Her children are the players in this fantastic tale! They exit and enter with vibrant expressions, energy for days, and loads of curiosity. All the world is their classroom, and this homeschooling mom must play many roles.
Ok, that was quirky literature fun…..but…
With all seriousness, homeschooling multiple children is somewhat of a dramatic play. Well, at least in my imagination it is. I’m sure most homeschooling mothers will agree they are perfectly capable of educating their children and tailoring the learning to fit each child’s needs. A homeschooling mom is the daily dose of grace, truth, and love for their children. However, it is work!
That said, I am not Mary Poppins. There are days that the house is a hot mess, and the kids are in complete conflict over every little thing. If you thought I had it all figured out – stretch that!
In my 6 years of homeschool, I can say I’ve learned a thing or two. Let’s talk about that toddler who will eat paper and the preschooler with a 5-minute attention span. Yes, that sounds like fun, doesn’t it? But wait, there’s more…I homeschool 4!
Let’s add in a very hyper, sensory-seeking 1st grader, and for the extra attitude place the 4th grader in the lead! Now, that makes a very interesting cast of characters. Without further ado, here’s my list of 6 things I’ve learned during my journey, complete with pictures and helpful links.
6 Tips for Homeschooling Multiple Kids
1. Be Realistic
Young children will not sit for long, so don’t plan for that. I’m not saying lower your expectations. I am just saying, it’s best to plan to be flexible as you educate your older children. So, what works for me is a method I picked up from my years as a public-school teacher. I Do, We Do, You Do.
This simply means, mom instructs for a few minutes, we work on a concept or activity together, and then you do something on your own. This allows me to bounce from kid to kid, giving them each a little individualized time. We do most of our learning together and I strive to allow each child to engage with the learning on their level.
My mommy box is full of manipulative, and engaging activities for my preschooler and my toddler. It’s like having a bag of tricks ready for their wiggles and jiggles.
2. Rule Your Routine
There is nothing worse than starting a homeschool day with NO PLANS. Yes, be flexible but have a routine that the kids know and stick with. Don’t laugh, but the most important part of our routine is breakfast and a morning snack! I make sure my kiddos get their energy out and eat well before I start school. This keeps the wiggles down in the morning and right before their attention drifts at about 10ish, we grab a light morning snack.
Need some hearty breakfast ideas? Click here.
You will be amazed at what a family activity, game, or read-aloud will do! I remember a wise lady advising me to always have mini puzzles, crayons, paper, magnetic letters, crafts, games, and fun books ready to start with each day. One memorable family activity was our little Miracle Grow Garden, and it was so much fun! Some days we would start our day by simply saying “hello,” to our little tomato plants.
Morning Activity Idea: Take the book, “Chrysanthemum,” by Kevin Henkes. Read it aloud and discuss the topic of BULLYING! This book will allow you to discuss some big issues as well as teach children to cherish themselves and all their special attributes. Click here for more.
4. Simple Sensory
I know sensory play can be scary. However, if you plan for the mess, I promise you can get tons of work done as your little ones let their imagination run wild. Young children will sit in their highchair or on the floor with a tray or a plastic bin full of beans, rainbow rice, play dough, kinetic sand, water beads (only for 3 years old or older), craft bins, and so much more.
The sensory stations are truly the only thing that will keep them for hours. However, often I try to find ways to involve them in the learning. One way to involve younger children is during unit studies. You can find toys, coloring sheets and other hands-on activities that even your toddler can enjoy.
During our insect study, I printed a few pictures of butterflies and ladybugs for the little ones to color. I reused their coloring sheets throughout the unit and created a field of flowers and insects for my toddler to play in. To my surprise, my toddler and preschooler listened to the information as they enjoyed some imaginary play.
Oh, and there is nothing sweeter than a toddler saying butterfly.
6. Enriching Technology
We added two educational websites to our homeschool resources ABC Mouse and Education.com are two websites we absolutely love. They are filled with exciting activities and games as well as loads of curriculum.
In addition to these websites, we also added E-books to our classroom. My fourth grader absolutely loves E-books and you will too! E-books allow your kids to build a visual as they listen to the story. The theatrical reading will enhance comprehension.
Since we are talking about E-books, let’s end with a great list of them for you mom! Yes, there are so many great books on homeschooling. I hope you will take a listen and add some of these ideas to your day.
Share your tips for homeschooling multiples!