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How I Homeschool with Seven Children

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I am a Christian. I was an 8th-grade American History teacher. I am currently a freelance writer, public speaker, & homeschooling mom of 9.

my-homeschool-schedule

Have you wondered what homeschooling looks like when you are teaching multiple ages? I have been asked a number of times what our homeschool day looks like, so we finally created videos showing what a typical day looks like for us this year. I have seven children, ages 13 and under. I not only try to show our daily routine, but I also focus heavily on what I do with all my little ones since I currently have 3 children who are ages 3 and under. We are excited that you will be joining us today!

My seven blessings

My seven blessings

Introduction

I tried to keep these videos "real," showing that my children and I are always works in progress. (Confession: I did clean our house before filming, and I did edit out the times someone started crying -- just because you can't hear over it. Everything else is "real.") This is the first time I have filmed something like this, so it is far from ideal. Hopefully it will still be helpful, though.

I do want to first emphasize that what homeschooling looks like for us changes every year as interests, academic needs, and family dynamics change. What I am currently doing in our family is not what it looked like years ago when all of my children were younger. I now have older children who have more seatwork, so my preschoolers do likewise to some degree. When I just had younger ones, we spent little time at the table and lots of time playing and reading. I describe in detail what a typical day looked like when I first started out with a 4 year old and a baby at Homeschooling Preschool and Kindergarten. I describe in general what homeschooling looked like at Homeschool Kindergarten Essentials.

Some of the books we use during the Language Hour

Some of the books we use during the Language Hour

What curricula do I use?

This year we are mainly using A Beka, Classical Conversations, and Konos. I love A Beka because I can use it easily with many children (as it encourages children to be independent in their work) and it is academically challenging. We do not hold fast to the grade levels. My children start with the workbooks for grade 1 and move on to the next grade level once they finish. (I always skip the Kindergarten books and start with Grade 1 since the beginning of the grade 1 books review the concepts learned in the Kindergarten books.)

I introduce math concepts using the game Sum Swamp, and then my child begins using A Beka Grade 1 Arithmetic. We use A Beka for math for all grade levels. I use A Beka Language for all grade levels for Language Arts/Grammar (starting with Language 1), and I use A Beka for handwriting through grade 5. For phonics/reading, I start with Teach Your Child to Read in 100 Easy Lessons, move on to the Kindergarten Enrichment Readers, and then use readers, regular books, and chapter books (usually related to our unit studies) after that. I start using IEW History Based Writing for composition/writing when my child is 7 or 8. We use Classical Conversations and Konos Unit Studies for other subjects.

Starting Our Homeschool Day with PE, History, and the Bible

Three days a week we usually start our day with PE. I work out with friends at the park while our children play on the playground. (The other days we do a co-op/Classical Conversations and MOPS or library story time.) Then we come home, and my children have a snack while I change. After that, we read a Bible story. Up until this year I read the story to my children, but now two of my children take turns reading the story. I then ask them a few questions about the story.

Oops! I forgot to mention in the video that on the way to and from the park we listen to Story of the World audio CD's in my vehicle. We listen to the chapters that correlate to what we are learning in Classical Conversations. After each chapter is finished, I verbally ask basic comprehension questions from each of my children. (We also sometimes listen to Jonathan Park Audio Adventure CD's and Your Story Hour CD's.)

Homeschooling Math

For our math hour, I set the timer for 60 minutes. Everyone sits around the table and works on their A Beka math workbooks. My older children fix the problems they got wrong yesterday and complete the next page (front and back) in their workbooks. I work with my preschoolers and then let them play in the living room. I then work with my 5 year old until she finishes her work. After that my older children can ask me questions if they have any. If no one has questions, I grade their language work they did yesterday. Math does not usually take 60 minutes to complete! Whenever they finish, they have free time until the language hour starts.

When the math hour starts, I first focus on my preschoolers. We are working through a preschool workbook that goes through colors, shapes, letters, and numbers (and incorporates Spanish). They each get stickers after we finish the lesson.

Preschool Time of Sitting Still and Playing

While the older children work on their A Beka math workbooks in the next room, I practice sitting still with my youngest ones. We sit on kitchen towels for 1 minute. This is simply to practice waiting quietly and patiently. After that minute, I praise each child and give them a high-five. Then I pull out a container of toys for the younger children to play with in that room while I work with my older children.

I vary the container of toys each day. The options include wooden blocks, a Mr. Potato Head set, Hot Wheels cars, toy animals, Thomas the Train set, Lincoln Logs, beading and stringing toys set, and Legos. If they fight over a toy, I remove it. If they continue to fight, they have to each play in a separate space. Usually my 5 year old will join them after she finishes, so this keeps them engaged longer.

Before I had two preschoolers to keep each other entertained and was needing to spend more time with my emerging kindergartner, I had a different schedule for my toddler. I divided his time into various 15 minute segments. I described what I did at What to Do with Toddlers and Babies While Homeschooling Older Children: Taming Toddler Tornadoes.

Language Hour

After the 1 hour math period and 10 minutes of free time, we have one hour of language. That includes A Beka Language, A Beka Handwriting, and Spelling (A Beka Spelling 1 and 2 and then Grammar of Spelling after that). My oldest ones also do writing assignments using IEW History Based Writing Lessons. Currently everyone can do their handwriting and spelling assignments with very little assistance, so they usually start with those.

My preschoolers do a simple coloring page and a dot-to-dot number page and then return to play with toys in the next room or they can flip through a basket of picture books.

I help my 5 year old with her language arts worksheet. When she is finished, I help my older children with their work if they need it. If no one needs help, I grade the math workbooks. After the hour is up, everyone has 10 minutes of free time while I make lunch.

Here is a glimpse of what the language hour looks like and how I use the "Question Seat." After I get my preschoolers started, I help my 5 year old with her language arts worksheet. After she has completed her language arts, handwriting, and spelling worksheets (or when she gets to a place that I know she can do without further assistance from me), I allow for my older children to ask me questions.

If my older children need assistance with their work, they sit in the "Question Seat" next to me. This allows for it to be obvious who should be receiving my attention, and it allows for me to see their page. After I help the child, they return to their seat.

Reading Time and Nap Time

After our 30 minute lunch period, I set the timer for 40 minutes. My oldest ones read their assigned books (which relate to our current unit study). After they finish their chapters, they each tell me a few sentences about what the chapter was about, and then they have free time.

Meanwhile, I take my youngest four into our bedroom and read board books to them. Everyone gets to pick a boardbook. I put my youngest two down for a nap while my 5 year old daughter reads her reader to my 3 year old. I listen in as well (and assist) as soon as I return from putting my youngest two down for naps.

Reading Half Hour Continued

After I put my youngest two down for a nap, I join my 3 and 5 year old and listen to my 5 year old read from her reader. She is currently reading through the Dan Frontier series. She then has free time. I then spend time with my 3 year old.

Teaching Preschool Math and Phonics

After my 5 year old has finished her reading assignment, I focus on my 3 year old. We go through alphabet cards. Then we play Sum Swamp to teach math concepts. We complete a lesson from Teach Your Child to Read in 100 Easy Lessons. Afterward, my son gets a chocolate chip for finishing his reading lesson. I do usually pair early phonics time with a treat because it helps my children to look forward to reading, and it provides a motivation for them to finish the lesson in a timely manner.

Memory Period and Cleaning Period

We spend an hour on memory work and chores. We spend 15-20 minutes reviewing our Classical Conversations (CC) grammar for the week.

Before I was doing CC, we spent this time reading picture books related to our Konos unit study.

We spend 20 minutes cleaning. Each child has a "zone" to clean each day of the week. I described what each child does toward the bottom of the article How to Homeschool Multiple Ages.

Then we spend about 15 minutes doing our weekly AWANA work.

What CC Review Looks Like for Us

Unit Study Reading and Activities

We end the homechool day with about 30-45 minutes spent on our weekly unit study. We are currently basing our unit studies on the weekly Classical Conversations science sentences. Before we did CC, we would spend this time (30 minutes) reading picture books related to our Konos unit study, and we would meet with a co-op each week to do 2 1/2 hours of fun hands-on activities. Now that CC has replaced our Konos co-op, we are doing less reading together and instead adding in activities each day that relate to what we are studying. I posted links to each of my unit study lessons at Fun, Free Hands-on Unit Studies. Included in each lesson plan are the activities we did, picture books and chapter books that we read, and YouTube video clips we watched. I also included free lapbook pages in most lessons, though we rarely create lapbooks.

Dinner, Diversions, and Devotions

After that it is usually time for dinner, free time, sports lessons, and family devotions. After putting everyone to bed, I get to write my posts like these. Thank you for joining us today! Please do let me know that you came by in the comment section below. I really do love hearing from you!

What to Do with Toddlers and Babies While Homeschooling Older Children: Taming Toddler Tornadoes

What to Do with Toddlers and Babies While Homeschooling Older Children: Taming Toddler Tornadoes

my-homeschool-schedule

I have posted over 35 hands-on unit studies that focus primarily on science and social studies. In each lesson plan I have listed the activities that we did (and included photos), the books we read, YouTube video clips that we watched, and lapbook links that pair with the lesson. I posted links to all of my unit studies and lessons at Fun, FREE Hands-On Unit Studies.

  • Homeschooling Preschool and Kindergarten - On this page I have laid out what I do to homeschool my children when they are ages 3-5 and have also included my favorite resources for preschool and kindergarten learning. This is a detailed list of what I do from one activity to the next.

© 2015 Shannon

Questions? Comments? Please post them here. Please let me know you dropped by as I do love hearing from you!

Shannon (author) from Florida on January 06, 2019:

Thank you! I'm so happy my lessons have been helpful to you! We started CC to be with friends, though we continued to use Konos while doing CC. We are taking a break from CC right now though.

K. Brewer on January 05, 2019:

I have just started using KONOS this year and really love it. I even found your co-op lesson plans for a co-op that two other homeschooling moms and I started through searching for KONOS lesson plans online. Your lesson plans are perfect for our co-op and feel they are a blessing to us. I am just curious as to why you stopped using KONOS and started going to CC?

Joseph Elias on March 10, 2018:

Hi, I had some specific questions as me and 2 others want to home school a group of 15 or so kids starting in September because we are not happy with the curriculum that Ontario is carrying out on many levels. Please email me at josephelias0914@gmail.com so I can ask you more direct questions about how you started up and other things as well. I appreciate this blog, God bless you.

Shannon (author) from Florida on August 24, 2017:

Thank you! I'm so happy you've found my posts to be helpful!

Candace on August 23, 2017:

I used your CC Abecidarian lesson plans from CCC last year. They were amazing and super helpful. I just found your blog through FB. Thank you for the encouragement, the resources and the reality check. I also use ABEKA and CC in our multi age, multi- grade home.

Shannon (author) from Florida on January 26, 2017:

I'm so glad you've found this to be helpful!

Julie Kreke on January 25, 2017:

I homeschool my six kids and I'm always looking for wisdom from large family moms. Thank you for this thorough blog post! It was really helpful to me

Shannon (author) from Florida on December 19, 2015:

Thank you so much!

Audrey Selig from Oklahoma City, Oklahoma on December 19, 2015:

Congratulations on your success with homeschooling all your children and achievement of good grades. You are amazing and should be very proud. Blessings, Audrey

Shannon (author) from Florida on December 18, 2015:

Thank you so much! I can easily monitor and evaluate my children's progress through their daily work, so I do not have them frequently take tests. I only test my children on spelling. The few times that my children have taken standardized tests, they have done quite well.

Audrey Selig from Oklahoma City, Oklahoma on December 18, 2015:

I am amazed that you have the energy to homeschool and organize all these lessons. You are a good parent, and I would be interested in how the children perform on their tests. Your children apparently adapted well to your program. Congrats and sharing. Blessings, Audrey

Shannon (author) from Florida on December 10, 2015:

I am able to fit what we do into our day because I am very deliberate about our schedule -- not so much about dividing up my day into 15 minute increments, but about having a routine in place. My children learn the routine and know what is expected of them. Also keep in mind that each of our time segments includes free time for playing whenever they finish. They are not (usually) doing math for a solid hour.

Shannon (author) from Florida on December 08, 2015:

Thank you!

Bethany on December 08, 2015:

Wow, Shannon, it looks like you have a great system in place! I'm impressed you can squeeze ALL of that into your day! Thanks for taking the time and energy to share your great ideas!

Shannon (author) from Florida on December 07, 2015:

Thank you so much!

Helga Silva from USA on December 07, 2015:

You are an amazing mom!

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