Do you? Please share a little about yourself and your homeschool! Now I'll share about mine:
Elf (9) and Emperor (8) are 13 months apart, and they would have been two years apart grade-wise had they continued in public schools. Elf would have been in fourth grade this year and Emperor would have been in second. But they homeschool together in all their classes here at the Happy Elf Homeschool. They have been a class together at home for almost three years.
When we began incorporating Emperor into our lessons, of course Elf had a great advantage. Emperor was barely out of preschool, but it took him only about three months to get to the point where he was competent and out of the second grade math-wise. Elf is the reading elf and has loved reading, especially since he's been homeschooled and has learned at his own pace.
Each child has a great strength in his particular area. I try to encourage teamwork and cooperation, but often discover that their idea of "teamwork" is "Emperor does all the math and Elf does all the reading aloud that Emperor hates." Ummm... sorry. Mom makes you share.
I can't tell you how many times I've seen Elf "accidentally" reading Emperor's part in a textbook. I make Emperor go back to the very beginning of the passage and read it again when that happens. It annoys Elf no end because it feels to him as though Mom is undoing his reading. Ruining it, even. It bothers Emperor because now he has EXTRA work to do in addition to what he would have had to do in the first place. Well, that's what happens when you don't do your fair share. "Helping" and cooperating is one thing, but doing things for someone else when he should be doing it himself is quite another.
Sometimes a child will get very annoyed because one will call out an answer to a question the other was asked. Do kids in public school cry and punch each other because they get THAT MAD about who got to read what first or who got to answer which question? Or who gets to do "the Elfie dance" for about 10 seconds when a question is answered correctly? Oh, yeah... if Elf was supposed to answer the question, he should get the dance. But if Emperor answered it correctly, he earned the dance. That's not right! I should get two questions after this, then. And two dances.
If you homeschool two or more children, do you pass books down? If they're in the same grade, do you buy an entire set of books for each child, or do you make them share? Cheapo Mom here makes them share books for the most part, and copy answers in a notebook or workbook so we can pass it on yet again. Besides which, it makes it easier to divide "reading out loud" passages because they'll put the book between themselves and the pages on the left are Elf's and the pages on the right are Emperor's. Many tears happen when someone's page has questions instead of stuff to read. It isn't fair. And he read more than me yesterday, too. And he took my dance and IT WAS MY DANCE! ARG!
I am looking over what I've written and am considering that perhaps, instead of only INDIVIDUAL goals, we have "working as a team, helping each other learn and being kind" goals and rewards in addition each week for the children. Sometimes writing out your problems can help you think of good solutions. This is (for some reason! extra energy this week or so!) the time to revamp and revitalize that homeschool setting here at the Happy Elf Homeschool. Because I could use a Happy Elf and a Happy Baby Giant. I really could. Though Emperor might be a bit embarrassed if he knew YOU knew that he was the "baby giant." No matter. When he grows up he will just be a regular grown-up giant. We all know this. :)
But overall, I LOVE homeschooling these guys together. They really are best friends, and I think being together almost all the time keeps them on the same wavelength. They have many inside jokes. Most of the time, they work together as a team, often moreso than I would wish. They have common hobbies. They eat the exact same school lunches. They even wear the same clothes, though Emperor gets to wear them first as he is taller.
What are some of your challenges and blessings if you homeschool more than one child? Do your children work together in all their subjects? Do you save books or buy a new curriculum for a younger child? How do you decide? I don't have a Mr. Linky, but if you leave a link in the comment section, I will edit this post and list your post here:
sample link here