Thursday, October 6, 2011

Do Not Stab Your Sister

As expected, homeschooling with small children at home is, umm......challenging.

"Put those scissors up so the baby doesn't get them!"

"The abacus is not a toy"

"Okay, how many counters are there now that your sister has taken one away?"

"Pencils do not go up your nose!!!!!"

Thankfully, a homeschool day is much shorter than a typical school day. Working one on one at our own pace means we finish up all of Sierra's work in about 2-3 hours. Sedona only does about half an hour of seat work each day. That means the time I'm really sitting and actively teaching them something can almost exclusively happen during Secora's nap times.

There is still plenty of time Sierra needs to be working and Sedona's underfoot though. I've found a couple of tactics to help deal with this.

The first is busy bags. If you google, you can find busy bag ideas all over the internet. I got the idea from pinterest (where else?!) where I've started a busy bag board. I found these pencil boxes on sale at the office supply store for $0.40 each: After making sure Sedona could open them herself, I bought 12 of them. When I was looking for activities, I stuck with things that would be useful for her, but also easy enough that she can do them without my input. My goal is to keep her entertained while I do Sierra's math or history lesson, so having Sedona interrupting for help wouldn't be very useful. All of the busy bags will be in one basket and she will be allowed to choose one activity at a time with the rule that she has to clean up and put away one activity before moving on to the next.

The other idea I've implemented helps me minimize the amount of time I'm getting out supplies and looking for the next lesson to do. I picked up several vinyl folders when the school supplies went on sale. This is what they look like: I like that they have velcro to close and can hold more things than a regular folder (we sometimes need things like a deck of cards for math), but they still fit in a binder.

Over the weekend, I pull out all of the work for the coming week and put each day's work in one folder. For the subjects that aren't worksheet based, I write down what we will be doing for them each day. So when Tuesday gets crazy, all I have to do is pull out the Tuesday folder, and hand Sierra the worksheets to do. I can also see at a glance what other lessons we will be doing that day without having to pull out the math book and the science book and the history book. This is also helpful if we have somewhere to be for one of the little girls that day. I can just pull the folder out of my binder, put a pencil in, and Sierra can take it with her to work on everything. And on those days when life gets in the way and we don't finish all of the day's work (yes, it happens), we just move those sheets into the next folder to work on the next day.

I know some of my readers are homeschoolers. Do you have babies and toddlers around? How do you balance the little kids' needs with the schoolwork?

1 comment:

Carolyn said...

Why is it always Tuesday that blows up? ;)

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