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How to Homeschool Multiple Children at Once

Tricks and tips for homeschooling a houseful!

If you’ve homeschooled for any period of time, you know that logistics plays a huge part in success or failure. Homeschooling logistics is the nitty-gritty of how you actually organize your homeschooling day—when you start the day, the physical setup of the homeschooling area, what sequence classes are done in, etc. These sorts of arrangements can make a big difference.

The logistical matters become even more important when you’re homeschooling multiple children at once. Perhaps you have a 2nd grader, 5th grader, and 9th grader who are all homeschooling. The thing you want to try to avoid with multiple children is when there is more than one who needs attention simultaneously, and you are running yourself ragged, trying to help all of them at once. These situations are stressful for you, and the children typically don’t feel like they are getting all the help they need.

Today I will offer some tips for you to help minimize those situations. These are probably second nature to seasoned homeschoolers, but if you are new, they might be the magic key you need to make homeschooling a big family less challenging!

Start Early, Start Disciplined

First, over the years, I have found that starting earlier in the day leads to more disciplined behavior than starting late. If everyone rolls out of bed late and then lounges around in pajamas until lunchtime before you get serious about school, the casualness of the morning sets the tone for the entire day. It then becomes difficult to get the children on task later because they’ve already settled into “taking it easy” that day. It is much better to start earlier on a sharp schedule. Remember, the tone of the morning sets the tone for the rest of the day.

Another handy rule of thumb is that it is easier to go harder at the beginning and loosen up later than to start loose and try to tighten up afterward. It’s easier to let the horses out of the stables than corral them back in.

Older Children Help Younger Children

Younger children need frequent guidance with homeschool work. They need to have instructions explained and often need work demonstrated. Usually, the help younger children need is not that challenging and can be provided by older siblings. Suppose you have three children, ages 5, 8, and 13. The 13-year old is capable of working independently, but the 5-year old and 8-year old both need help simultaneously. Since the assistance the 5-year old needs is likely less intensive than what the 8-year old needs, have the 13-year old help the 5-year old while you help the 8-year old. That way each child gets dedicated help, and you don’t have to run back and forth between them.

Rotating Free Time

Most homeschool families do not homeschool non-stop throughout the day. Besides lunch, there is free time structured between various classes. Why not use this free time to your benefit? Instead of giving all your children free time simultaneously, rotate who gets free time based on their needs. For example, suppose you have two children in 6th and 7th grade. The 7th grader really struggles with geometry and needs a lot of hands-on assistance. When it’s time to do geometry, give his 6th-grade sibling a break; tell him to go have free time so that you can work with your 7th grader undistracted. Then, later, the 7th grader will get a break while the 6th grader works.

Balance Intensive and Less Intensive Classwork

Not all classes are created equal. Some classwork is very intensive, requiring interaction, practice, explanation, and a degree of parental involvement. Other classwork is less intensive, where your child only needs to plop on the couch with a book or sit with a laptop & a headset to listen to an online lecture. If you have a child who has an intensive class, schedule her siblings with less intensive classes at that time. This makes it less likely you will get interrupted or distracted while helping the child who needs you the most.

Double Up When You Can

Doubling up means multiple children are taking the same class. Say you have an 8th grader and a 10th grader who both need earth science, so you pair them up and have them do the class together. This has multiple benefits: You cut your instruction time in half because you are helping both students with the same work simultaneously; the siblings can also help each other. I always look for ways to double up on classes with my kids whenever possible.

Another option is to have all of your children study the same historical period at the same time (in literature as well as history). While the intensity of coursework will vary for each child, it still lightens your load when focusing on one era at a time. It also allows you more engaging dinner table conversation with the whole family.

Get Other Moms Involved

Homeschooling is a funny thing; it is easiest when there is 1 child or lots of children. Getting other moms involved can be significantly easier. If you are homeschooling four children, team up with another mom who has a handful of children and combine all of your students into a single, larger study group. Maybe you’re asking, “If it is already a handful doing four children, why would I want to add more to the mix? There are various reasons: it involves another parent, which is a tremendous benefit. Also, the more children you have, the easier it is to impose mass discipline. When you have eight or twelve children, a “classroom” dynamic emerges, and you can regulate the group using classroom management principles. Plus, it makes lessons something to look forward to as you also spend time with your friends.

Online Classes

If you’re feeling overwhelmed, don’t fret. You can outsource some of the teaching. Homeschool Connections, the Catholic online curriculum provider, was started to help homeschool parents wherever they need it most. Homeschool Connections provides both live, interactive courses and pre-recorded, independent-learning courses for third to twelfth grade. You can pick just one or two courses, or you can pick a full slate.


These are all simple but tried & true tricks of the trade. Of course, you’ll never be able to eliminate all bumps despite the best logistics. You sometimes feel like you are playing musical chairs, circling the table while three children call “MOM! MOM!” simultaneously. However, these tips help minimize those situations and keep things less bottlenecked.

If you’d like to explore this topic more deeply, I invite you to join us at the Homeschool Connections Community.

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Resources to help you in your Catholic homeschool…

Catholic Homeschool Classes Online

Homeschooling Saints Podcast

Good Counsel Careers

The Catholic Homeschool Conference

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