The stereotype that many associate with homeschooling, for better or worse, is a mom in a denim jumper, wearing sensible shoes with folded socks, and a minimum of five active children keeping her busy as they scamper around in matching clothing. While modern homeschooling often looks nothing like this, stereotypes, though typically negative distortions of reality, can contain a grain of truth. Many homeschool families are, indeed, multi-child families. The complicated scheduling and maintenance that raising a large family demands are part of what influence so many of them to pursue homeschooling in the first place. For all the added work and stress that accompany raising multiple children, the blessings these families experience are also increased, and homeschooling is often the perfect environment in which to see this happen.
When the oldest child becomes school age, parents with younger children in the home can feel overwhelmed with the task of educating their oldest while rocking babies and chasing toddlers. One of the most wonderful things about homeschooling, however, is that you have freedom in how you structure your school day. And, that active toddler, upon seeing their older brother or sister actively learning new skills and being rewarded, will often want to participate. You will see their desire to learn awaken, and they will be more willing to join in structured activities if for no other reason than to emulate their older sibling. At the same time, the older child, eager to show off what they are learning, will often take time to teach their new found skills to the younger one. This is a multiplied blessing. First, it builds in your older student a deeper understanding of the subject matter at hand as they work to explain and demonstrate new principles. Second, it fosters a nurturing relationship between the two children that you may not have seen before. Watching your little student become the teacher to a younger child is one of the most affirming blessings a homeschool parent can witness, and one that will only increase over time.
As the years pass, perhaps a large family will reach a point where each child is actively engaged in homeschooling. If you find yourself with six children working at six different ability levels, planning lessons that engage each of them appropriately can be a monumental task. At this point, however, your older children will be far more self-sufficient, managing their studies through resources like online homeschool curriculums, and are often quite comfortable working independently. With several elementary aged children, you might feel at times as if you are managing a three ring circus, but those are the days when field trips and experiential learning can have the most benefit. Whatever happens, the good days and the bad, you are all working toward the same goal and going through life together. This togetherness is the greatest blessing of all that the parents in a large homeschooling family could ask for, and it is what often inspires younger married couples, just starting out together, to follow suit.
For 15 years Mimi Rothschild has been privileged to help hundreds of thousands of homeschoolers educate their children at home. The MorningStar Academy is a private online Christian school offering diplomas and teachers. The Jubilee Academy is an online Christian curriculum provider offering over 150 full year online Christian courses for PreK-12.