One month later we added a newborn to our home and our home school went on unofficial vacation for a couple of months!
Thankfully by the time September 2009 rolled around I had learned a few lessons in managing 4 small children, a home and school!
Create a routine.
A routine is really a habit for the order of your day's events. Our morning routine is:
- get up,
- eat breakfast,
- change clothes,
- make your bed,
- brush your teeth,
- straighten up your room,
- do your chores,
- do your school work,
- play until lunch.
Once a routine is established then everyone knows what to expect. This cuts down on disagreements with older children.
It also means mom doesn't have to think about when to do the different parts of a day. Not having to make decisions when you are sleep deprived is a good thing!
Also, the above example is our current routine. Our routine with an infant looked a lot different. You will want to create a routine around feeding and nap times.
This is when things get tricky. How you handle the infant/toddler/preschooler during school time really depends on your family dynamics, the age of the child, and your child's level of development. I've used a variety of methods.
School during nap time.
I am a firm believer in getting infants on a sleep, eat, play schedule. Knowing that baby would be asleep from 10-11 AM every day gave me a predictable hour to do school with the big kids.
School with baby close by.
I never did the baby wearing thing. I have nothing against it. It just isn't me. So when we had school while baby was awake, I put him close by in a bouncer or exersaucer. We could see each other but he entertained himself with toys.
School with baby/toddler in another room.
When I learned baby #2 was on the way I toddler-proofed my firstborn's bedroom. I made the room as safe as possible, included a toy tub and some books and put a gate on his door. It's the only way I survived that first trimester!
I used the same baby gate when I needed to do school with my oldest and my toddler was getting into things. I gave him toys, books, and a sibling to play with in his bedroom. Baby/toddler was safe and happy while we accomplished school work. And my children learned to play together without me in the room.
School with a toddler in the room.
As toddlers become more aware of their surroundings they want to do school just like big brother. There are tons of creative ideas for doing this.
- Coloring books or preschool workbooks just for the little guy. My now 3 year old was over the moon to have his own books and pencil bag this year!
- Busy bags. Basically these are small plastic bags that contain fun but educational activities. Just google "homeschool busy bags" for more ideas than you could ever use!
- Give him manipulatives, Lincoln Logs, or building blocks to play with on the floor.
- A tub filled with rice or oatmeal and some miniature cars makes a great indoor sandbox.
- If your school room is the kitchen run a little water in the sink with bubbles and let him play with spoons and cups. Just be prepared to clean up the mess.
- Or let him "organize" your pantry. Keep canned goods and plastic spice bottles low so he can stack them on the floor. It's good practice for eye-hand coordination.
- Include him in the lesson. My little guys have always joined us to read science and history lessons. They don't always understand what we are reading but they like to sit on my lap and look at the pictures.
What tips do you have for homeschooling and caring for little ones at the same time?
Big Family Friday at Holy Spirit-Led Homeschooling
Works for Me Wednesday at We Are THAT Family