Homeschool Schedule & Multi-Level Teaching



Getting things done is not always what is most important. There is value in allowing others to learn, even if the task is not accomplished as quickly, efficiently or effectively.” R.D. Clyde

What is multi-level teaching?

Most homeschool parents have children in several grade levels. Rather than teaching each child using his own grade-level textbooks, many homeschool parents teach all their children the same subject at the same time, but give them assignments based on their ability. This is called multi-level teaching.

Multi-level teaching is easily accomplished and is the method of choice for most homeschooling parents. Their children are given their own math textbooks. Reading and handwriting instruction is given individually. The remainding subjects are taught as a group similar to the old, one-room schoolhouse.

This works really well in a homeschooling situation and takes much less time than using curriculum designed for grade-level classroom work. Many parents use a prepared lesson plan to teach multi-level. Others create their own lesson plans from scratch. Some prefer the structure of a textbook and work a unit study around the textbook.

A simple way to begin multi-level teaching is to use a prepared lesson plan or unit study such as:

For those who like to create their own units, feel free to use my Unit Study Planning Guide for History or Unit Study Planning Guide for Science. You might also want to check out Study Starters for sample units templates and the Learning Calendar for ideas of learning projects to explore.

  • Schedule your unit in 6, 9, 12, 18, or 36 week segments. Use the chart below to determine how many lessons to prepare for each choice.

Unit Study Schedule Choices
Total # Units/Year Weeks per Unit Total # Lessons at 2 Lessons/Week Total # Lessons at 3 Lessons/Week Total # Lessons at 4 Lessons/Week Total # Lessons at 5 Lessons/Week
6 per year 6 12 18 24 30
4 per year 9 18 27 36 45
3 per year 12 24 36 48 60
2 per year 18 36 54 72 90
1 per year 36 72 108 144 180

If you prefer using a traditional textbook to do multi-level teaching, select one textbook for all your children to use. For example, for children in 1st - 6th grade, A Beka's 4th grade science is a good choice.

  • Read each chapter orally to your children (or have them take turns reading as able) and discuss the questions orally.

  • Complete appropriate lab work and other hands-on activities together as a family project.

  • Finally, assign each child age-appropriate library books and written work to be done on their own as “homework.”

After you've started doing multi-level teaching, you'll want to purchase The Checklist to plan and keep track of your children's studies.

What is a Unit Study?
A unit study involves teaching all subjects using one theme. The theme can be a historical period such as the Civil War, a person from history such as George Washington, a science topic such as insects, a character trait such as obedience, or any other topic of interest. The children study the topic by reading books, completing writing assignments, doing arts and crafts projects, singing and listening to music, and doing science lab work. (Math, reading, and phonics must be added to a unit.)

The best way to get started doing unit studies is to use a prepared unit such as one listed below or one of the ones listed on my Unit Study page.

Another good way to begin to do unit studies is to take off a week or two of regular schoolwork and do a short unit on a subject of interest to your child. Why not try one of the ideas below and see how fun it can be!

  1. St. Patrick. Born in Britain, Patrick was kidnapped by Irish pirates at age 16 and enslaved in Ireland. After his escape, he preached the gospel for nearly 30 years to the Irish people. A good starting point to learn about Ireland and teach your children about evangelism. Also a good time to learn about pirates and have a "treasure hunt" by hiding small trinkets or magazine photographs of treasure around the house. Read some children's books about St. Patrick and pirates. The KinderArt website has a fun art project about St. Patrick using the techniques of Henri Matisse and a recipe for St. Patrick cookie pops.
  2. Alexander Graham Bell. Have your child read a biography of Bell, read about the telephone, and then make a display about Bell and the history of the telephone. Read about sound and learn how sound waves travel and then make a string telephone. Cut the top out of two tins cans. Punch a hole in the bottom of each can. Tie a knot on one end of a strong string about six feet long and slip it through the inside of one can leaving the knot in the can. Then thread the string through the other can and tie a knot in that end so it will not come out of the second can when you pull tight on the two cans. Now you have your own handmade telephones! (Log on to Brain Spin for more fun and games on the telephone and A.G. Bell.)
  3. Eli Whitney. Have your child read a biography of Eli Whitney. They will not only learn about the Civil War but also how the cotton gin was invented. Have your girls make a display showing how clothes are made and what fibers or other products are used to make them. Collect samples of each kind of fabric to make it interesting. Visit the Eli Whitney Museum for more information.
  4. Johann Sebastian Bach. Make a timeline of this period in history and show your children how Bach, Frederick the Great, Benjamin Franklin, and Handel were alive at the same period of time. Listen to Bach's music as you read a biography about him. An excellent biography of Bach is Opal Wheeler's, Sebastian Bach, the Boy From Thuringia. (Buy new at Grace & Truth Books) Make a music notebook of the various instruments with pictures and text written by your child. Visit the Dallas Symphony Orchestra or PlayMusic.Org. Have your little ones make their own instruments out of coffee cans and pie plates with beans in them.

Go to Unit Studies or Curriculum Recommendations or Curriculum - How to Purchase



Copyright © 2004 - by Cindy Downes