1. Always have an older child teach a younger child something when possible. That way you have two children occupied and one less Main Lesson to teach. I remember my second grader used to help me with all my classes when she was little. She was like a mini Waldorf teacher – sooo cute!
2. Allow the children to attend each other’s lessons and do the activity at their own level or “help” or at least use the same tools and do something on their own.
3. Don’t worry about doing every lesson for the week. Our schedule shows a lesson plan as if you are only teaching one student. However, if you did only half of everything on that planner you would still be covering what you need to for the year. Each week has some leeway in it. So instead of doing two stories for second grade in one week just do one, for example.
4. Try to combine as many lessons as you can. Many of the crafts, handwork and stories can be done as a group and with multiple ages.
5. Start a main lesson for one child, give them an assignment to complete or picture to finish drawing and then start the main lesson for the next child while they are working. Main lessons can be 20 minutes each instead of 40 minutes.
6. Storytelling is easily integrated with the two ages. Fairytales are appropriate for both of these ages – so are saint stories. Although they both have other stories that are ideal for their lessons they do have some common ground and can listen to a work on some of the same stories – just in different ways. They can also do some of the “acting out” of the stories together.
7. Crafting and handiwork can be combined at this age – the older child can even help the younger child. My knitting classes always have ages 5-13 in them. While the older ones are creating patterns and working on more complex projects the younger ones can be working on something more simple. Some of the older ones can even teach the younger ones or help them with getting started.
8. Math – it is often good review and practice to have the 12-year-old lead the younger one in some of their math recitations and games and it does not hurt them at all to listen to some of those multiplication stories again! This is an area in everyone’s life where you can constantly review and it will never hurt.
9. When I cook with a combined class, the little ones can do the mixing, the middle ones can do the pouring and the oldest ones can measure and calculate any doubling of the recipes.
10. Member Natasha shares her experiences. She says, “I have 3 that I am trying to school together this year. I’m using the block lesson schedule, since that lines up the easiest. The only thing I have had to shift so far is the nature walk, so they all have it at the same time. I set up the youngest first with something to do, then the next oldest then the oldest. Once the oldest is started on a subject/project I can focus more on the second oldest and youngest. We do every subject together right now, including reading and verses, so I may read aloud or my oldest may, depending. For music lessons I have the older two switch; one is working on reading or writing or a subject of their choosing while the other gets instruction, then they switch. The music block that way is not very long, maybe 15 minutes, but they like to go back to their instruments and play during free time so it isn’t a concern for me. We have the additional consideration of a toddler who likes to grab, so it’s a bit more chaotic, and we’re only on day 2 now so we will see how it goes.”
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