What is it like to home school with eight kids? It’s busy! Here’s the thing though. I am not homeschooling eight kids, but we are homeschooling. My oldest is in his Senior year this year and is enrolled in a local online school. Through that school he is enrolled in another program where he is able to take a welding class and an agriculture class. He is in his third year of these classes. He is involved in FFA (Future Farmers of America) and is a class officer this year, and he is working this year towards his welding qualifications to become a certified welder. He’s currently looking at adding more employment into the mix. For a while now he has been working at the school farm with helping feed the animals and other jobs around the farm. He told me that he went over this week and welded a pig feeder back together. I’m glad that he has been able to learn such valuable and useful skills.
My second oldest is homeschooled and is in her Sophomore year. She uses curriculum that we have picked out and ordered from Christianbook.com. She does a good job on staying on top of her work without any prodding from me. Since she is home she is also able to help at home throughout the day. In the mornings, she often helps watch the little ones for me so that I can take younger siblings to school without having to load up the whole crew. It is also nice to have her home with me for older company so I don’t lose my mind with littles. Well, I still might a bit, but not as much.
The next two oldest are in seven and fifth grades. They just started this year at a charter school not too far from our home. So far so good, although my son says he still prefers to be home. At home he did a good job of being self-directed with his work. I think school will be good for him though as he learns to keep a schedule of classes and navigate relationships with teachers and students. I believe his favorite classes so far are P.E. and Drama. Usually when I pick them up from school he is hot and sweaty from P.E. class.
My daughter on the other hand has been begging to go back to school for a long while now. I wasn’t willing to send her back to our local school that I pulled her out of after trying a few months of the second grade. Instead I applied for the lottery for their new school. I applied for all four school aged children and was amazed that the oldest two got in. Anyhow, my daughter is enjoying school and making new friends. This evening she made a thank you card for her teacher. How sweet. I’m looking forward to driving for a class field trip next week and getting to know kids from the class. I even get to take along a couple of my younger ones with me.
So my eight year old gets to home school this year. Even though like her sister, she would like me to send her back to school. She did Kindergarten at our local school but I had too many issues with the school to send her back. Most likely she will join her siblings at the current school next year. She loves to do crafts and spent some time today making a couple of books with some awesome art work. She thought of this all on her own. She is so creative and I’m glad she has the time at home to do what she wants and come up with her own ideas. She amazes me with her creativity.
My Kindergartener is a smart little guy. He surprises me with the things he talks about and makes me realize that I have no clue how much he is learning. They absorb so much from their environment and everyday lives without any formal schooling. Right now he has just been doing some online stuff on abcmouse.com. It has tons of fun stuff for learning and can keep the kids busy for a long time.
My three-year old keeps busy playing and keeping us on our toes. I never know what that girl will do! She’s a little independent one who can be found in the kitchen trying to scavenge for food instead of asking for something. She’s a handful, but a cutie. It will be interesting to see how she grows and changes over time.
And finally there is baby. I can say that because he’s not one for a few more days yet. Although I may always call him my baby. He likes to keep busy exploring and finding new things to play with. It can be a challenge getting school done because the little guy needs someone to take care of him or chase after him. He’s walking now and all over the place. He’s a pretty good climber too. He’ll shove a handful of dog food in his mouth if he can get to it. He is a sweet little charmer and loved by everyone.
Today, my five-year old helped out by feeding his baby brother. I don’t normally let them do this, but I saw him start to feed him and he had his arm across baby’s two hands to keep them out-of-the-way while he put the spoon in his mouth. I was quite impressed and had to just stand back and watch to see how this would play out. He actually did quite a good job. He even went and got a rag and cleaned him up quite well. He stuck with it for quite a while and cleaned him up again too. I was very surprised and glad to see how he had learned from watching me and that he wanted to help care for his brother.
So that is something about what it is like for me with eight kids and homeschooling. Some days just feel crazy and chaotic. But honestly not any more than it was when I only had two or three little ones to take care of. More people does mean more stuff to take care of, more laundry to wash, more food to buy and cook, that’s true. But it also mean more helping hands. More people to throw in a load of laundry, more people to help with dishes, more people to help dress a small child. So while it may be busy, crazy, chaotic, a mess. Well yeah that’s about it. No, not really. It’s busy, but it’s good. My children are not a burden but they are all blessings. Each moment may not feel like that, but that is just life.