Jump to content


New homeschooler, need suggestions for how to survive managing my younger kids!


Recommended Posts

Hi everyone,


I'm new to homeschooling, planning to "officially" start this fall with my soon-to-be 7 year old DS. I have two other DSs in the house, a 4 year old and a soon-to-be 2 year old. I have been trying to start homeschooling this summer, not even a full plate but basically math (to catch up what was NOT done this past year in 1st grade, it's amazing how little they do in public schools now in math!! My DS is an advanced reader but still has trouble with basic math facts!) and some language arts.


We do homeschooling at our dining room table and we start these activities in the morning. As soon as I am at the table with my eldest, the other two come running. I try to keep them occupied with whatever I have on hand--dry erase boards, preschool workbooks, manipulatives--but they are so distracting and make so much noise, and my previously easygoing and sweet toddler has found his voice and screams at the top of his lungs if he is not getting the attention he wants!


I am using a combo of Math-U-See and Singapore Math, along with FLL, this summer. But it doesn't feel like there is that much independent work going on--I feel like I have to do a fair amount of shepherding my eldest; I also am doing OPGTR and basic math for my 4 year old. Trying to figure out how to fit these things in and give each individualized attention while keeping the toddler occupied or quiet is proving to be much more diffucult than I had ever imagined!


So, I'd love help from those of you who are experienced and used to juggling multiple children. How do you fit it all in, what are your tricks to keeping toddlers in particular occupied, what concessions/decisions/tradeoffs did you have to make in order to effectively school your different kids? Any and all nuggets of wisdom would be appreciated! I am feeling a little like I have bitten off way more than I will be able to chew! I do firmly believe God has called us to homeschool and that He will provide the necessary wisdom and patience that I need, but right now I could also use some practical suggestions to keep from tearing my hair out and to not grow weary of homeschooling before we even really begin!


FYI, we'll be using MFW Adventures in the fall. I'm not sure how hands-on/independent it is, so it will be interesting to see how that works with my current situation.


Thanks in advance for any help you could provide!






Married to wonderfully gifted classical pianist, 13 yrs

Blessed mom to three amazing DSs, 7, 4, and 2

New homeschooler hoping to stick with it past year 1!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Well, the 7yo can entertain the toddler while you work with the 4yo. 20-30min is plenty for a 4yo imho.


Maybe try giving the toddler 1-on-1 attention first, then bring out some toys only available during school time.


If all else fails, school the 7yo during the toddler's nap.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I allowed Dot to watch educational videos while I worked with Yacko. Before I knew it, she was reading, writing and doing simple math. (1+1=2, and so on.)


She turned four in October of that school year, and was reading the BOB readers in April.


Our favs are mostly on PBS: WordGirl (building vocabulary), Cyberchase (math awareness, although the higher concepts were over her head), Wishbone (intro to classic literature) and (her very favorite) Between the Lions (phonics instruction.)


The August we first began homeschoooling we bought the leapfrog Letter Factory and Math Circus DVDs as well.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

My kids are a little younger than yours but what has worked is my 3.5 yr old gets to watch TV while the 6.5 yr old does lessons and the little one naps. I've tried play dough, drawing, etc. at the table for the 3.5 but she doesn't get the not to interrupt part.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

First of all, pray for lots of patience!!!! This year, I will have a 10, 8, 6, and 4 year old. I'm hoping it will be easier this year. Some things that have worked in the past:


Preschool Activity Bags - you can get the ebook on currclick.com. It's great for self-entertaining activities for your little ones.


PBS - Wordworld is great and Super Why - both teach reading skills and my little ones look forward to these shows!


Utitlize time with older siblings - I have paid my older children to "teach" my younger ones - This gives them a chance to earn extra spending money and makes it more of a "job" for them. You can have a school box handy and let the older child pick the activity for the day - some suggestions:

puzzles, play doh, books to read, workbooks, legos, games, etc.


I wouldn't recommend teaching during naptime simply because with all those kids, you need a break too!!!


I know some people who stick their kids in the highchair for half an hour with a sucker!


"Room time" was a life saver for me when my kids were little. Train them now in the summer to go to their roooms for 30 -45 minutes each day and play alone. I would start out with maybe 5 - 10 minutes and work your way up to 45 min. Put up a gate, turn on some happy kid music, give them a sippy cup of favorite drink, pull out some toys they don't normally play with and let them have fun! Most importantly, set a timer so they are trained to start clean up when timer goes off. When room is clean, they can come out. Works like a charm!!


If I think of any more ideas, I'll let you know. Good luck!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Don't expect a tremendous amount of independant work from your 7yo. Just be grateful for ANY independant work that is done and realize that he will gradually become more independant over the next few years.


Homeschooling with a toddler were the hardest years for me. Obviously this is a short phase so just enjoy your toddler and realize that next year will be easier and the year after that will be even easier!


I do something with my littles before trying to work with my olders. I keep boxes of toys/etc. that only get pulled out to play with once per week. THe novelty of only having monday mornings to play with x means they might actually play with it quietly for a long period of time. With my preschoolers our choices are more educational such as pattern blocks/watercolor/playdoh. When my littles were toddlers is was duplos/blocks/wooden train set/etc. I did have a crates that were put up and away designated for M/T/W/TH and they really only played with those items in the crates on those days.


I also have a little kid size table so if the littles desire to do "schoolwork" then they can do it on that table in an adjacent room. It is really too distracting to have little siblings drawing and coloring at the table with the older children.


My daily schedule with a toddler might be having the 7yo play with the toddler while I spend 20-30 min with the 4yo. Then pulling out the box of the day and spending about 10 min getting the 2yo and 4yo working with their activity. I would do the 3rs with the 7yo FIRST so that hopefully we are able to get through math/writing/reading before the first interruption. The littles could participate with the remainder of MFW adventures as able but if they wanted to keep with their activity I would encourage it. If your toddler naps you could plan to do part of MFW ADV during that time. Personally I used naptime to stay on top of housework!


MFW is a really good choice for you because it is not time consuming and you have a lighter Friday. You could use this lighter Friday to complete any activities that your older did not get to during the week. With a toddler and preschooler in the house there will be stuff that doesn't get done! Concentrate on getting the basics done first and everything else is just EXTRA. You will have a good year.


The first year homeschooling is the hardest and a first year with a toddler will be even harder. Just remember that once this year is done that it will be downhill from here!!


Above all......HAVE FUN!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I only have 2, so I'm in a lot easier place than you are, but here's how it worked for us. Here's how we do things: hopefully you'll find something in here you can use as well, with your three.


I never taught ds6 more than 15 minutes in a row, so that means that ds3 never was alone for more than 15 minutes. Then I would alternate their time with me. For example:


1. ds3's bible story

2. ds6's bible story

3. ds3's Sesame Street magazine.

4. ds6's math lesson

5. ds3's coloring page

6. ds6's reading lesson.


Back and forth, back and forth. If each child knew they would get their 15 minutes with me, they were less likely to interrupt when I was with the other child.


Also, we always did everything in the same order. So, that as soon as ds3's bible story was done, he knew it would be time for him to play while I read to ds6.


We do homeschool in the playroom so that whoever is not being taught can play with anything they like.


It made homeschool take a LOOOONG time, but at least there was peace of mind throughout it. It took a few weeks for everyone to get the rhythm down and there were lots of interruptions at first, but it got easier after a month or so.


Also, if you have a timer, that can be good. Let the little's know that when the timer beeps it's their turn. That way they won't keep asking, "Is it my time yet?"


Everyone has given you great ideas. Hopefully a big mixture of all of them will help you along! (I like the tv and in the chair with a lollipop ideas!)

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.


  • Create New...