by Trish Branken
(Midrand, South Africa)
Do you have suggestions for good time management when teaching 3 kids at 3 different levels?
I am currently in my 3rd year of home-schooling, with a Grade 5, a Grade 2 and a Grade 0 child to teach every day.
I have noticed especially this year that the challenge for me lies not so much in the curriculum I have chosen for each of them but more in me having enough individual time with each of them in subjects like Language, Spelling and Maths (and Afrikaans).
What length of time is enough per child to aim for? I have tried various options but never manage to fit in enough time each day .
Shirley's Answer to Multi-level Homeschooling
I don't think there is a quick answer to this question. Multi-level homeschooling is a challenge and I find that as the children progress, I have had to adapt how we homeschool.
I would say that by Grade 5, your eldest child should manage to do most of her written work alone, and should only need help from you when encountering something new or a problem.
The Grade 2 child probably needs the most time and help as at this level children are still mastering the 3R's (Reading, wRiting and aRithmetic) and these are important skills that need to be supervised.
I would be more relaxed with the child in Grade 0 and draw that child in to share in any stories or other interesting topics that your Grade 2 child is doing.
When that child reaches Grade 1 and needs more time and attention for the 3R's, the then Grade 3 child will have to learn to work more independently.
I would say that one of your aims should be to help your (older) children become independent learners, that only need you to supervise or help when there is a problem.
If you need to drop some subjects for a while to focus on those that you feel are most important, then do so.
In our home we go through seasons where we do optional electives and then other seasons where we need to lighten the load to cope ..and when your children are young and more demanding, that would be a good time to focus only on the essentials.
If it's any encouragement, they do grow and mature and it won't always be this way.
Finally, although you say you are happy with the curriculum you have chosen, some curricula provide a schedule, which CAN be a great help for parents, but if its not working for you and your children then drop it. It was probably not created with your scenario in mind!
Provided there are not discipline issues and your children are trying to do their work to the best of the ability, then don't fret about how much you do or don't do. Just be diligent.
Now I know I haven't answered the question about how much time - but I can't. As the mom you just hover like a butterfly and move from flower to flower as your children need you!
Let's see what others have to say ...