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Help me figure out what to do with my almost 4 year old!


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I have two dds, ages 5 1/2 and almost 4. The 5 year old is homeschooling K right now, and things are going well. My 3-almost-4 year old (in Nov.) is driving me to distraction, though. She is a very bright little thing and LOVES to do just about anything related to school/learning/books. However, since she will not officially be K age for two more years, I've tried to hold off a little. That is not to say that I don't prepare things for her to do; I do, but it's just not exactly what her older sis is doing. I usually alternate working with the girls--I'll work with DD1 and give DD2 something to do in the mean time, and then switch. Activities I've tried include everything from playing with Wedgits to drawing/coloring/writing (which she LOVES to do) to looking at books to playing with some of the fun educational games/puzzles we have (and which we spent a small fortune on :tongue_smilie: but are really quite good) to just playing ANYTHING. She just wants to be in the middle of what DD1 and I are doing. She starts whining and crying when she can't just do what we're doing, and as a last resort I threaten to send her out of the room.

 

Things are not going well. :blink::001_unsure: I keep thinking that DD1 would be better off in traditional school due to the distractions, but then DH disabuses me of that idea rather quickly. (Obviously, with more students there are even more distractions!) Really, though, this is all more about me than about DD1 being distracted--I'M distracted.

 

So what would you do? DD2 is obviously not up to DD1's ability level in terms of motor skills, etc., but she can read cvc words and LOVES to practice. I have workbooks/activities for her, but she's never as interested in those as she is what I'm doing with DD1. Basically, she wants my undivided attention. And yes, I have tried giving her attention first. It's funny, because of the two girls, she's the one who is most likely, willing, and able to entertain herself.

 

I guess I'm just looking for some BTDT consolation or some ideas on what to do.:bigear:

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Guest RecumbentHeart

I don't think I exactly have any BTDT advice but I do have an almost 4yo who is doing K level math work, working through Phonics Pathways and practicing his writing. My philosophy is that if they want to and can, I'm not going to hold them back. I don't have an older child I'm working with though so my situation isn't the same as yours. I do however have a 2yo and an 8mo so I know all about distractions. :) She may not be ready for what her big sister is doing, at least at the same pace, but is there a specific reason she can't try? If having her trying the same work doesn't change the situation any ... I'm all out of suggestions ... like I said .. I'm not exactly a BTDT mom. I will be listening in for what real BTDT moms have to say though :D

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Well, I actually don't know what BTDT is, but I'll tell you what I do.

 

We start school off together, with stories, memory work, songs, pledges, etc. But as soon as the academics start, Both 4 y/o and 2 y/o go to their room to read books on their bed. Now, it's been some work getting them used to that routine, and they are by no means used to it to my satisfaction yet, but that is our goal.

 

The school room must be absolutely quiet with no interruptions when 5 y/o is working on academics (math and phonics). That's my rule. I tried letting them play with educational toys from the school room closet while k'er was working, I tried letting them read books in the school room, but both of these were a failure as they were just too interested in what k'er is doing. So banishment from the room is what we had to to. :tongue_smilie: Some days are good, some days not so good, but we're working on it. I figure their time is coming for the one-on-one, so I don't feel guiltly.:D

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When you figure that out, please let me know, LOL!

 

:lol:

 

My 5 year old is so angelic, so patient, so incredibly SWEET -- while I'm about to LOSE it with my 3 year old twins! AAAAAAAHHHHHHHH! So, like I said, when you get this figured out....

 

No, seriously, we had such wonderful PLANS for this year, but they are just plans, aren't they? In a real day, we do about one-third to one-half of what I would LIKE to do, but my daughters are all still thriving at home.

 

Some things that seem to be working around here include:

 

1. Room Time -- in the morning, just after breakfast and chores, I put the twins into their room, with a bin of toys (e.g., building blocks, Noah's ark set, "doll stuff," etc.), put on a Wee Sing CD (ABC, 123, Opposites, Bugs), and put the gate up! I know that the Wee Sing CD will last exactly 20 minutes, and these are mostly uninterrupted minutes (with a few quick glances into the room to check on the girls). This is when my 5 year old and I work on Handwriting/Copywork. Her phonics is pretty squared away for now, for her age, so I'm stalling in the middle of OPG to get her writing up to speed. She really wants to write, so we're working on it.

 

2. "Tot School" -- then, the 3 year olds come out and get some attention. We "do Kumon." This is the most awesome thing on the planet, according to my 3 year olds. I have cut out the pages from the Kumon books (Easy Mazes, Lower Case Letters, Numbers, and so on), and put them into plastic sheet protectors. The girls each have a pencil/marker box with dry erase markers and an old washcloth. They hop up into their "work seats," ;) and write away! I will say, they are getting the hang of it, they just LOVE "writing" and making lines and so on. The next best thing is to sit on the floor and do cutting -- learning how to use scissors, one-on-one with Mommy! I think that giving them attention at this point really settles and satisfies them. They don't like being "ignored!" During "Tot School" my older daughter has usually been working on something more independent, such as working one of the Math Boxes (set up with manipulatives and clear assignments), practicing her time cards (with the Judy clock), working on an independent part of her math lesson, or something similar -- or even just playing with "Kweeezenary Rods." She builds cities and so on....

 

3. Mat Time -- then, the twins get out their mats from the cabinet, spread them out on the floor, and choose a "Toy Bin" from the bookshelf (sort of Montessori-style). They are learning to play quietly on their own with an ULTIMATUM from me: "It's your bed or your mat, you choose." Not surprisingly, they choose the mat! After about ten minutes, I say, "Switch!" and they trade places. All this time I am working with my 5 year old at the table in the same room.

 

4. Snack Time -- then we break for snack.

 

5. Potty/Music/Exercise/Fun Stuff -- usually after snack we deal with all bottom ends, dance/march to music, do something fun, such as a story time (with the felt boards). This brings the girls back together in a group and allows everyone to feel included -- my older daughter doesn't feel left out of "Play" and my little ones don't feel left out of "School!" Go figure, the grass is always greener.

 

6. Read Aloud -- Usually, we'll read aloud for about an hour. I place a LARGE stack of books on a chair by the sofa, pile the girls on top of my lap (it's a heavy load, let me tell you), and begin to read. I advise having water nearby, too, and a clock. It's easy to lose track of time. After an hour or so, I'm hoarse, and it's lunch time.

 

7. Lunch Time

 

8. Nap/Quiet Time -- they listen to music or audiobooks and always fall asleep for about 2 hours. It's nice.

 

9. Art/Crafts/Older's Reads -- in the afternoons and evenings. Sometimes Daddy will read toddler things like "Nursery Rhymes" to the twins while I read on the bed with the older (her "content reads").

 

Overall, this seems to be working, keeping me from going nuts. My one absolute rule this year is: When the twins are at the table, do NOT attempt to teach your older student. It's just impossible at this point.

 

One other thing that I've been thinking about lately -- Is this year a time for "cramming it in" to my oldest daughter, or is it a time for learning to be a homeschooling family? A time for enjoying their littleness? I realize that I have goals for her K year, but REALLY, there is more to learn (for all of us) than just the academics of Kindergarten. I have a vision for what we can learn this year about respecting each other's learning, taking turns, being patient when it's not our turn, listening and learning, and so on. I have a vision for how I will grow as a teacher and coordinator of three learners -- not just focused on one student... because I do have three! :D

 

And I am so glad that I do! HTH!

Edited by Sahamamama
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Oh, thank you, thank you, thank you RecumbentHeart, sarahv, and sahamamama for your kind responses and advice/ideas.

 

I think a large part of the problem is that this is the first time DD2 has been separated from DD1. They are 18 months apart in age, and DD2 was quite the surprise, so I think I've always treated them the same. Until now. :tongue_smilie:

 

At this point, I'm not sure that sending her to their room would work, but I like the idea of mat time. I just need to come up with some activities that would actually engage her. She likes to write a lot, so I've had some success with just writing her name and letting her trace it. Paper and pencils/crayons/markers keeps her busier than anything else. Part of the problem (which is a blessing, really, or at least it will be in the future) is that we're all together at one table (one of those kidney-shaped ones from Lakeshore Learning that we bought waaaaaay cheap). If we could ever get our learning room completely set up, I'll try to come up with other places for her to be.

 

What kinds of things do you have in your bins, Sahamamama?

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Guest RecumbentHeart

Reading these responses has been inspiring.

 

I'm in the process of setting up a bunch of bins for different activities. My brother-in-law is making a thing to hold them in. It seemed to be the only way to get control of the chaos and I'm looking forward to finally getting it ... supposing he ever finishes!

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I'm in a similar postion. 6 year old is in first. My just turned 4 year old wouldn't be in K for 2 more years. However, her school stuff is appropriate for a pre-K or Kindy program. We just take it light on the handwriting.

 

I vary the order I work with them. Working with the 4 year old first does help us, but I like to break up the olders work. So, usually I work with 6 year old, then 4 year old, then 6 year old again.

 

--I let the 4 year old play anywhere she wants to, as long as she is quiet and non-disruptive. :tongue_smilie: She can stay in the room with us, if she plays quietly. That's a pretty big motivating factor, because she doesn't like to be by herself.

 

--I let her play with the math manipulatives we are using.

 

--I let her play something educational on my phone or computer ( I have some letter games on my phone and starfall, etc... on the computer.) I do switch off and let older dd do the same when I am working with the 4 year old. The time spent on the computer doesn't come out even, but they are happy with the arrangement.

 

--I let her listen to my i-pod.

 

--TV doesn't work. I tried letting younger watch letter factory and older dd just couldn't focus, even though we were in a different room.

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We just do school together. My kids are 5yo, 3.5yo, and 1.5yo. For the most part they just want to be together. DS and younger dd might not always do the same thing as older dd, but I do plan something similar for them. We do read-alouds, Bible/Character narrations, art, science, nature study, and some extra language arts and math together. I also include some things geared toward the younger kids, such as puppets, musical exploration, and toddler games. Everyone takes a nap, but oldest dd stays up for a little longer than the others. This gives us one-on-one time 3 days a week to do handwriting, math, and spelling. I also get a little one-on-one time with younger dd or ds, depending on who wakes up from their nap first.

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I have a 3 year old doing K and a 18 month old who has to be involved. I do writing work with my son while Emma is down for a nap. Other than that we involved her. I bought a letter mat at Walmart that she traces letters on. She loves the math manipulatives. She has a cheap math workbook. We do all read alouds together. When we are doing phonics work on the white board, she is using chalk on the other side ( Melissa and Doug Easel ). She can do most of his science projects with us, with a little help from me. She has her own P 3/4 from Sonlight. She loves art !! It is a bit messy, but what ever makes her happy so I can work with her brother. We also have tons of educational toys that only come out when we are schooling.

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The only thing that has worked for us is to involve the younger one. My first and second are 3 years apart and, until this year, we always homeschooled the oldest. The second and third are nearly 4 years apart... and the youngest one wants to be involved in everything his older sister is doing JUST like she did with her older brother when she was that age.

 

Math:

measuring activity? Help older child measure younger one (Singapore Primary math sometimes has us measuring a hand or something)

manipulatives? Younger gets to use half of them, too. And sometimes the older one will get into it and start making up age-appropriate manipulative "puzzlers" for the younger one.

 

History:

get picture books about same topic and have older read to younger

let younger make his/her own lapbook on the topic

photocopy the map older one is coloring and let younger do it too

 

Spelling:

during older's lesson, use tiles on fridge to give the younger one appropriate spelling activities, too

 

Whenever older is using scissors or a ruler, get out another for the younger one too. In short: include younger one in everything, but with no expectations. (It's like a game of pretend. But you'll be amazed at how much more that little one will soon be able to do on his/her own!) I've found it's the only reliable way (and easy because I don't have to plan anything extra) to keep the younger one quiet. (I admit that I also have younger one's favorite puzzles, books, or manipulatives at an arm's reach during older one's "school" time, just in case...)

 

Enjoy!

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It's 9:30 pm here on the East Coast, and my husband gets up at 3:00 am... so, he tells me it's bedtime! :D BUT, I promise to get back here tomorrow and give you the run-down on what's in those boxes. Good night!

 

 

Sorry it took so long. My oldest was sick with a weird fever/fatigue for a few days, it had me distracted (translation: worried).

 

So, the boxes for the three-almost-four-year-old....

 

We live in a little house, so I anchored a bookshelf into one corner (fits perfectly) and purchased see-through tubs with lids that fit onto the shelf (some large, some small). I put a matching curtain over the front of the shelf (on a rod), so we can pull it at night to minimize the Romper Room effect in the living room.

 

What's in the boxes:

 

 

  • Seasonal Touch Tub -- this month it's autumn stuff: pine cones, colorful leaves, acorns, mini Indian corn, little gourds, pretty ribbon, etc. Here's a nice website for sensory tub ideas:

 

http://www.hubbardscupboard.org/activites_for_2_s.html#MonthlySensoryTubIdeas

 

 

  • Lincoln Logs with little ponies & a grooming brush -- I have girls! Do you think they build a fort, or brush the ponies? ;)

  • ABC blocks, toy tools, a little board (to pound/build on) + I get the "tool bench" from behind the sofa

  • Cars, trucks, planes, & Little People drivers & mechanic + I get the "parking garage" from behind the sofa

  • Farm animals, tractor & Little People farmers + I get the "mooing barn" from behind the sofa (it's crowded back there)

  • Wild animals set -- assorted plastic wild animals, grrrr, with animal print felt cut into rectangles for matching; also, plastic snakes, frogs & lizards for sorting onto paper plates with outlines drawn on

  • Magtastic & some stacking bowls -- more for the 3'ers here, but the 5'er likes this, too

  • Puzzles -- this is becoming more popular with one of my 3'ers

  • Pom Pom balls, salad tongs (the springy metal kind), & paper plates with colored letters on them (an orange O for "orange," a red R for "red," and so on)

  • Stringing beads & lace-up cards

  • Felt nursery rhymes & stories -- in labelled zipper bags; these need Mommy's supervision at this point, but the storytelling is going nicely. Sometimes, I let one of the girls "practice" telling/moving the story pieces on the felt board while listening to the story on a tape/CD from the library. They really enjoy this mastery, and after the practice, we all sit down and watch the storytelling! :D

  • A huge, wooden, Nursery Rhymes floor puzzle -- needs Mommy's help to do

  • Art Bin -- stays on top of the refrigerator, because glitter is forever

  • Play Dough Bin -- must do this in the kitchen

  • Music Bin -- comes out at "Music & Marching Time"

  • Felt shapes for counting -- my sister made this: Cut out little shapes in different colors/amounts; e.g., 2 black triangles, 3 green squares, 4 red circles, 5 pink hearts, and so on. Make shapes up to 10 (you'll have at least 11 of that shape). Cut out a mat from a large piece of felt, glue on the "extra" shape, write the numerals in fabric marker, and make a grid:

 

(Shape) 4 | (Space for four felt shapes)

line running here to separate sections

(Shape) 5 | (Space for five felt shapes)

line running here to separate sections

 

[Geesh! If I had a blog, I could post a photograph. I hope that explanation make some sense!]

 

I also have over a dozen "Math Boxes" for my K'er, but the 3'ers are too little for most of these (formally, playing is always fine):

 

 

 

  • Number line, snap cubes, math fact cards -- for learning +/- facts

  • Colored cubes -- patterns, counting, adding, sorting, matching, etc.

  • Colored tiles -- area, patterns, counting, etc.

  • Place value box -- place value blocks (units, longs, flats) with laminated file folder place value chart, number cards & dry erase markers

  • Place value pocket chart -- with straws & cards for the pockets

  • Cuisenaire rods -- with worksheets taken from Hands-On Math

  • Geoboards -- with worksheets taken from Hands-On Math

  • Pattern blocks -- for sorting, discussing attributes (shape, color, size, thickness)

  • Time box -- clocks & pieces from a time game (I have no idea where this came from)

  • Measurement box -- inchworm rulers, inchworms, various objects to measure & a worksheet to write down the inches

  • Calendar box -- laminated pieces for her wall calendar (updated daily)

  • Money box -- not much in there now, LOL, but that's reality-base math for ya! :lol:

 

One other thing, I can't remember if I mentioned it before...

 

If you can buy some Kumon books, get these for your 4 yo! They are great if you tear out the sheets (carefully), cut off the ragged edges, and slip them into plastic sheet protectors -- then put in a 3-ring binder. Your little one can practice again and again, just write on with a dry erase marker, wipe clean, and begin again! I highly recommend these (in plastic). We have so many, I can't even begin to list them. Check out Amazon.com, because they often have buy-3-get-4 deals on these.

 

http://www.kumonbooks.com/catalog/catalog_workbooks-preschool.aspx

 

HTH. Sorry so late... and then so long-winded.... I am just too tired to edit this.... Good night. HTH!

Edited by Sahamamama
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I didn't really have enough time to read the first posts but to entertain my almost 3 yo while I work with my DSDs I have a plethora of file folder games, Ispy preschool game, pattern blocks, magnetic letter links ect. Oh and lots of mazes which really engage him. I keep them in a workbox type system so they are easy to grab when we are schooling and that way he isn't driving us all batty the whole time we are working :D

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My youngest just turned 5 and my middle went through the same thing when the oldest was going through high school with me. What has worked here it to make schooling optional for the youngest. She has a phonics workbook, some coloring books, and a couple of math books plus a shelf of school story books. Everyday when I do school, I ask her (and previously the older one) if she wants to do school today. If she does, she joins us at the table and I take turns working with her and the older. If she doesn't want to do school, she can play in any acceptable place as long as she doesn't disturb us. If she interrupts school, then she has to play in her room for a while.

 

It wasn't easy to train each of the younger girls to accept that the one older is getting something that they aren't. It also wasn't easy for them to accept that I am busy with something else. But I just kept in mind, that the end goal is this good habit that helps our school day proceed more smoothly now. It really helped me to think of it as teaching a new good habit instead of trying to stop something that was bad.

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I have two dds, ages 5 1/2 and almost 4. The 5 year old is homeschooling K right now, and things are going well. My 3-almost-4 year old (in Nov.) is driving me to distraction, though. She is a very bright little thing and LOVES to do just about anything related to school/learning/books. However, since she will not officially be K age for two more years, I've tried to hold off a little. That is not to say that I don't prepare things for her to do; I do, but it's just not exactly what her older sis is doing. I usually alternate working with the girls--I'll work with DD1 and give DD2 something to do in the mean time, and then switch. Activities I've tried include everything from playing with Wedgits to drawing/coloring/writing (which she LOVES to do) to looking at books to playing with some of the fun educational games/puzzles we have (and which we spent a small fortune on :tongue_smilie: but are really quite good) to just playing ANYTHING. She just wants to be in the middle of what DD1 and I are doing. She starts whining and crying when she can't just do what we're doing, and as a last resort I threaten to send her out of the room.

 

Things are not going well. :blink::001_unsure: I keep thinking that DD1 would be better off in traditional school due to the distractions, but then DH disabuses me of that idea rather quickly. (Obviously, with more students there are even more distractions!) Really, though, this is all more about me than about DD1 being distracted--I'M distracted.

 

So what would you do? DD2 is obviously not up to DD1's ability level in terms of motor skills, etc., but she can read cvc words and LOVES to practice. I have workbooks/activities for her, but she's never as interested in those as she is what I'm doing with DD1. Basically, she wants my undivided attention. And yes, I have tried giving her attention first. It's funny, because of the two girls, she's the one who is most likely, willing, and able to entertain herself.

 

I guess I'm just looking for some BTDT consolation or some ideas on what to do.:bigear:

 

Let's see things I do with my 3 yr old and 2 yr old that doesn't require much of me:

 

I have these wipe-off books a maze book and an alphabet book. My kids use a vis-a-vis marker and then just wipe off what they wrote with a napkin.

 

I also found a website that has tot books you can make. My kids love these. www.lapbooksbycarisa.homestead.com/TotBooks.html

Actually she has thing called tot school that has a ton of ideas.

 

I have also noticed with the tot books that my older son will also teach the younger ones with these tot books. Very cute.

 

I have some Kumon workbooks that my 3 yr old loves. Tracing uppercase letters, mazes, they have alot to chose from can be found on amazon.com

 

Hope this helps.

Edited by OK Family
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