A fellow homeschooling mommy asked me for some advice on homeschooling 3 children. She's been homeschooling one daughter while another daughter and son went to public school. She'll be teaching all three at home this year and is understandably nervous.
While her three kids don't match up perfectly in age or needs to my kids, I was happy to help in any way I can. I know I love to read other homeschooling moms' blogs to get insight on how they do things. I rarely replicate things exactly as I read them in my own homeschool. But I think it's still good to gather many perspectives to get the creative juices flowing!
Following is exactly what I messaged to her:
Sure. I hope I can help.
This year I have a 3rd grader, a 1st grader, and a preschooler. Honestly, until a couple months ago, the preschooler (kinder in the fall) didn't get a ton of individual school attention.
But even so, I've learned a couple things these last couple months. First, we need a pretty strict schedule, or else stuff doesn't happen.
At the very beginning of the school day, the preschooler gets half an hour of undivided attention from me. We work on our reading curriculum and workbooks or whatever. The girls are not allowed to interrupt me during that time (but of course they still do :) )
After that, the 1st grader gets half an hour of attention. I check any work that she accomplished while I was working with brother and then work together on whatever she needs.
Then we break for snack and do science or history all together. After that everyone goes back to independent learning and I can jump between them as needed, do chores, or play with the toddler.
Then a half hour before lunch, the 3rd grader gets her individual attention from me.
After lunch is literature time. The 3rd grader is mostly on her own (reading an assigned novel and doing associated activities) and the 1st/preschooler do literature together (usually consisting of me reading them a story and them doing a craft.)
As you can see, the keys to this working for us is doing as many group subjects as we can and especially everyone learning to work independently.
Learning to work independently is the hardest but most important thing, I feel, for my kids. The girls each have a clipboard containing a list of things they need to accomplish during the week. I don't care what order they do things in. Primus is in 3rd grade and really quite good at working independently now. Secundus the 1st grader is not so good at it and needs a bit of help being redirected/refocused. It also super helps that she learned to read kinda early. I feel that if a kid can read, then the whole world is open to them and they can learn anything. So the main focus for us in late preschool/kindergarten is learning to read.
So anyway, that's basically how we do. Every kid and every family is so different, though! I'm constantly reevaluating and tweaking our homeschool.