By now, you might know that we homeschooled for ten years. What you might not know is that I homeschooled Ashley four months of her 3rd grade. We had problems at the private Christian school, so we brought her home from February through May.
That’s not as many years as my friend Kendra Fletcher, of Preschoolers & Peace. But it gave me a taste of trying to do academic activities with Hunter being young.
I could share some of our success stories, but that would not give you an accurate view of my homeschool that spring. I was not a good homeschooler, according to the “perfect” standard. Do you know what I did?
I put Hunter in front of the TV a few mornings each week, so I could teach Ashley.
Can you believe it?
No Sponge Bob Square Pants in that day. I think he spent most of his time watching the blue dog. What was his name? Oh yeah…Blues Clues. And he watched Thomas the Tank.
Yeah, I should have found something better for him to do, but I didn’t know any better. I was trying to follow the traditional, public school model of teaching so Ashley could go back to 4th grade. I had lots to cover in those four short months.
Since that time, 15 years ago, I’ve learned so much about homeschooling with toddlers to teens. I have a few ideas that would have helped me. I hope they help you.
- Family Time
Spend the first part of your day with the entire family. Read a book aloud together. Believe it or not, young kids can listen to a chapter book. If your preschooler has a hard time listening, let him color or do puzzles or some other quiet activity.We also used Family Time to pray for others, review memory verses or sing songs. Kendra calls this time Circle Time.
- Sing, Sing & Sing Some More
While I was cleaning the kitchen after breakfast, my kids would listen to educational songs. They loved dancing to the Veritas Press flashcard songs that teach Ancient Egypt & the Old Testament.Preschoolers love to sing. Even if they don’t understand all the words, they are hiding away God’s Word or truths about God.
- Special Toys & Puzzles
Keep a basket of toys that your young ones only see when you are helping older kids in their studies. To keep these toys special, do not let them play with these toys any other time of the day. Puzzles are a great way to occupy your children & allow thinking skills to develop.
- Children’s Day Out
OK…another “no” from many homeschoolers. I sent Hunter to Children’s Day Out one day a week. He loved playing with his friends. It allowed me to special time with Ashley.Notice that I called it Children’s Day Out, not Mother’s Day Out.My kids believed this was their special day. They spent it at our church with friends, learning more about God & His creation. It was not about me having time away from my kids, but more about them having a special day.
We participated in a variety of co-ops. My kids were able to experience subject areas that I was unable to teach. For instance, Gentry & Ashley had an artist teaching art. Ashley had a vet teaching her Biology lab. And Hunter had a native Mexican teaching Spanish.
Most co-ops have classes or groups at a variety of ages. If this fits your family, by all means take advantage of local co-ops.
I’m excited to hear strategies that Kendra Fletcher uses in her homeschool at tonight’s Facebook Party. Will you join us?
Question: How do you balance homeschooling with toddlers to teens? You can leave a comment by clicking here.