You can come and check out my article on how we homeschool multiple children over at Hip Homeschool Moms today. Since my full article was severely edited due to word limit constraints, I will soon host a follow up describing how I address each child's different learning needs, so you can get ideas on how to handle each of your unique children! Here is a snippet of the article, directly linked.
I recently asked my friends and family what questions or concerns they have about homeschooling, and the number one question I got was how to homeschool when you have multiple children. I think that I have a bit of an advantage here, because even though I have four children, I only have one running around distracting the others. I may not be an expert, but I will share what I know and how I manage this in my own household.
In the past five years, I can think of at least a dozen things that I have started with the best intentions and a passionate interest, only to flunk out of them completely within days, weeks, or months. There was the time I went vegetarian, completely changed my family menu, researched and found it to be the very best for my family... for all of three months. Or the time that I started a Bible study, gung ho about investing every single day on it, only to put off the last week of a 8 weeks session, indefinitely. Oh, there are many more, but I won't go on. I could say that those failures on my part to not only start, but FINISH a project don't faze me, but I'd be lying. Every single one of my missed finish lines only add to this looming feeling that I am a non-finisher. You may know one, or even be one.
The non-finisher is the person who gushes about some new fad diet, or some new sales gimmick, or some hair-brained idea, but you know as soon as they start talking about it that, well, they won't follow through to see it to fruition. Unfortunately, this is me, to a tee. I love the idea of things, but I often can't stay motivated enough to carry out the action itself. This was actually the one thing my husband voiced concern over when I first told him of my desire to homeschool our children. He worried that all of the excitement would wear off and I would be left bored with the concept and grow lax in my teaching. I hope that this message can reach a few that might be sitting on the fence about homeschooling, afraid of the knowledge of this terrible trait in yourself, because I realized the other night that I just finished my second year of homeschooling my children. That's right, I did it!
It might not seem that important to others, but I often feel a slight tinge of jealousy when I watch my husband succeed in his career. Not that I am interested in a career outside of my home, or that I'm not happy for him, but the perks of a job outside of a home are the accolades. Boy, if you got into this homeschooling thing for the thrill of success, you are in for it. I fail daily. And it seems like no one really notices the good things, not even me. So when others are getting raises and attaboys, I feel like I'm doing nothing but spinning my wheels. That is why it is so important to take a moment to truly notice your successes, daily, in order to be your own biggest fan. I'm not saying that you won't get appreciation from your children, your spouse, whoever, but there are so many people who fail only because they DON'T have that support, and when you don't have someone to take tally of your successes, it often feels like you have none at all.
So, if you are anything like me, feeling like you aren't really doing anything, I want you to stop and realize that every tough math problem that your child solves, is because you guided them. Every single time that you watch something on tv and your child bursts out with an enthusiastic, "We learned about that!" Every time your doubting family/friends/enemies/neighbors try to grill your child on some inane subject to prove that you are wrong for homeschooling, but they turn around and proudly answer correctly (sometimes even stumping the adults), just know that that.right.THERE. is why you homeschool. Look at those beautiful faces and know that they are your success stories. No matter how tough some mornings are to get through, or how many times you have to reteach the multiples of three, know that every memorized Bible verse, vocabulary word, or math fact, came from you. You are a success, and because you fought the urge to give up, your children are a success. And that, my dears, is far better than raises, promotions, or employee of the month badges.
Ducks in a Row
When my three oldest children were little, I used a hand-holding method that I referred to as the "baby-chain". I would tell the kids to baby-chain, and they would hold hands in a little line beside me,