Combining students isn’t always the best solution. Skill subjects, particularly math, are very difficult to combine and retain your sanity. I know of one homeschool mom who does combine math, but she’s the exception rather than the rule.
Separate Students for a Well-Run Homeschool
As I mentioned above, combining students isn’t always the best solution. The point of a well-run homeschool is to keep life simple and the homeschool progressing smoothly. When combining children is going to make your life more difficult, don’t.
For example, this year my 8th grader is studying physical science and my little ones are using Introduction to Science. Many of the topics are the same so I considered combining the kids into one group.
However my 8th grader is able to study science independently with only a bit of help from me. The Introduction to Science curriculum is perfect for my little ones as is. The work involved in rearranging and combining the children would be more than the work involved in using both curricula as written.
Why in the world should I combine for the sake of combining and give myself more work?
It defeats the entire purpose of a well-run homeschool.
Separating children allows you to personalize the studies of each child. You can cover material that child needs to know rather than trying to meet the needs of everyone in the family at the same time.
Often you can cover material faster and more surely individually rather than trying to cover the material as a group.
In my house I use a bit of all three methods. Art projects, read alouds, and poetry memorization are best as part of morning time. We come together as a family to enjoy great literature and discussions.
Tapestry of Grace gives us the unity I need for a sane approach to history, literature, geography, and art. Combining the children allows us to have family discussions and enjoy period movies together. It also keeps me sane because I’m not trying to juggle dozens of different curricula to educate my kids.
However I’ve discovered that math, phonics, and spelling are easier to study separately rather than together. I tend to use the same program for all children, but each child is studying at their own skill level.
Combining children in Latin and science makes sense when the children are close in age. For instance I plan on keeping my kindergartner and first grader combined for Latin and science until they graduate high school.
But trying to force my 8th grader to work at the level of his younger siblings or to attempt to teach my 5yo at the same level as my 13yo doesn’t make any sense at all. It would be like trying to force a square peg into a round hole.
As you plan your homeschool, keep in mind the children’s skill levels. While it’s often easier to combine children into one curriculum for your sanity, combining kids can make life more difficult.
Consider separating children in these instances:
- A Textbook curriculum you love – put each child in at their own level
- Boxed curricula intended for a specific age
- Kids adore working independently
Remember that a well-run homeschool doesn’t complicate life. Remember why you homeschool and keep life simple!
Read more posts in the 31 Days to a Well-Run Homeschool series!