Skip to comments.Tips for Frazzled (Homeschool) Moms
Posted on 10/05/2006 6:30:27 PM PDT by DaveLoneRanger
Any home-schooling family with more than one child knows the challenge of keeping Baby Kong from tearing apart the house during school time. Now that we are teaching the oldest two of our four children, my wife, Mary, has had to develop an intricate strategy in order to have a productive day.
We would like to share with you some tips on how to deal with those unruly toddlers and make it through this difficult and often exhausting stage of home school life.
1. Get them involved.
It seems like our two youngest children save their worst behavior for school time. We have found that many times they just want to be included in on the fun. If well give them some school work to do, they feel like they are involved. This could be something as simple as a special coloring book that you set aside as their home school book. Granted, this will only last a short time, but its a start.
2. Time their naps.
Most children in the pre-school years are still taking a daily nap. We have found that we can accomplish quite a bit during nap time. Save the most difficult subject for this time of day.
3. Baby swap.
Most home school families know of a few other families that are also experiencing the same challenge. Consider trying a kid swap. You take their younger pre-school age kids for a day and let them teach a few lessons to your older children. The next day switch places. This will mean a nice break for the kids as well, being taught in a different environment by someone else.
4. Special toys.
Put aside a box of toys that are reserved for school time. These toys could be ones that are more educational in nature. A set of Lincoln Logs will keep their attention much longer than the same old toys they always play with. The key is to make it a toy that will not require supervision from you. Puzzles can be good if they are simple enough for them to figure out on their own.
5. Tag team.
If you are teaching more than one older child at a time, you may have one of them watch the young ones while you focus on an individual. This will teach them responsibility for their sibling as well as leadership. It will train them for the future when they may be caring for children and possibly home schooling themselves. Dont be afraid to put the older ones in charge and instruct the younger ones to obey them. The older sibling will gain great confidence and respect from the younger ones. This will be invaluable when you are not around to keep an eye on them.
6. The playpen.
If there is one gift that I would like to give to each of my children when they have their first child, it is a playpen. Getting the child used to it at an early age is the key. There will be times when they will wail to get out, but if you persevere, you will have a great tool to use for half hour periods when you cannot be distracted.
7. The dreaded video.
Many parents that were flooded with TV when they were young have banned it completely in their homes. This is understandable. If you have not quite reached that point yet, the occasional video can be a great help in getting the young ones to focus on something else besides digging through the garbage can. Why are they so attracted to the garbage anyways?
Home schooling is not an easy task, especially when you have toddlers. Millions of parents have done it and so can you if you take some time to strategize. The main thing is to view these little ones as the blessing that God says they are, instead of the nuisance they seem to be at the time. I always tell my wife to relax and focus more on the relationships we are creating, because the academics will follow. May God richly bless you in this rewarding adventure.
This is a good time for everyone to share their tactics as well!
None of this works especially well, in my experience, if your goal is to teach the older children Latin or Algebra.
If nothing else, all the older children will have excellent qualifications in Early Childhood Education. My oldest has it to a science. She's got our 2- and 4-year-olds reenacting the Gulf War with Lego and blocks. "C is for Capitalism, Pat. James, R is for Radical Islam."
I found it useful to turn the playpen upside down on the little monster.
Seriously, the baby loved listening to tapes on her own tape player. She also sat under the table and learned to read and write at 3.
"'Garbology' pronounced as (gar-BOL-uh-jee) means "study of a society or culture by examining what it discards". The word comes from garbage (which was originally the word for offal from fowls) + -logy(study).
Garbology is the study of refuse and trash. It is an academic discipline and has a major outpost at the University of Arizona long directed by William Rathje."
Bump! I'm already LOL at the responses - this looks like the start of a fun thread of ideas :D
Where else can you find such a rich array of colors, textures and tastes?
Great for Mom's of youngers... but what about when there's a broad range of ages... 5, 9, 10 and 12? (K, 4, 5 and 8th)
I've decided that 1 1/2 to 2 hours of intense one on one with each child is more than they would receive in ps and they have the rest of the day to build family relationships and persue their own interests. They are learning what they need to learn academically and more importantly, the REALLY valuable skills... self-directed study, familial relationships and caring for our home.
In our school, they have to do something educational from 9 to 3... no mindless tv shows. They play educational games together, read novels together (We're going thru the Chronicles of Narnia with study guides right now), make up plays and other shows for Mom and Dad, handwork, art, 8th grader is doing a PowerPoint presentation of family photos... as well as Animal Planet or Food Network shows on tv.
Then I would match and cross match my children to teach each other; the oldest with the youngest, etc. while I worked with the others. Lastly EXCELLENT foreign films and cartoons with subtitles. Seeing films from other countries, encouraged my children to not only want to read, but to also learn multiple languages, and they did.
Most important, however, was exercise time. Didn't matter -- learning sommersaults, catch with a football, yoga (yes!); but lots and lots of physical play. Then a snack, and I had ready learners.
Finally, a game came out where you compete with others using the dance foot steps visually produced on the screen. At moments of mass noise, I'd call a halt to studies, and we'd boogey on down, competing with each other -- everyone getting to be a star. Boosted their confidence, spun off natural childhood energy levels, and calm children sat to learn again.
My kids still remember the day I had us all doing headstands against the wall while I drilled them on rote math. They are each really good at math. We did a major outting every week. We got out of the house every single day for exercise/errands/socializing. Just a few of my home methods. Very full days, and worth every moment.
This is a new concept for me but this is what is working...so far!! We have several different tubs/baskets of toys for our almost one year old. Each tub keeps her busy for 15-20 minutes with very little effort on my part.
She has a crate full of all different kinds of books that she sorts through. After that I give her a basket of balls that she throws and chases and then throws again. We have a side table/storage thing that keeps noisy educational toys at her level. She can now open the door to it herself which is a big help. We do the Baby Einstein or Holy Baby videos, at least one per day which takes about 30 minutes. She also loves to be in her highchair at the table with us eating little snacks.
This covers the morning up until nap time. We cover most of the subjects that the kids can do with a little help from me and save the harder topics for when the baby sleeps.
I will eventual include her a little more at a time with "school only" games/toys/activities. Doesn't always work! :o(
I've been surprised at how quickly my son, now 4.5 yo, took to the computer. With our laptop, I can seat him near us and he keeps busy at pbskids.org and other websites as well as educational software. Don't think it would have worked at age 2 or 3, though.
When our 5 year old was younger, we'd give her a piece of plastic lacing and some Cheerios or Froot Loops to make edible jewelery. As she got older we switched to large beads, gradually getting smaller. Now the 3 girls make beaded jewelery.
Oh, Play-dough was also fun in the high chair in the kitchen. I just gave her cookie cutters and other plastic "stuff" to "cook" with.
Don't under-estimate your kids. Our 12 year old could load games on the computer before I learned how to, at age 3. We bought a lot of educational games for her to use and she picked stuff up way ahead of time... learned fractions with a computer game at age 6. On her own. I was busy with the high schoolers in another room.
This post made me smile -- it's easy to identify with the writer, even though I had only one child and didn't homeschool him. Loved the line about digging through the garbage. I hope this inspires some frazzled homeschooling parents.
Your home page quote about lending books reminded me of a true story I heard about a missionary who had lots of books and loved to read. She also lent a lot of her precious books to others. She was in a very hot, humid climate and had her books in a wicker basket in her bedroom. Something happened (can't recall what), but every single book she owned was destroyed by the climate. Every book except the ones she had lent to others, who then returned them. So the only things she had left were the things she'd given away.
I will give this advice or opinion at least.
Get them involved in some sort of activity.
I have 3 in Gymnastics and 1 in Gung Fu.
I honestly believe that extracaricular activities make a big difference to whether or not they get in trouble later on.
I remember when I in high school, I didn't have time to get into much trouble because I was always doing some sport.
Uh, duct tape and velcro?
...yeah, that's it. Just joking.
Can you tell I've had a rough week?
Seriously, though, I now live for my quiet time in the morning. I get up earlier now so that I can read my Bible and a chapter of "The Power of a Praying Wife" before anything else. That's where I'm headed right now.
Only thing is that I've discovered a new addendum to Murphy's Law! No matter how early Mom gets up for some quiet time, the child's radar will sound and he/she will rise within 15 minutes of mother. The child that has to be chisled out of bed at 8am to get ready for church will come prancing to the living room at 6:30 if Mom is attempting to enjoy some solitude. funny "ain't" it?!
Nah, it's not really.
That sounds very familiar. We have twin sons in the first grade and a daughter in pre-K. Last year, while my sons were doing kindergarten phonics and math, my daughter would sit under the school table and color. Whenever I'd ask a question, she would pop her head out with the (usually correct!) answer. During that time, she taught herself to write and is getting close to reading.
As for keeping her busy, I've decided to stop trying. Granted, she is 4 so we're not talking about a toddler. For every subject my sons have, she has her own workbook. She participates in everything they do to whatever extent she can. She also has a special stash of toys and puzzles that she can play with only during schooltime. Those are for when she *really* won't cooperate. That's not too often, though.
Doncha just love conservative homeschoolers! LOL!!
I remember taking my eldest to a party. A bunch of Republicans were there. I turned to find my then five-year-old son speaking intently with Rep. Steve Largent. He was standing with his hands behind his back, peering up at Mr. Largent, Mr. Largent was bending down talking to him and there was a crowd of about a dozen people standing around listening.
My husband and I just stood and observed while they talked about the Revolutionary War, Taxation without Representation and the three branches of the government.
Mr. Largent turned to the hostess and said "Where does this boy go to school!!??" The hostess said "He's homeschooled." and everyone smiled and looked at each other and Mr. Largent said "Oh, well that explains it."
Nice man, Mr. Largent! My oldest daughter went through a phase of talking about the Revolutionary War all the time, too. I guess the issues are sufficiently clear even for a youngster to get a firm grasp.
I'm starting to worry that the little boys have absorbed too much FReep culture, though ... on one occasion at church, Patrick pointed a pocket calculator at the priest and went BEEEEEEEB! And then when Father Hawker didn't notice, he yelled, "I Zotted you with my beeber, Father ... that's it for you!"
Fortunately, it was a weekday, and the service was almost over, because the whole congregation had hysterics.
(Pssst! Do you have a large, top-loading freezer?)
I'm having one of those weeks, too.
LOL! (Good carving, too!)
Both my children were school age before I started homeschooling....(I was homeschooling when homeschooling wasn't cool:). They went to PS till my son was a 5th grader and my daughter a 2nd grader, they are now both married with children of their own.
One thing that might help tho, for parents with toddlers around, would be a program that did not require "teaching" on the parents part. Check out the ACE homeschool program, (Accelerated Christian Education). It's a strictly self taught program, requires almost NO teaching on the parents part, but IMO, give the kids an excellent education. Discovering this program was the only reason I felt confident enough to take on HS.
"So the only things she had left were the things she'd given away."
What a neat story! I had a lot of books I'll call "fluff" that I have given away. The kind of books that are fine to read once but I wouldn't bother reading them a second or third time. I have a small stash of books I read over and over and am reluctant to part with. I try not to be attached to things but I really love books!! :o)
I'm not trying to wish the baby's life away but I will be glad when she's a little older and can play with playdough without me having to worry about her eating it. :o)
"the child's radar will sound and he/she will rise within 15 minutes of mother"
This is exactly why I just stay in bed as late as I can possibly get away with. It is the only quiet time in my life!
"I'm having one of those weeks, too."
Thankfully it is Friday and we actually kept up with studies this week so we have the day off. That's why I'm still sitting here on FR at nearly 10 A.M.! The kids are pretending to be spies and are using a dishwasher box as their home base. I love watching them play like this. It makes it all worth while. ;o)
We'd be at the library, but we've taken our 2-year-old out of diapers, and he hasn't decided to tell us when he needs to go yet ...
We're in the second week of this, and everyone's getting a little crazy!
I have three boys, ages 10, 8, and 5. The only thing that ever seemed to work for me is having them each sit at a different desk separate from each other in their rooms. Quietly handing each his own assignments and keeping them separated worked well.
Of course, their desks are small and clutter quickly with books and papers, so, the reality is, they rarely do work at their desks. We usually homeschool at the dining room table. Just yesterday, I had to scold them into doing their assignments because they wouldn't sit still and they kept joking around with each other. But, every now and then, I'm able to organize everything, and then it's back to the desks for a short period of time... until the clutter builds again. ;-)
Thanks! One day, I will hear those magic words, "I need to go to the bathroom," followed by the appropriate action. But not today, yet ...
didn't need special toys for him... just his normal stuff... and a stack of magazines that he could look through... no kidding... not long after he began sitting up on his own, he would flip through the pages of magazines... i talked to him a lot... taught him his phonics sounds by the time he was 30 months... knew all his shapes, colors and could count and recognize 1-20 at a very early age... i think it was because he was right there with us... he sat through all the history and literature...
i would relive those early days in a heartbeat... now the boys are six and ten, and i'm amazed at how easy the 6- year old's learning is going... i think it's because he completed all the K-1 years when he didn't even realize he was learning anything... it's a joy! the 10-year old is doing well, too...
The first education I got from anyone was back in the early 1950's when my mother taught me how to read the newspapers and the few books we had lying around as if the wind had blown them into our little corner.
Nevertheless, it sufficed. I vividly remember watching her make alphabet flash cards which would, she claimed, help. I was about 2 years old. I could read the papers by myself by the time I was 3, thanks eternally to a mature, well-rested parent reading out loud and pointing to the text.
If there's a magic formula for learning, it probably begins with such a parent, and perhaps contains only a dash of educational materials. We had a television set, as it was called then, but there was almost nothing on back then. We had a yard to play in and toys to play with---but not so many that a child's attention span got divided into a fine mist.
If you're a parent and you're at home, don't send the kids to their studies or their toys. Include them in what you're doing, even if you're just reading the paper, or baking, or bathing the baby, or changing the oil in your car. Building a model plane with you is more to a child, than flying to the moon with a stranger.
Love that phrase. One homeschool author I've read advocated "planting" books. I practice it, and my son reaps the reward!
Same here on every point.
Sounds like you both need a day off to breathe. That's one thing I love about educating my own... when things get too hairy, we can take a personal day to destress.
Gotcha... smells too good not to eat!
Me too!!! KKid5 will kiss me on the cheek and sneak off to watch tv or read a book til Mom manages to get out of bed.
We either sit at the dining room table or the coffee table in the living room... they all have a fairly short attention span, so after 15 or 20 minutes, if they aren't done yet, we take a little break and go climb the cherry tree or something, then back to the grind.
Welcome to Free Republic and thanks for the kind thoughts! It's always inspiring to hear from people who've survived homeschooling for the long haul.
Next week we're going to be at church a good part of the time, getting ready for a festival next Saturday. (Why do I volunteer for everything?) We can all use the time out of the house, and I can always have a brother take James to piddle behind a tree, if necessary :-).
Thanks, T-C... I've been here a couple months, mostly on the ME daily thread... but I do read most of the home education threads.
Hope your festival goes well. It's time for James to learn the fine art of tree piddling!
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