Thursday, June 2, 2011

Homeschooling with Little Ones

Of friend of mine recently decided to homeschool and asked me for ideas of what to do with her younger children.  Oh, I feel like I am in the thick of it!  This year I taught our 1st and 2nd graders and had our busy little ones, who are now ages 4, 2 and 11 months.  I am being pulled in 5 different directions and it can be very frustrating.  There are many days where I just can't think straight.  Here are some of my tips for homeschooling with little ones:

  • Keep them close.
When my little guys are out of my sight, they are usually getting into trouble. If I can keep them in sight while I am teaching it saves me from cleaning up a bigger mess later. 

While we are schooling I have them work on some quiet activities.  You can check out some that I've made here.  Most of these were made during desperate moments when I had to find something to keep them busy.  I'm planning on making more this summer.  We also have a supply of educational toys and activities that they can play with during this time.
  • Keep them close...but not too close.
Sometimes when they are at the kitchen table with us, they are trying to color on someone's math book or making a distracting mess.  So I set them up on a blanket on the floor (which they have to stay on) or have the older ones sit at the counter instead.  This way everyone has their own space.

  • Naptime is your friend
If you are blessed to have toddlers that take a nap (or 2!), use this time to your advantage.  Naptime used to be my "me time", but now that I have older ones to teach we use this time for our more involved subjects, science experiments, and projects.

  • But, if your little guys decides to protest his naps, all is not lost!
We went through this transition with our 4 year old this year.  I panicked a little because we really loved this quiet time, but he has actually done really well and just tags along with us.  I was so surprised at how much he actually learned. 

We use the "Bus Stop" approach.  While we were studying magnets, we did an experiment together.  Then, while the older ones were writing in their journals about what they observed, he would play with the magnets.  He could learn with us, but at his own level.  And then I moved on with the older ones.

  • You are a Home, not a school.
Homeschooling does not need to be from 9am-3pm.  You can make it fit your life.  Some states require your kids to work for a certain number of hours, but that doesn't mean that they have to be in a row.

We like to start our day with Bible, but I know a lot of families who save this for family devotions when Daddy is home.  Reading time might work best before bed, when your house is calming down for the night.

Work around naps and take advantage of mealtimes.  When they are all sitting still and busy eating lunch I read to them our read-aloud for the week.

I have really struggled with frustration with my little ones.  They have a way of making all our plans so much harder!  But God has been working on my heart.

When I am really overwhelmed I try to think of this verse.

"...(Jesus said) "Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these.  I tell you the truth, anyone who will not receive the kingdom of God like a little child will never enter it."  And he took the children in his arms, put his hands on them and blessed them."  Mark 10:13-16

Jesus wants us to welcome and cherish these little ones, not shoo them away (or just park them in front of the TV).  They are only little for a short time.  I don't want to miss this time because of my agenda.  Nothing is more important...especially not schoolwork.

1 comment:

  1. Love this! Thank you. I am getting ready to start the homeschooling adventure. I have seven kids ages 2 1/2 thru 11. I get a little stressed when I think about what it might be like teaching the older kids while trying to manage the little ones. I appreciated your advice!


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