Tips for Homeschooling Multiple Age and Skill Levels

If you are looking for ways to homeschool multiple children at various age levels, this article offers tips and answers to many common questions! Read on to learn more about how to best homeschool children of varying ages.

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Homeschooling several children at a time can be an exhausting experience, but most homeschool veterans will tell you it's quite possible. Some approaches successfully employed by other homeschool families include Unit Studies; Integrative Teaching (vertical and horizontal); Independent Study/ Tutoring; and Mentoring.

Creating a daily lesson plan is the first step towards success. A plan will help you and your children stay on task and keep organized. Set aside time in your schedule to create a plan for the week or even just for the next day. You'll find you have to modify even the best plan in response to the attitudes and feelings of your students. Organization and a willingness to adapt are key to successfully homeschooling more than one child at a time.

Unit Studies

All subjects center around one central topic. It might be a time period, a geographical location, or a central theme. Homeschool parents are able to utilize unit studies for the entire family by teaching basic lessons to the children as whole but assigning different projects to each student. Older students might work on a research paper while young children color or draw pictures relating to the topic with the parents. This helps to reduce lesson time and keeps all students busy so no one has to wait around for instructions. Learning together is a great opportunity for family members to help one another with their projects. Try creating an assignment for your children to complete together. Not only will they learn about the academic fields but they will gain valuable lessons in cooperation and teamwork.

Integrative Teaching Methods (vertical and horizontal)

Integrative teaching allows several personalized lessons to be taught at once. Vertical Integrative Teaching is similar to unit studies. A specific subject is adapted to the students' varying levels and abilities. The same central theme of an individual subject remains constant and each student's assignment can be completely different. One child may be working on an essay while another child is still learning the alphabet and drawing a picture of the subject you are teaching.

Horizontal Integrative Teaching works by combining several different academic subjects into a single lesson with the same central theme. Instead of each child working on English skills, one student may be incorporating the chosen theme into history while another child uses it for science or mathematics. Integrative teaching is effective because it allows the parent to work with each child at the same time without the students becoming bored or lost with a lesson.

Independent Studies and Tutoring

When the needs of students vary widely, independent studies works well, especially when some of the students are older. Older students usually have more initiative and motivation when it comes to their studies, so they will need less encouragement and direction than their classmates. If all of your students need specialized instruction for a subject like math or reading, you may want to consider professional tutoring. Online tutoring is convenient for homeschool families who want professional input without sacrificing the homeschool environment. An online tutoring program allows you to give instructions to one child while another is working at the computer receiving a personalized lesson designed specifically for them.


Sometimes a sibling is the best teacher. You can pair of your older children with your younger ones and let them work together, with different responsibilities, on the same project. Assign projects that have components that both children are able to work on. Exposing your children to each other's lessons will help them understand what other students are working on. It will help reinforce the basics for the older kids and give the little ones an idea of what they are working toward.

Ask your children if they have suggestions for making your homeschool run more smoothly. This will allow them to feel an ownership in their school, which can keep them focused on their lessons.

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