I recently had the wonderful opportunity to be a part of a fun blog series called The ABC's of Homeschooling with My Joy-Filled Life. I really hope you enjoy my article. You can start reading it here, then click to see all 10 fun tips at My Joy-Filled Life.
Homeschooling school age kids while you have little ones around is one hard task. Our first year of homeschool was such an eye opening experience. We had taken our two oldest boys out of public school just eight weeks into their kindergarten and first grade years. I had poured so much time and energy into figuring out what curriculum to use and how to organize our school room, not to mention how to schedule our days, but the thought of figuring out activities for our little guy to do during this time didn’t really occur to me.
I had pictures in my head of him playing happily at our feet while I read aloud to the big boys on the couch. I imagined him sitting at the table with us
coloring scribbling contentedly.
About an hour into our first day, I realized this was all just fantasy. The reality was that I had a toddler who was pulling at papers and demanding our time and attention.
….So, how do you juggle history lessons with one child, math problems with another, phonics with your pre-reader, tantrums from your toddler, & nurse your baby — all at the same time? It can be exhausting trying to get everything done, but here are some tips for how we’ve found success in getting through our homeschool day.
10 Fun Tips on Incorporating Your “Littles” into Your Homeschool Fun!
Buy them “school” supplies, too. First day of school is like Christmas, at least in your toddler's eyes, so don’t leave them out. Whether it’s just a few coloring books, crayons, and play dough from the Dollar Store, be sure to remember that they want that “first day of school” experience, too.
Bins filled with toys only for school time. This summer my daughter got so excited watching me prep our school room with fun things for her to play with. She kept wanting to go in and “do school.” I'd usher her out and explain that she had to wait for school to start. This just raised her anticipation. Even now, 7 months into our homeschool year, she gets really excited for school time since she knows that she only gets to play with those toys and activities during “school hours.” Another tip here is to be sure to rotate bins to keep things fresh and exciting.
Book corner just for them. We love books! We have “book baskets” in our homeschool. These are baskets filled with library books that are on the subjects that we are covering in history and science. To make my littles feel more at “home” in our school room, we have two baskets (well, crates). I fill the “little’s” baskets full of fun books that are either on interesting topics or on similar topics (just at a younger level) as the ones we are studying with the “bigs.” I also have two kid size chairs in our school room and a pair of bean bags that seem to float around the house wherever they are needed. Creating an environment to foster the love of reading is important to me. So, when I declare “book basket time,” everyone is included in the activity. Of course, having them cuddle up for read aloud time is always great, too, if they aren’t too squirmy.
Start your school day with them. Making sure that you “fill their little love tanks” at the start of the day will help tremendously! So, we try to schedule our preschool & kindergarten time for the very start of the day. Some mornings we walk down to the neighborhood park to get some “PE” done early. They love it — & they get some energy out (bonus!).
Printing extra activity pages. If my “bigs” are doing a project that has activities pages, I always try to make extras so my “littles” feel more a part of what we are doing. They feel like big kids, even if they are just treating the worksheets as coloring pages. Allowing them to “work” along side everyone will instill a love of learning in them.
Click here to read the whole article & to see My Last 5 Fun Tips on Incorporating Your “Littles” into Your Homeschool Fun!
Learn more fun ideas about how to incorporate your younger children into your homeschool day at the upcoming CHEA convention. I will be giving my “Homeschooling with Littles” workshop. This workshop will offer you handy tools and creative scheduling tips on how to better manage the circus act of homeschooling multiple children. Hope to see you there.