Have you ever considered having your older students help you during school?
Having older children can be such a blessing when you are trying to homeschool multiple ages. I used to find myself scrambling all day long to try to accomplish everything, school, house work, naptimes, meal prep, feeding babies, changing diapers etc… I felt like I was running around in a hampster wheel! One day a friend asked me why I don’t have my oldest help me teach the younger ones. Why didn’t I? I had never even considered that an option before.
I started thinking about the beauty of being a homeschooling family. The flexibility, the sibling bonds that can be created, teaching our children to serve, that they aren’t entitled to have everything handed to them, teaching them to think for themselves and to be a blessing to their family. So I tried it. One day, after a frustrating reading session with my 6 year old I sent her to her older brother. He sat down with her and was so patient helping her sound out words. Before I knew, it she was reading to him! Sometimes just a change of pace and having someone else be the teacher for a few minutes can help a ton! It also helps to boost the confidence of the older child and give them a sense of responsibility.
If you are looking for a change of pace, or a little bit more help in your day, why don’t you consider having your older students help teach?
Here are 10 ways that your older students can help teach your younger ones:
1. Read Alouds
Sometimes I can’t ever seem to get to the read aloud chapter books we have on our list and I will hand it over to an older child. It is so nice to hear them reading a chapter out loud to their younger siblings. They can be fun and animated with their voice and act out the words they are reading. I love to hear them read out loud when I am tending to a little one or folding laundry. It is also good reading practice for your older child and the little ones love it!
2. Little ones reading to older ones
This is my favorite thing to do. If you have a younger child that needs reading assistance have them pick an early reader from a stack of books and take it to their older sibling and have them read it to them. It gives my oldest a break from his school work and I can work one on one with another child while the other is practicing their reading. I am amazed at how this helps with the character trait of patience in the older child and it gives the younger one a break from mom.
3. Spelling Lists
This is an easy one. You can have your oldest help with spelling lists. They can call out the words and have them spell them outloud, they can make a mini spelling bee or write words on a chalkboard or white board. This is something that can be done in 5 minute increments.
4. Flash Card Review
You can have an older student review flashcards with the little ones. My preschooler loves it when her older brother pulls out the Sesame Street flash cards so she can learn her “ABC’S”. You can do this with little color cards, phonics, math flash cards and more.
5. Educational Games
I like to keep a stack of educational games in our school area. In the afternoon when school is over I like them to try to play an educational game like The Reading Game , Sum Swamp or Mummy Math! The older child can help facilitate for the little ones.
My oldest daughter loves lapbooks and notebook coloring pages. She begs me to let her do these with her little sisters all the time. If your older child can read and follow directions well then there is no reason why they can’t have a fun lapbooking/creating session one afternoon!
7. In the Kitchen
My little ones are constantly fighting over who gets to “make lunch” You can alternate days that you put an older child in charge of this. They can supervise and help the little ones put lunch together, or make a special snack to serve to family members etc…
8. With Chores
Sometimes I like to have my oldest child make a list with the little ones of what they need to get done and help them cross it off the list as they do it. They can even help supervise cleaning and organizing a specific room while you work in another room.
9. Bible Memorization
We put our weekly memory verse up on the board in our kitchen. An older child can help review the verse with the little ones. Then they can come and surprise you by reciting the verse. It’s fun to see what an older child can come up with in helping the little ones memorize like songs, hand motions etc…
10. Nature/Outdoor Learning
There have been many days where things were just crazy and we all needed a break. My son would take the little ones out back to collect leaves, nature sketch etc… so I could sweep or mop or nurse a baby. It’s a nice break for all and being outside can bring a great change of pace to your school day. Check out this post on Taking Your School Outdoors for more ideas!
I encourage you to try it! Just pick one thing off this list to start and have your older child help with it. You will be blessed!
My 9 year old was doing a preschool story time while I was helping my 6 year old with Math!
Sarah is a wife, daughter of the King and Mama to 4 children (one who is a homeschool graduate)! She is a an eclectic, Charlotte Mason style homeschooler that has been homeschooling for over 16 years now. She is still trying to find the balance between work and keeping a home and says she can only do it by the Grace of God, and Coffee!
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