This year we are in our 9th year of homeschoooling my older boys. There are times when I can hardly believe it has been that long. Both the in first years of homeschooling the boys and since welcoming our youngest son to the family in 2009, I have had to figure out how to homeschool with young children at home.
Now, I will be the first to admit that there are days when it is incredibly hard to get a lot accomplished. After all, youngsters can be a little demanding for your attention at times! But, there are some tips for getting it done which may also let you keep your sanity in the process. Below are just 5 of many that I could share….
Find a way to organize materials and workload that works for you.
For me, I loved doing a modified version of workboxing so the boys knew what had to be done THAT day. With the older boys in high school now, I have modified it a bit more to be in a single multiple pocket folder. I am also spending time at the moment reworking our learning environment which includes a small area in J’d old bedroom for my teacher supplies.
I also like to have activities available to engage the younger child close by to everyone else. You can even make up activity boxes for each day of the week so that a treasured toy is only used on a given day and then put up until the same day the next week. We have an old desk rescued from an elementary school in Ohio which is the perfect height for a young child to sit and do work or use as a platform for play. Getting individual activity boxes together has been an obstacle for me and with J doing more preK work this year I am thinking more along the lines of small kits for learning now.
Recognize that we are wired for learning and find ways to facilitate it with the younger kids, too.
While I agree that screen time needs to be limited in kids, we do use a bit of technology for learning as well as entertainment for the younger ones when I need to work one on one with an older sibling.
I also try to include the younger child into aspects of learning with the older boys. This works great for read alouds in history or literature as they can listen along with us and keep their hands busy building with bricks or coloring.
Field trips are another great way to get the whole family engaged together. Learning through living tends to ‘stick’ better than just book work anyways.
Partner a younger child with an older one for a bit each day.
This is something that I used to be better at doing and it could make a HUGE difference in my ability to get things done. Bonus is that it can help with building sibling relationships in the process. During this time, they could play, work on ‘chores’ together, or have the older sibling read a book to them.
The same approach can be used when mom has to get chores (e.g. making dinnner) accomplished. I just love how helpful the littles can be, so why not capitalize on it.
Include physical activity every single day.
This could be playing in the backyard or even just some silly dancing with Mom in the living room. Remember that the littles need to have movement in their lives and build it into the day.
Evaluate your expectations and adjust as needed.
This can be a tough one for those of us leaning towards at Type A personality. It has taken me years to recognize that there are times when I need to change course or even just make sure I’m Recharging those batteries when they burnout or knowing When to Cry “Uncle!”
Do you have young children at home while homeschooling older kids?
What are some things you’ve done to help keep them part of the process without losing your balance?