We have six children ages 6, 11, 13, 16, 18 and 22. Our oldest is away at college while our other five kids are keeping us busy with a little bit of everything and everything in between. Homeschooling a large family of all ages can be a challenge, but it doesn’t have to be if you know and apply my six keys to homeschooling success for families of all ages.
The 6 Keys to Homeschooling Families of All Ages:
- Create a parent partnership and see the balance. Laying down a lot of rules does nothing more than create rule breakers. We walk in partnership with our children. Walking beside them with full support, unconditional love and appreciation for their uniqueness builds trust and strengthens relationships. Establishing a partnership helps dissolve many of the relational and behavioral problems prevalent in parent-child relationship. Our challenges are sometimes our greatest teachers. Understanding this natural flow of challenge and support helps us better navigate and live in balance with each other. When we homeschool this happens to a deeper degree because we’re spending more time living and learning together, ensuring each person has everything they need to become their best and share their life’s purpose.
- Don’t entertain them. Let’s face it, we all love to be entertained and it’s fun for a time but not a daily way of living. Children need to learn how to navigate through the day rather than have someone run it for them. They actually prefer this independence which helps them naturally move towards inspiration leading them towards their life purpose. This inspiration is within all us, but must be nurtured and supported. Instead of creating daily activities, set up an inspiring learning environment filled with books, people, tools for toys, supplies for projects and plenty of wide open space and time to explore, invent and create.
- Spend time daily with youngest to oldest, in that order. Young children need to be filled up at the beginning of the day so it’s imperative that you work with them first. This helps create great satisfaction, establishing self-directed contentment. As soon as we finish breakfast it’s time for reading, writing and numbers with my five-year-old. Once she’s completed her daily work she’s very content to sit and draw, sometimes for a whole hour. I have a closet in my office full of things she can do while older siblings sit to do their studies. Puzzles, art supplies, journals, color books, and educational/Montessori tools are essential.
- Choose self-education instead of teaching and burning out. I started out my homeschooling career by traditional teaching back in 1995. A few short years of that and we were burned out. Rather than throwing in the towel on homeschooling, I elected to do extensive research on how learning really happens. What I discovered changed my life and our homeschool forever. I was astonished to learn that the world’s most highly educated and successful people who made a real difference in the world were self-educated. This led to the revelation of self-education in our homeschool which we’ve practiced since 1997. By choosing this way of education, each child is honored with a customized education that allows them the time and space for their pursuits tied to their life purpose.
- Prioritize, streamline and delegate. Taking care of daily needs and the work necessary to sustain life are managed best by a system of prioritizing, streamlining and delegating. Mothers are especially guilty of taking on too much which creates irregular mealtimes, mountains of work not to mention undue stress. Being home each day with a houseful of kids can be the perfect opportunity to get more done in less time eliminating the unnecessary. I used to be buried under laundry from my family of 8 with baby and toddler in tow until I created an easy system that eliminated not only the back log of laundry and work but also the continual stress. We owe it to our children to bring them up learning how to manage everyday life with ease freeing up time and space for doing what we really love.
- Work on your own personal development, be a student with your children. Top athletes and corporate executives never stop improving their game. They employ trainers, coaches and mentors to propel their success. Don’t negate yourself. Raising the next generation is the foundation of the world which provides the momentum of advancement. The legacies we are building and creating now, in this moment depend on our personal development and leadership abilities. We must be able to lead ourselves and become the models for our children to mirror. The home is the natural incubator for this when the parents take on their own studies, read daily and develop in knowledge and skill the children are empowered in their own endeavors. I’ve seen parents emerge into doing great works, grown right at home alongside homeschooling their children. It’s your responsibility to be the best “you”; you can be to fulfill your life’s purpose.
Homeschooling is the greatest gift parents can give to their children while building a legacy and making a real difference in the world. Don’t let it get buried under laundry, relationship battles and stress. Create a lifestyle of learning and be inspired to love more, live more and learn more.