“What am I supposed to do with all these crazy kids while I am trying to homeschool?!”
This is the question has caused me more hours searching the internet than I care to admit. How am I supposed to juggle all the different age groups? How can I keep my two very energetic bouncy preschool and toddler boys from destroying the house while I am attending to their older siblings? This is soooo hard!
I hear ya little mama…I hear ya!
So here are a few tried and true tips that has prevented me from throwing in the towel:
Invite them to do school with everyone else. Just because they are little doesn’t mean children are incapable of sitting and learning something. I have an almost first grader. When I teach her a phonics lesson, my boys are right there learning too. You will be amazed how much your littles will pick up, even if the lesson is no necessarily for them.
- I like to get word search books at the DollarTree for my littles’ phonics lessons. I tell them, “Find and circle the letter that says cuh as in cat or cake.” They love circling the letters.
- There are also coloring books at the DollarTree that have pictures of animals. I like to take a black marker and write the letter the animal starts with at top. ” See this is L for lion! Color the lion for the llll sound.”
- I have created a counting book that is literally open and go. I usually take a minute or two to do a counting lesson. My boys now like to sit together and count by themselves using this book!
- While my older kids are doing their math work, my boys love feeling
like they are big too. I have made some fun tracing math facts workbooks for them to color and trace over and over again. And here is a math workbook that they can do on their own once they understand the concept of addition. I will make multiple copies so they have some repetition and they will focus on one or two math facts a week. I love to comb bind these books to make them feel like they have their own math workbooks.
Recruit older siblings to help. Do you have an older child that can read? Or knows how to count to 100? Or knows her colors? Then you have a little teacher! My 6 year old can hold up an index card scribbled with a red marker and quiz my 3 year old on colors. My 8 year old can read a story her siblings while I am working on a new concept with her sister. Just because you are mama does not mean you are the only one that has to teach.
- Have your older child quiz your littles with one of my flashcard alternative games. Your kiddos will be begging to do school work! ( Hen House Game-FREE, Goal!)
Keep curriculum simple. It has happened to me so many times. I find a new awesome curriculum only to curse at it a week later. There is no need to make things more complicated. If it has a huge teacher’s manual, run! If it requires you to gather a bunch of material for each lesson, run faster! Mama don’t have time for that! Girl, let’s be practical, there is nothing wrong with an open and go workbook.
Have older siblings study independently. If you have a bunch of kiddos, it is impossible for you to do it all. Instead, encourage your older children to work independently. If they can read, they can do schoolwork on their own with little help from you. This will free you up to take care and teach the littles.
Have designated toys. In my post, Kids Don’t Need a Bunch of Toys, I share how I simplified my kids toys dramatically. Now, over a year later, I have gone even further. I literally only allow out one toy each. The rest of the toys are locked (and again literally locked where you need a key) away in a cabinet. I have categories such as legos, baby dolls and accessories, dinosaurs, cars and trucks, sports and play food, all put away in this one tidy cabinet. If I need my littles to especially be entertained, I allow them to pick one category to play with. Once school time is up, so are the toys. I don’t allow my kids to play with toys everyday except for puzzles and games.
I know this sounds a little extreme for some. But if you would put away a couple of boxes of toys where your children can not play with them all the time, you will be surprised how attentive they are when they can play with them.
Educational Videos. I don’t like to use t.v. very often. My kiddos seriously only watch maybe an hour of t.v. a week. But there are some great videos out now that can teach your kids their phonics, math facts, sight words etc. I suggest if you are going to use the t.v, maximize it by keeping it educational. I LOVE Preschool Prep dvds. After trying everything, these dvds taught my daughter her phonics sounds in a week!
Oh nap time…a little piece of heaven! No one says you have to do school in the morning. If your littles are as loud as mine are, nap time is your best bet. To ensure an atmosphere of concentration and complete serenity, I have my older kiddos do their reading during those glorious two hours of the day, freeing me up to do whatever this mama needs to do!