if your child doesn’t show much interest in their my time basket. Keep at it and they’ll get used to it. Also, it’s okay if they only spend five minutes with it. This where the next tip comes in…
My Time Binders
My time binders work similar to the my time baskets. Each child has their own binder with [reusable] activities in them. These are easy to make and work wonders even beyond using them for homeschooling. I give you a sneak peek of my kiddo’s my time binders in this video.
Here are some suggestions for my time binders:
- doodle pages
- trace and/or writing practice
- foreign language practice
- journal pages
My time binders come in handy when your kiddos is over the my time basket (or vice versa). The same concept applies by keeping the pages/activities few and familiar. It is best to keep it narrowed down to things your child has already mastered and have taken a liking to. Save the concepts that are currently being taught or that need extra practice for the one-on-one times.
Extra tips for incorporating the itty-bitties…
At the time of writing this I have a seven month old, which is the age between super dependent and let me explore. I can’t expect my seven month old son to sit quietly while doing together time, let alone individual time. So, here are some activities I give the youngest of the bunch to help aid his exploration:
- Sensory bottles. I only give him one at a time but I made several different kind to spark his senses (water, rice, beans, etc.). Check out my video showing how easy it is to make 5 sensory bottles ALL the kids will love.
- Textured manipulatives. These are sponges, wash clothes, crunchy paper inside a smooth fabric, and so on.
- Books. Although he’s nowhere near reading (that I know of, LOL), he is still getting visual stimulation with books like these.
If you’re wondering how I keep him from crawling all over the place and attempting to snag whatever his brothers and sister are working on, I use the high chair, a laundry basket (yes, they work!), and/or the pack and play.
How easy is that?
Super easy, right?! As with introducing anything, don’t get discouraged if it doesn’t seem to be working right off the bat. Give your new routine/schedule some time. It will take some getting used to but with consistency, everyone will be on board. Ways to help introduce the tips I mentioned are:
- Explain to your children that you are going to start together time (or whatever you want to call it). Tell them what this time will consist of and how it will work.
- Sit your children down and show them their baskets and binders. Label them so they can clearly see which one is theirs. I personally chose to not give my children the liberty to grab their binders and baskets at their convenience. Rather, I pass them out when I want them to have them. Whatever you choose is up to you.
- Reassure your children through the process. Commend them on how well they are doing during each phase. And most of all, be consistent!
Before you go, I have a freebie for you!
As part of the Back to Homeschool Helpers Roundup, I have a free resource to help you plan together time as well as some activity printables to put in your my time binders. And that’s not all, I also included an idea page filled with ideas for together time, my time baskets, and my time binders. Enjoy!
Snag your freebie below, and scroll down some more for another freebie…
Now that you’ve gotten some genius tips and resources for homeschooling multiples, head on over to Minnesota Country Girl’s blog to learn the importance of establishing an effective reading foundation. I hear she’s giving away a 16-page reading portfolio pack!!