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Homeschooling Multiple Children
Q: I have two girls who are in the eighth and the fifth grade, and two boys who are in the second and first grade. Right now I want to take my boys out of school and homeschool them. Please give me some advice on how to get started.
A: Wow, four children. You must have your hands full!
Starting with your boys is a good idea. At their age, they really don't require a lot of academic work. Some parents begin their homeschool adventure by duplicating the school environment at home, and this can cause problems. I recommend giving your boys a few months to unwind from their school experience. Put away the textbooks and workbooks for a while. Visit your local library and look at all of the children's books that are available on just about any subject. When my girls were little, we'd spend at least one morning a week cruising the aisles in the children's section. We discovered beautiful books on insects, animals, sports, art, music, and more. Take home as many books as you can and read them together. If they're not interested in a particular book, let it go. Find out what they are interested in, and pursue that subject. Include your boys in your day-to-day activities. Let them help you measure when you cook or bake, weigh your produce when you go to the supermarket, and pay the clerk at the store. Have them measure each other and make a chart or figure out the length of your car or how many minutes you (or they) talk on the phone. The point is, every day is filled with wonderful learning experiences that you will now have the freedom to explore.
Your girls will also require an adjustment period when they leave school. Try to read at least one or two good books about homeschooling. The First Year Homeschooling Your Child: Your Complete Guide to Getting Off to the Right Start by Linda Dobson is a good choice. For your older girl, I suggest Homeschooling: The Teen Years by Cafi Cohen. Good luck!
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Isabel Shaw is a freelance writer and homeschooling mom of 15 years. She and her husband Ray homeschool their two daughters, Jessica and Amanda. Besides being a contributor to FamilyEducation.com, Shaw has written for Home Education Magazine, The Link, Homeschooling Horizons Magazine, The Homeschool Gazette, and other publications.