Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Simplified Homeschool/ Keeping Little Ones Busy

Over the years I have simplified my homeschooling as much as I can. On the bottom left picture you can see folders. Each child has their own folder with a plastic sleeve that is labeled Mon, Tues, ect. Forget Lesson plans! I take about 15 minutes each Monday morning to fill these with the required worksheets. They can also keep their spelling and handwriting in the side pockets of the folders. This saves time, as the children know exactly where there work is and what is required. Instead of looking at a whole workbook and getting overwhelmed, they see the few pages that need to be completed for that day. It makes me feel organized and we all feel like we have accomplished something by Friday.

Something I have always struggled with is trying to teach a math lesson while keeping the little ones occupied. I thought I would try an easy craft on Monday. I had the little ones run outside and pick a bunch of different type of leaves. I gave them some fall colored paper and they did some rubbings. Then I had them cut them out and tape them to our window for decoration. They did great and had so much fun. It kept them busy and fairly quiet while I worked with the older children. I usually put them in front of an educational movie, but am trying to wean them and myself off of those.

If you homeschool or have homeschooled with little ones, I would love to know how you keep them occupied during those lecture moments. Please leave a comment! I'm sure we could all benefit from each other's ideas.
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12 comments:

Chris in FL said...

I don't have an answer for you but my friend from the blog....My life on a Taffy Pull uses something called Tot School. If you go to her blog http://www.mylifeonataffypull.blogspot.com/ you can click on the button to get you to the Tot school website. This site has lots of ideas for what to do with your little ones.

HTH

chris

Kimberly said...

Our homeschool adventure began during the middle of our oldest's 3rd grade year. The twins were 8 months old - at the time it was a major blessing since she was at a private school, and I had to transport her back and forth, so having no where to go was amazing- back then, being a novice and still watching TV I had PBS going for the boys, at about 3, and baby #4's arrival, the boys wanted to be where ever I was, so I'd put them in their high chairs with washable markers, scissors even and they would do "school" - now for the real advice as I became "experienced" (ha ha, I'm not sure that is ever going to be the case) I found that educational type toys worked well, like I would open the tub of duplos, or get out the wooden trains, or magnetic refrig. alphabet letters, and those things kept them busy. Here's a great answer, it varies by the child, but pull out the "thing" that holds their interest and save it for those times. For our youngest, she liked books on tape so I had a ton of those available for her. Another trick is to go over things with olders during naps or rest times for the youngers. I just tried to keep their activity educationally oriented, so they would get into the family routine. That's what I found to work best. My little girls really benefitted from the doing school along with the olders, they both are a grade ahead of their ages, just because they happened to be near by and wanted to do what everyone else was doing. Oh, my children are far from perfect, today I was helping our youngest with math, I'm looking at the boys, and they started goofing around as soon as they realized my attention was on little sister. I was like seriously you guys still do that? They got back to work at that point... Ugh!

Anonymous said...

We have been homeschooling for a number of years now.Our oldest is almost 12 down to unborn babe.There are eight so far.:)We are far from having perfect days but I have found the little ones love to have an older one help them play school whether it is practicing their letters,counting,or sometimes just coloring.The older child feels needed and the younger enjoys the attention.It is not always one on one because we have a couple not in school but it is fun.

Stacie, A Firefighter's Wife said...

So how do you have the older ones work with the little ones when they are supposed to be doing their schoolwork? I've tried it, but it becomes a distraction to the older ones and it becomes harder to get them to do their work.

Just wondering if you have experienced this?

Camille said...

Hi Stacie!

Glad you came on board at the "blog party"...it's good to visit you here.

This is a great post...your ideas are right on!! Simplify...simplify...that's my motto too! :)

For the little ones...how about tagging a bigger child with a little one for one on one time...

Or..if that bigger child needs to be in on the leacture time...what about the idea Michelle gave of books on tape for them to listen to...or stories on tape if they are too little to look at the book. I don't know how little your little people are, but there you go!

Another one is...do the lectures during the little one's nap time.

Well...thought I'd throw in my 2cents worth.

Have a wonderful day!
Blessings,
Camille

Camille said...

Now I see I should have read the "coments' first...sorry!

Answer from me for the "big" with the "little"...

Can they go into another room...a bedroom, perhaps, with the door closed? Set the timer and tell the older one that when the timer goes off their time is up, but they must not come out before. Play age appropriate things with the little one...not what the bigger one wants to do. Rotate the big kids through at the rate you choose...I have found 30 minutes to be a good amount of time. Does this help??

Blessings,
Camille

Stacie, A Firefighter's Wife said...

Yes, interesting. I was hoping for some new ideas. I've read several articles, but have found that most of the ideas to keep little ones occupied involves lots of "educational toys". I try to keep things with little or millions of piecese out of my house. This is mainly for the sake of keeping the baby from choking and for my own sanity.

The last thing I need to do when I'm homeschooling is have to get on the little ones for not picking up their messes.

I guess it's one of those "simplifying" things again.

Christ, I'm going to check out that blog and see what kind of ideas they have. Thanks, everyone for some great ideas. I hope they keep coming!

Anonymous said...

Hello I just wanted to answer your question on how the older helps the little ones when they need to do school too.What seems to work here is they take turns,the same child is not always on toddler duty.We take turns and it gives the older ones a break too.It also teaches patience and teaching.My older kids love that time.

Toni Floyd said...

Hi Stacie, what you're talking about here is one of the main reasons I stopped homeschooling. I just got so discouraged with the little ones needing so much attention while I was trying to educate Kelsey. Knowing you and knowing your kids, my suggestion would be to have a different activity for Monday through Friday ( a different thing for each day). Unfortunately, there's no sure fire way of making it totally easy and mess free but it could be easier if it were planned out. I think this would be helpful because this is the time that the little ones are in training also. They want to be part of what you're doing with the older ones and want to be in on that too. By having it organized you can say to them this craft day today or this is play doh day or this building blocks day or this is make a yummy treat with mom day or this is counting day, etc. There's many options as I can see all these wonderful ladies have given you along with what you're already doing. Homeschooling your children is a loving thing to do and they want in on the love, don't they? :D Just keep on keeping on because you're doing great! Love ya! Toni

christy rose said...

I used to homeschool. I think I used to wait for anything that would take much time to teach until it was naptime for the younger ones. I found that no matter what they were doing, other than playing outside, which worked well in our fenced in yard in the fall and the spring, they still wanted my help and my attention. So, nap time worked the best. I used to plan my school day directly around nap time and adjusted it if naptimes changed somehow. I would teach the same things to all of my kids at the same time and stop a younger child when they were at their level of understanding to practice and continue teaching the older ones. That worked very nicely too. I was very laid back about it and never felt like I had to be teaching my kids before they were 5 years old either. I think that can be added pressure on homeschool moms too. I must have done OK because when I finally put my kids in school, they tested well above average.

Cheesemakin' Mamma said...

I'm gleaning some advice from all these comments, Stace. Great topic! It is good to hear how other people deal with. I only have one toddler that wants to homeschool, I can't imagine two plus a baby. I know God doesn't give us more than we can handle, though. You're doing great! I learn from your example everyday. Love ya, Sis!

Michelle said...

I'm stopping over from the Blog Party and noticed this blog post.

One thing which I have done to keep my now 4 year old occupied is Preschool Activity Bags. I coordinated a group which made these this summer. I also use some ABCTeach activity pages, homemade playdough, board puzzles, paper and crayons, chalk and a small chalkboard, magnetic letters and a magnetic board, small toys, plus whatever else I can think of! Including throwing some cheap white rice in a bowl with some measuring cups! The key is to have a number of activities I can easily pull out (I keep most of mine in ziploc bags!) and I currently have about 40-50 different activities!

My almost 2 is almost old enough now to enjoy some of them. I also sometimes set the two of these little ones up to play together, which generally works well, too!

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