Learner Spotlight: The King Family
Not one or two, not three or four, but seven boys? How do you do it, Mom??!!
Here are some tips from one of our veteran moms who has 10 children and is homeschooling seven of them.
What helps you most in structuring your school week?
Our many calendars! We sync our schedules through calendars on our phones/computer and a large calendar on the wall. This way everyone knows what classes, activities and appointments are scheduled. I am a big planner so we also have a white board where I will write the daily schedule for the kids, including chores (not to mention adhesive chalkboard paper on the fridge for meals and one on the pantry for grocery items). At the end of the night the kids ask for the next day’s schedule. They like knowing what to expect and what is expected of them. Planning and structure ensure we make time for necessary tasks (which include some fun things, too).
How do you organize paperwork and materials for multiple learners?
What paperwork? Almost everything is electronic now. The kids have a Dropbox account just for schoolwork. There they can save and access files from any computer. This is very helpful with printables. Most of iLEAD’s paperwork is available through the hub so I don’t save those. The kids will use Google Docs to share their drafts. They keep their books and materials (pencil box and supplies) in a personal cubby. The shared school books are in a shared cubby. They each have a backpack but something tells me those may be filled with Legos.
What are your favorite family vendors?
I have no doubt my kids would name Firestorm Freerunning and The Impact Program as their top two vendors. I would also add Science 2 U for upper grades.
What advice would you share with new homeschooling families who have several learners to teach?
Plan ahead! Add all the learning period meetings and dates to claim attendance to your calendar and set alarms. Sync your schedules so the older ones are available to help (reading aloud or doing chores to free you to work with the little ones). Look for unit study friendly material. We like “Story of the World” for social studies. Science can also be taught in different levels. If you only have little ones, you can make it so much fun! Have play dough, Legos, coloring pages available to keep them busy (in their high chairs) while you work one on one with their sibling. Have the older ones sing ABC’s or nursery rhymes so you can grade papers, make lunch, etc. I find the kids are eager to help. It also builds a bond between siblings and I believe my kids are close because they’re accustomed to working as a team. It can be challenging and at times overwhelming, but the beauty of a large family is you are not alone.
How do you tailor instruction to help different learning styles?
When I teach I try to have different activities available. I try to teach by storytelling or through conversation. The kids are more attentive and engaged. If I am reading from a text, I may do “popcorn” where we switch off or simply let some kids color while I read. Afterward, they usually have the option of copy work, crafts or some other hands-on activity. I may add a song or video (my kids enjoy BrainPop). I find they retain more information when they simply discuss it among themselves or retell it to my husband.
Do you have a favorite family memory from homeschooling boys OR anything else you’d like to share about your journey?
Some of my favorite memories are our spontaneous late-night conversations, whether it be the questions, the sharing of ideas and the silliness. I realize these conversations will be rare and few as they grow older and we get busier. I treasure those moments. They remind me why I first began this homeschooling journey.
Elijah 16, Joshua 14, Jeremiah 12, Noah 11, Isaiah 9, Jonah 6, Gregory 5, Anthony 4, Ava 2
Well done! Thank you for sharing your wisdom with us, Jaymee King.