By Contributing Writer, Jennifer Ross
We have 11 children, 2 have graduated, 6 are “doing school,” and 3 are just babies still. What’s a home educating Mother to do? Hint: Enlist help from the older ones.
Well actually, our oldest son is on his own now, but our oldest (and graduated) daughter is here at home, training to be a homemaker someday. She has volunteered to help out with her 5 and 6 year old brothers, which has been more than a blessing. She takes care of the day-to-day teaching, coming to me if problems or questions arise, and I am still just a few feet away to oversee all that goes on, ensuring they are still receiving a good education.
And let me tell you, she is quite the teacher! Now practically speaking, here is a bit how our day looks: we start our morning by getting everyone dressed and ready for the day, I get my husband off to work by making his breakfast and a lunch to take with him, prepare and eat breakfast with everyone else, then clean up and get the morning chores done.
After that we all sit in the living room and read 5 chapters of the Bible. We have 5 children that can read, so they each read one chapter. This is their “read aloud” time where I can correct mispronunciation of words, train on how to read aloud clearly so others can get something from it (“No need to rush, it’s not a contest boys!” I find myself saying to my sons), and even get in some Bible study!
When we’re done with that, we pray for our day, and then out come the baskets of school books. My oldest daughter takes her two ”students” up to our loft for their school work while the rest of us meet around our kitchen table in the dining room. I can see and hear her and my 2 young sons from where I am, and again, if she needs anything, I’m right there to help out.
The youngest in our family, the babies (ages 3 and under) play nearby in the same room. Sometimes we’ll give them crayons and paper, sometimes a few toys, but most of the time they are content to sit with the rest of us and watch what is going on.
When lunch time comes, we eat, clean up, do some more household chores and put the 4 youngest down for a nap. During nap time the other children finish up the rest of their school work and do their individual Bible reading.
It’s been working out well so far and having my oldest daughter teaching the 2 youngest school aged children is a blessing not only for me, but for her as well. She is learning what I never learned nor what she would ever learn in a public high school. She is experiencing the joy of teaching a child how to read and write, and basic math skills.
When the day comes that she has a family of her own, she will be prepared when her own children reach school age. Home educating with a large family can be challenging, but it is not impossible. Set up a simple routine and have the older children help out with the younger ones. It will bless the entire family!