I think one of the biggest challenges of teaching at home is trying to keep the younger siblings occupied long enough to be able to focus on the older students.
Even families whose children go to school must deal with the same issues, as they try to help their young students with homework in the evening.
Over time, out of necessity, we found several ways to make this process much easier.
Children, of all ages, love routine. As I planned my school schedule of topics to cover, I also mapped out my little ones’ morning. If they still took two naps a day, that gave me two natural blocks of available time. But once that season passed, I found the toddlers loved to be in the mix of things. Sometimes they would be included in class, other times were set aside for their own quiet play.
9:00 – 9:30: Bible Class with family (Give the little one crayons and paper. It is a good time for them to learn to sit still and be quiet – for 30 minutes, on your lap if needed. If you have practiced Blanket Time, this is an easy transition.)
9:30 – 10:00: Toddlers Play Time (I kept several bins of toys tucked away so I could pull out a different one each day. The child should not be allowed to leave the designated area. If the next older sibling is available, it is a great time for them to be given a “babysitting job.” It is a good way for the older to learn to serve. ) *btw, don’t let them leave the area without picking up their things. It is a habit worth developing!
10:00 -10:30: A half hour educational movie. (I liked to look for something that might help them learn their letters or numbers. Remember to keep the volume low so as not to distract the students.)
10:30 – 11:00: By now the little ones are ready for some action and attention. It is important to remember to give them your focus as well or they will demand it in unacceptable ways. Take time to go outside, go for a walk, roll down some hills, PLAY!
12:00 Lunch (Sit down together. Give the kids a chance to talk about what they have been learning.)
1:oo QUIET TIME! If you have been following Not Without Aim at all, you know I love quiet time. It doesn’t matter what age, little ones should nap, readers should be reading, if reading hasn’t been mastered yet- picture books are available, and if anyone happens to fall asleep napping (that would be me), all the better!
1:30 Back to class – quickly before the babies awake!
3:00 Time to be done! Free! Go outside, play, explore, create…
Taking a little time to plan ahead goes a long way in keeping a step ahead of the crew.
Reality in our home, and most -I would think, is that some days it feels like discipline issues consume a lot of our time and energy. Don’t be discouraged. This training is just as important as the academics! Without the painful process of learning self- discipline, the academics are useless!