What to do with the Little Ones?
When we first began homeschooling, we had two boys, we now have a 9, 5, a 3 year old and one more on the way in April. Some days are easy; some days a bit more challenging. As our family has changed and grown its definitely kept me on my toes. We have learned so much from so many and consider ourselves so blessed to be where we are today. But I still remember feeling that “its impossible” so many days. For that reason I felt so very led to share these thoughts with you of our journey (which is still a work in progress of course, itself) 🙂
Proverbs 22:6: Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it.
I need for our home school to be a safe and peaceful place. Even with little ones. And that all starts with training. I’m talking about our little children being obedient, respectful and kind. Ultimately the goal is for Godliness. Do not misunderstand, academics are important as well, but sometimes we simply must take a break from “school” so that we can take the time to train our children, small and large, in those bigger things (contentment, perserverance, patience, obedience). A strong character, a firm foundation in God’s word, and all else shall come.
How about you and me?
Especially when they are so small, mine at least, have always needed some momma time. One on one. My five year old son to this day needs to snuggle with momma a bit most mornings; maybe we rest together and read a bit. My daughter is three and she too needs time rocking with momma; snuggles and hugs. Here are some other fun things we love to do together; making memories, learning and sharing in fun times together. I do believe it makes it easier for them too when I have to send them to play for a time to help my oldest son with grammar or latin, math or Bible Study.
- Puzzles are a favorite
- paper, scissors, glue, sticky tape, watercolors
- coloring pads
- sidewalk chalk
- music; to listen to and to sing; playful songs and instruments
- somersaults, pillow fights, tent building
- books and more books
- little playsets – the little people? – keeps my little ones busy for hours on end.
Some days we need more activity though so perhaps they will head outdoors. I cannot tell you how many balls and mitts and bats we have. Goal nets, sand toys, shovels and rakes that are just the right size for digging and raking. And of course in the right season they have their own area out back to dig for worms, search for toads and chase butterflies….free play and fresh air. In a safe place of course.
How about a nap? Or Quiet time?
My three children don’t really nap anymore but we sure do like to take advantage of some quiet time. IN an effort to get more reading in we may curl up together while I read aloud; maybe there is a basket of books for them to enjoy on their own when there is a little one that naps in the house. My two older sons have their very own Mp3 player too which is loaded with music and lots of audio stories and old tyme radio shows. This is a lifesaver in itself some days. Just so we can all rest and relax for a bit.
Don’t forget about me!
My children want to know what’s going on. Every moment of every day. They do not see themselves as too small or too big for anything. That said when we can I will gladly do work with all of them together, in one place, in one accord.
I like to start the day with Bible reading; all together. They can eat while I read or while we listen to our Bible; audio can be a big help some days. We can all listen together and then when its all onne, a bit of prayer and lots of discussion since there are always a few questions about something right
Most days from there we will move to table work; my oldest son has certain things that just must be done via textbooks and workbooks (learning Chinese for example; biology and chemistry with all the experiments that come along). Many days the little ones will listen to whatever video or audio there is; some days they will color in their own notebooks while we work. My 5 year old works on writing letters and numbers; my three year old practices shapes and maybe takes some time to take care of her baby dolls.Or bake us a cake. hehe
Towards the end of our day we like to rest a bit. Some days it is reading out loud; some days we have audio shows or books we enjoy together. My oldest sometimes will draw while he listens; he is quite the artist already. My two smaller ones snuggle up. Or maybe quietly play with their trains or legos while the story goes. Another day it might be a video. Some Liberty’s Kids or Magic Schoolbus; Beakmans Worlds, maybe Super Why or Backyardigans or Wonder Pets. My five year old has taken quite a shine to documentaries so many times we will watch a show about how things work, how they are made, the history of dinosaurs or trains and submarines. We spent a whole week this summer on the Titanic and other sunken ships Good stuff!
Sometimes we need to be separate.
Now and then we are just on different pages. The needs and energy levels are not the same. Maybe my oldest is struggling to focus; some days attitude or playfulness gets to be a bit too much. For me even.
- Their bedroom is safe and full of things to do.
- We have Mp3 players for our older too; they can listen to music, Bible songs and stories, Audio books.
- Our back yard is fenced in. We have a wonderful view of it as well from indoors. Some days they are sent out to play kick ball or catch. To dig or build in sand.
- When my oldest has completed his work and my younger son is waiting, I will send y oldest and my youngest to play. It gives them good bonding time too.
When I do have to separate us in some way there are rules of course:
- Any scuffles and I stop – I need to be able to hear them. When things are sounding difficult I must take a break. Strong Godly character trumps “school” any day around here.
- They can lose their right to free play upstairs or outdoors if they are not doing what they should.
- Play is to be kind; this is a time to share and enjoy one another. If right behavior is not seen then they must stay in my field of vision. Period. Usually this means “school” for the day is over.
Some days it really is a challenge. Many times we do have to do “school” with all three of them in the same place. And some days its just too much for those little ones to hold still. But we do te best we can. I believe firmly that they are getting something out of their time with us. I like to think that by learning together, as a family, we are also encouraging a lifestyle of learning. Perhaps in many ways this shall be what fuels us all to continue on in life. To go deeper, to encourage learning when they going gets tough. Let us in this way be an example one to another; iron sharpening iron. 🙂
Jennifer is ….a homeschool mother. My oldest son Tyler is 8, my middle son Alex is 4 and our darling little lady Cora Jane is now 2 years old and counting. It’s busy in our home – its loud – kind of messy – and very crazy. These little ones, they are all so very different. Uniquely created by out Creator. Precious and fun to share my moments with.…a daughter of Christ! I am a born again believer, baptized in the precious name of Jesus Christ, and filled with His Holy Spirit. I believe in power of His name – to heal, to cast out demons, to protect, to raise the dead to life and to save and sanctify all those He has chosen. Let us pray and journey…together with Him.a wife – learning so very much – growing – with my wonderful husband. Learning the joys of submission, and being the help meet I was designed to be. Striving to live a life as a meek and gentle spirit. Learning to make a home, to have a content spirit, to serve joyfully as our Lord served and continues to serve. You can find Jennifer writing at A Peace of Mind, and she is also on Facebook, Twitter, G+ and Pinterest.
Don’t forget to read the other post in my Dear Homeschool Moms series.