Saturday, 9 April 2011

How to home educate more than one child...

If only I knew. Somehow we've done it - are doing it. But I wonder how it is for other home educators. How do they do it? Is there a secret magic formula? Are they super-structured and organised in their day? (If so, I'm doomed) I now have a 12.5 yr old boy, a very nearly 10 year old boy and a 7.5 yr old girl. All very different. With different styles of learning. With different needs and interests. With different abilities to moan and sulk and throw tantrums at the prospect of certain activities and to infect their siblings with their stormy moods.


Eldest child is at the age when he wants to do exactly what he wants to do and is not interested in being led to water to drink even if he is at death's door through dehydration. (a long-term feature of his personality, but now the effect has been multiplied a million billion trazillion times). I live in hope that entrepreneurs don't need to know times tables or be able to spell and are ok to wear clothes covered in pva glue and with chewed sleeves.

Middle child is at what I call the 'sponge age'. The age when Romans and museums and the solar system and cub badges and flags and the insides of plants and prime numbers and what do you get if you cross a giraffe with a belly dancer and microscopes and...well...everything...has potential to be interesting. An age when they will listen (if siblings are not around to infect them) and make interesting conversation about things they've been wondering about and actually read and write and cut-out-and-colour those things you always dreamt your home educated child would cut-out-and-colour. Ok. There is the downside of his IT (computer/wii games) obsession, but really I should be capitalising on the home ed potential and separate him from his siblings. Quick get those long-abandoned lapbook thingimagigs and cut-out Stevensons Rocket from the shelves!

Youngest child would also be entering the 'sponge age' if I actually had any time left over to spend with her, focusing on her needs and interests. I count my blessings that she is an independent sort and, not unlike eldest child, likes to do EXACTLY what she likes to do, but as a non-reader there is a limit to what she can access without my help. And sometimes I wonder if I really know what she is interested in...apart from soft toys and flowers. Perhaps I am just used to boys who are interested the workings of machinery and want to build catapults and race tracks and perhaps I have forgotten how to interact or find educational value in small defiant people who want to make potions and build little houses under trees for Mr Beany Tiger.


When my eldest was the age of my youngest we were exploring so many things. Educational things. But was that because he was the eldest? Or was it because he was the sort of child he was? Is my home education experience different with my middle or my youngest because of birth order or because they are different characters? Do others find themselves worrying over one child's needs only to find as soon as they've fixed that problem, they turn around to find another child has stopped growing.

Or maybe all this contemplation and deep-thinking is due to lack of sleep after small children have been vomiting into tub trugs for the past few days and nights. Four people infected and just me to go. Oh joy! I cling to the hope that my coca cola drinking addiction will burn all those bugs with its teeth-dissolving acid properties. May the Curse of the Coca Cola kill the Evil Bugs from Outer Bug Land.


globeonmytable said...

I hope you are all well very soon.

Anonymous said...

'turned around to find another child has stopped growing'
I'm almost virginal at this home educating jig, but that sentance really struck a chord with me. Finally I'm managing to help my eldest only to find my little one now needs more from me than he's getting. Talk about the hardest job in the world!

Hope you manage to fight off those bugs!

Jennifer Williams said...

I find with my two girls that whilst one is surging ahead in interests and learning, the other potters around making potions and building houses under trees! I am expecting another and do wonder how on earth I will do it with three..... i think many larger families cope by being structured and having 'work box' type systems and doing lots of planning ahead, and having their children learn to read early so they are more independent in thier learning..... trouble is my childrenw ouldn't follow a plan in that way and even when reading independently they are always gong to want to have me talk it through with them (I think and hope anyway!!) So no nuggets of wisdom really except that it probably is their different natures that make it different with all!!

hugs, Jen x

KP Nuts said...

I wrote a piece like this called "Spinning Plates" a few weeks back because that it how it sometimes feels to me. It is hard to get 3 plates spinning but once you do you just can't stop!

The reading is really crucial I think. It opens so many doors and enables greater independence.

Everything always seems worse when you have been ill especially when you are running the show. One of my friends says home ed Mums are like roundabouts everyone gets on to get what they need then gets off again but if the roundabout stops...

rosieposie said...

When I read your posts, I always think, crikey they sound very organised and all of the kids seem to be involved. I have only 2 children, boy of 11 and girl of 8 and we are all over the place! I so try to organise them to do activities together and individually but even if we manage to settle down to a subject they tail off after an hour - that is good going by the way if we manage an hour. I get all of these great ideas about projects we can do together - but nobody wants to do them - I feel like pulling my hair out sometimes - but after saying that and I maybe mad, but we love home ed and I wouldn't have it any other way and however the day pans out regarding "work" they seem to be learning!

MadameSmokinGun said...

I reckon you do tons! Whereas we do nuffin' - nuffin' h'educational anyway.

When I'm home - I ignore them completely.

Not clever - but then I'm not clever.

4kids, 2 guinea pigs, 1 happy family said...

I have four children 11,9,3&1. The children are mostly automously home educated. I think most parents worry they are not doing enough with each child. I have 3 girls and 1 boy, so I worry R is not getting enough boy play. And then the next week I'll worry the baby is not been played with enough and so on and so on...
Meanwhile the kids are getting on with living life, having fun and learning!
It sounds and looks on your blog like your children do lots of fun things.

Hope you've recovered from the nasty bugs.