Tips for Teaching Multiple Kids Together
Parents often ask if it’s possible to teach multiple children together using the All About Reading and All About Spelling programs.
This is one of those questions that doesn’t have a one-size-fits-all answer. Let’s take a closer look!
3 Questions to Ask Yourself
Some homeschool parents find that teaching their children together can save both time and money. And the flexibility of the All About Reading and All About Spelling programs makes teaching multiple children possible in many situations.
As you consider whether this option could work best for your family, ask yourself these questions:
- Are my children at significantly different instructional levels? Children who are at the same level can easily be taught together. In fact, this can be a very effective way to use the programs. However, if your children are not at the same starting point, you may end up holding one child back in order to meet the needs of the child who is not as advanced, or you may attempt to push a child beyond his capabilities for the sake of keeping your kids together.
- Are my children able to maintain a similar instructional pace? Although your children may start at the same place, you may discover that one is able to advance through the material at a faster pace. If one child starts to move more quickly than the other, you’ll want to consider splitting them up so each child can move at his or her own pace.
- Do my children have radically different learning styles? All About Reading and All About Spelling are multisensory programs that teach through all three major pathways to the brain: visual, auditory, and kinesthetic. Although AAR and AAS lessons use all three pathways, instruction may need to be tailored to each child’s strongest pathway. This can make it more challenging to teach multiple children with different learning styles—though not necessarily impossible.
What if your children are at different instructional levels, don’t learn at a similar pace, or have different learning styles? In these situations, we recommend that you teach reading and spelling to your children separately to ensure the highest possible levels of success. Consider whether it would be possible to teach subject areas such as social studies, science, and religion to multiple children instead.
Tips for Teaching Reading and Spelling to Multiple Kids
- Listen to each child read aloud during every reading lesson. It is critically important that you hear each child read aloud during every lesson, either from one of the readers or a fluency sheet. Listening to your child read can alert you to the need for corrections or adjustments in your instruction.
- Make sure each child is getting the practice he needs. Be careful not to tailor combined lesson review times to the specific needs of one child. This may result in giving your other child too much—or too little—practice.
- Provide the perfect amount of practice for each child by customizing the fluency practice sheets. A child who needs extra practice can be assigned more fluency practice, while a child who is not struggling can get by with less practice. Fluency sheets can provide plenty of leeway for children with different needs.
- Be sensitive to the needs of older students. If your older child needs remedial help, it may be embarrassing for her to share lessons with her younger siblings.
A note about sharing student materials:
If you decide to teach your children together, we recommend that you purchase a separate Student Packet for every student. Review is a critical part of the All About Reading and All About Spelling programs. The cards in the Student Packet (Word Cards, Phonogram Cards, etc.) provide a method for consistent review and for easy assessment of student progress. Sharing one set of Word Cards with multiple children may make it difficult to closely track each child’s progress. Likewise, trying to use only one review box and set of dividers can make it hard to effectively organize individual review and progress for multiple children. Although buying one Student Packet can save you money, what you save in dollars you may lose in efficiency and effectiveness.
Only you can decide whether you should teach your children together. We hope this information will help you discover what is best for your family and your budget.
Have you taught AAR or AAS to multiple children? I would love to hear about it in the comments below.