I’m often asked how exactly I do it all. I mean I do have 8 kids, 4 of which are still in my homeschool and 4 who are adults. Parenting doesn’t stop at the diploma, trust me! In addition to homeschooling, I serve on the SPED Homeschool Team, teach a girls small group at church, teach two classes at our weekly co-op, volunteer in the nursery for the local homeschool choir and I work 3 part-time jobs. My husband’s schedule is much the same. I say all this to say that even with all this, I still don’t do it all. No one can. We can only do our best. But there are a few tips for making a large family homeschool run more smoothly.
Tips for Your Large Family Homeschool
Large Family Buddy System
This is my biggest secret!
I currently assign two sets of buddies. My children’s ages are 4, 9, 15, and 16, so I usually match my 15-yr-old with my 4-year-old and my 16-year-old boy with the 9-year-old. Currently, my two big kids serve their buddy a meal before serving their own and help with getting clothes out of dressers if the younger child can’t reach.
Large Family Laundry
My seasons here have ebbed and flowed as I added babies or sent an older one to work. We have always had 3-4 bedrooms in our home, so I assigned laundry days by the bedroom, leaving sheets and towels for Saturday. The buddy system also comes into play for laundry. The big kids in the bedroom wash and dry or hang out the laundry for the littles. This has greatly cut down on laundry room congestion.
Large Family Meal Planning
Planning for meals is crucial. Whenever possible, I cook overnight while I sleep. I generally have several crockpots going at the same time. My last cooking session included pinto beans, potatoes, and spaghetti sauce all cooking at the same time. Then, these meals were packed for lunch or frozen for later. I prep individual ingredients for later use as often as I can, such as, precooked frozen meat, diced pepper, and onions.
My other trick is theme nights. It’s helps the grocery budget too. This is my current routine:
- Monday Italian
- Tuesday Sandwich night/Soup and Salad
- Wednesday Mexican
- Thursday Breakfast for Dinner/Casserole night
- Friday Pizza
- Saturday Chicken/Pork Chops/Roast
- Sunday leftovers
Large Family Homeschool
I schedule the same subjects to be studied across all ages so that I only have to keep up with one lesson plan. The different grade levels come from the depth of the particular assignments, but the content is the same.
- My big kids read out-loud to my littles
- We go to co-op weekly to provide accountability
- We take every day as it comes but use scheduled weekly goal sheets for each student
- I do my very best to not compare my children to each other or other children
Large Family Relationships
Number one rule in our house is to never go to bed angry. I spend a great deal of my time while children are young training them about right from wrong. We do our best to draw any squabble back to the Bible. This includes lots of teaching on forgiveness and the benefit of not holding grudges. We talk about servanthood beginning at home and doing our best to put others needs before our own. Showing kindness, sharing and teamwork is how we roll.
The large family homeschool life has its challenges, but with a few simple routines it can run more smoothly. Plus, the rewards of a large family sharing life together make the normal chaos worth every challenge.