Adding a younger sibling or another child to your homeschool can really throw a wrench in your schedule. Here’s how to seamlessly add that child into your homeschool day and adjust to the different dynamic the addition creates.
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I remember the year I added Blake’s little sister to our homeschool. For several years it had been just me and him…with Miss Megan floating in and out as she pleased. I was only responsible for 1 child’s school work, and the thought of adding another child to my workload and homeschool day felt insurmountable.
Perhaps you are feeling overwhelmed at the idea of adding another child into the mix of your homeschool. Maybe you have a great routine you are afraid will be lost once you add little brother into the mix. Or maybe you have an already messy homeschool schedule that is doomed to only get messier if you add in another child!
You can do this!
So far, I have added 8 children to my homeschool, one by one! I’ve learned so much from the process, and I’ve learned to no longer fear the addition of a new student You can do this, mama!
<< START HERE >>
What subjects do you need to cover?
This is going to vary according to your homeschooling philosophy and the age of the child you are adding. For instance, say you took your 14 year old out of public school – that’s going to look a lot different from adding in a 4 year old!
Consider what subjects your child REALLY needs. Adding a child to your homeschool is stressful enough without trying to do 12 different subjects with them. Start with the basics. You can always add more later.
For a young child, the Basics might be Math & Phonics only.
For an older child, it might be Math, Science, History, and Literature.
Keep it simple until everyone gets the hang of it!
Once you know what core subjects you need to cover, you can purchase the materials you need. Research different curricula, flip through the books if you can, and then just go for it! And don’t worry – you may have to change curriculum later on, and that’s ok!
<< STEP 2 >>
Get the new student their own stuff.
This may seem like a no-brainer, but make sure you’ve made space organizationally for your newest addition. We use a basket and shelf system, but there are only 6 baskets that fit on the shelf. When we added a 7th child to our homeschool, I decided to give the oldest child her own basket up in her study nook so the new little one could have a basket in the dining room with everyone else. I took my little student school shopping and worked to make her feel “at home” with her new schedule.
<< STEP 3 >>
Start your homeschool day together.
If you already have a great homeschool schedule in place and it doesn’t include some form of Morning Time, then you may disregard this next step. However, if you don’t have a good schedule in place, I highly recommend you gather everyone together in one place to start your homeschool day!
READ >> Making Morning Time Easy
This doesn’t have to be a big mastermind plan (read that post I just linked to!). It simply helps to signal the beginning of your homeschool day and readies everyone for getting down to the work of homeschooling. This also helps to integrate the new child into your homeschool. They see themselves as a part of the group. They belong.
Be prepared for the new member to be easily distracted.
If it is a younger child, give her a coloring page to keep her little hands busy. If it is an older child, let him have a snack and drink at the table to keep his brain engaged.
<< STEP 4 >>
Start with your newest student.
There is nothing more maddening to a new homeschooler than to feel lost in the mix. They don’t have a clue what they are supposed to be doing and it becomes a temptation to run away and play or do their own thing.
It’s important to get the newest student started before moving on to the other children. This forces you to add that child into your daily routine, and it helps them to avoid distraction.
I cannot stress enough how important it is to have a good routine to your homeschool day. When you establish a routine, your older children already know what to expect and get to work while you help ease your new student into their own routine.
*If you need help establishing a routine, check out my post on Autopilot Homeschooling.
<< STEP 5 >>
Stick with the Basics
I know I mentioned this earlier, and it really ought to be Step 1, but I’m pretty sure you would have skipped over it if I had put it there! So, I’m going to repeat this again…pare everything down to the basics!
In fact, don’t just stick to the basics with your new student, stick to the basics with EVERYONE!
Pare everything down until everyone gets the hang of having a new kid on the block. Do a simple Morning Time, just the basic school subjects, and no extras for at least the first 2 weeks. Once you have that foundation, you can begin building in more subjects and fun projects.
<< Special Note >>
Is the new student a preschooler or kindergartener?
If your new homeschool addition is a little one, you might be interested in making the afternoon their special time, especially if you are wanting to do some extra little projects with them.
This works best if you do the following:
- Bring everyone together for Morning Time.
- Let your little one go play or do a fun workbook.
- Do the basics with everyone (working from youngest to oldest)
- After lunch, do school with your little one.
However, if you find you are constantly putting off doing school with your little one, you might want to make sure you are getting their basics in during the morning school hours, leaving only the fun extras for the afternoon.
READ >> School the Littles First
Using Sonlight as an example of how this would work:
- Do Morning Time together using a Sonlight book as your read-aloud.
- Do Workbooks from Sonlight curriculum during regular school hours.
- Eat lunch.
- Do fun projects and extra books in the afternoon hours.
READ >> The Afternoon Book Basket
Now you have all the tools you need to add that newest student to your homeschool! Enjoy the added blessing!
*Schedule a call with a Sonlight Homeschool Advisor today to learn how to Switch and save up to $100! Switch discount valid for $100 off an All-Subjects Package, $50 off a History / Bible / Literature package or $20 off any Sonlight Science or Language Arts package. Discount cannot be combined with any other offer. Valid one-time use. Valid for new Sonlight customers only. Not valid on previously processed orders or orders currently in process. Offer valid through January 31, 2020.