Friday, October 9, 2015

Homeschooling with a toddler and a newborn

Yes you read that right! I am homeschooling our oldest who turned 5 in May and have my 3yr old underfoot and a newborn baby. Recipe for crazy? Maybe...

The good thing about all this is that I am not the first one to do this, other moms have done it and will do it in the future. And guess what? They lived! Granted the timing of having a newborn and it be the first year I start homeschool is not ideal, but we will make it work. I really loved reading about Raising Arrows experience on her blog, this lady is a pro! 8 kids and homeschools them all! I got some great ideas from her.

You may be asking:

We have a relaxing 'life is school' approach to school. Can you imagine having a five year old sit at a desk all day everyday and be asked to do book work? That is a recipe for disaster! As we all know boys have a ton of energy, asking them to bottle it up all day in our mind just seems stressful for the parents and torture for the child.

We do a lot of hands on activity work for the oldest. For example: we did a day at the local park brought frisbees, balls, excetera.. and while we were there we did some exploring. We found two snakeskins, cicatia shell and a ton of other bugs. Allowed them to touch, question and investigate these on their own, Science. We estimated the length of the snake skin and then measured it for real to see if their estimation was correct, Math.
When we got home we pulled out our animal encyclopedia and looked up all the things we found, Reading.
Watch videos online about snakes shedding their skin and that concluded our school day. Stressful? No! Educational? Yes!

We do some book work and hand writing too but I try to make it as enjoyable as possible for all. Along with that we use Reading Eggs for the 5yr old and ABC Mouse for the 3yr old.

But when the oldest is working on something that he can do on his own, like writing words or Reading Eggs. I focus on the younger one, maybe doing a puzzle or having him paint.

Keeping a 3yr old busy:
The busy box was one of the best ideas I saw! It's a collection of things that the younger kids can play with and keep busy with while I help the older one. This special box is only pulled out when it's school time, he thinks of it as his school box.
He also is learning how to write and read at the moment. I find that we can combine learning like they did in the days of the one room 'school house'. More on that later too...

The newborn:
We all know new babies sleep alot, I think it's a way to help the moms get used to managing the new dynamics in their family :) I wear the baby in a wrap or sling when I can. As he is getting bigger I can put him on a play mat in the school room too. There have been many days I'm nursing the baby while doing school! Hey its a science lesson!

We bake:
I like to cook if you could not tell.. Baking is my first love in the kitchen though. Once a week I do a baking project with the kids. They have to read the ingredients, follow the directions, measure, mix and I put it in the oven. I will be sharing those recipes soon....
I make them help with clean up too ;)
One day we measured everything in metric!! Talk about a well rounded education.

Why do we homeschool? This is strictly our thinking so please don't be offended if you don't share this thought. We are the parents, who better to teach them. We know them best, how they learn, what they like, what would motivate them. We constantly learn new things everyday, so do they. That is school, life is school. As they get older we will be adding  more structure into the school day,  making it longer if need be. But basically filling in where they need help and helping them excell in what they love.

And my favorite question...
"What about socializing?" 
We do! I promise!! These kids are far from socially awkward. We do play dates, have friends and do our ministry work too. So they get exposure to ones older and younger, knowing how to talk and interact with ones of various ages is important.
We also have a local homeschool group that we do field trips with. It's a large group of families that at least once a month we get together and do an educational field trip. They get to associate with ones that are older and younger than them in that group as well. Plus being able to be part of a school group and all wear matching t-shirts makes them feel special :)

Is homeschool for everyone?  No. But it works great for us and maybe will for you as well.

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