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How do you do it with younger children at home


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I am just starting doing a more kindergarten curriculum with dd. So far I do stuff during the baby's nap but once I add math to the mix I won't have enough time to do everything during the nap. I can do reading and stuff like that but a lot of stuff I need to really sit and work with dd on and it isn't stuff where my younger kids can be a part of too. Then when I go on to first grade and higher grades there is more expected and I have to add on other subjects and eventually the younger kids will be ready for school too. How do you balance it all and get things done? Some days I feel like I can do it and that she is learning so much more with me than she did at preschool and other days I feel overwhelmed and ready to throw in the towel on this homeschooling thing because there is no way I can give my kids a really good education. There is a really good homeschool network here but I don't know where we will live. I can't use the network yet because she misses the cut off for this state with a September birthday but since I don't know where we will end up and she seems ready for more and does like working on things I decided to start kindergarten.

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I just blogged about this yesterday. I am still dealing with this with my just turned 3 year old. Trying to find as many independent activities for your older one is key. We are heading out the door right now, but I will be sure and try and find some great threads on this topic.

It can be done, we just need to think out of the box - that was hard for me at first.


Good luck!

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Up until this year I did all of my oldest dd's math and language arts work during the younger kids' nap times. This year it's a little tougher, as I have a second grader and a kindergartener, plus a 3yo and an almost 2yo (and in two months I'll also have a newborn). Only the toddler still takes a nap. I plan on adding more subjects soon but this is what our current schedule looks like:


6:30 wake up, eat breakfast, clean-up, brush teeth, get dressed, shower (dd and I alternate days), start laundry


8 or 8:30ish: dd's morning work (math, WWE, and Prima Latina)

The other kids often play upstairs. Or they might color, play with play-doh, use math manipulatives, etc.


9:30: morning snack


K ds's read-alouds


11: toddler takes a 2ish hour nap


ds's work: handwriting, math, and word-building/reading games


dd's work: spelling or grammar (alternate days)


Outside time, when the weather cooperates, or more read-alouds, play-doh, crafts, etc.


1: lunch (toddler is usually up by then)


2: quiet time for 3yo and 5yo, but toddler is with us downstairs


dd's afternoon work: anything we didn't get to in the morning


history or science (alternate days)


DS is pretty laid back. Sometimes he gets into trouble, but he usually either plays by himself, or I set him up to color or play with play-doh nearby.


4: Quiet time is done and the kids clean up their rooms before snack time. After we moved some of dd's work to the morning she is usually done by 3 or 3:30 and has free time until 4.

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It gets easier as they get older. For one thing, in another year, you're younger two will be able to play together more. I tell my younger two, "Go play!" Bugging us earns them a trip to their room for about 15 minutes.


I do NOT try to keep my little ones entertained. They can entertain themselves. I do make available things like Color Wonder, Playdoh, etc. They have plenty of choices to keep them busy.


Recent months, when my youngest has been 2.5, have been much easier than last January when we started with an 18 month old. I think next year will be even better when he's 3!


Other things that help... All 3 kids have school desks. My middle son has preK and K things that we do occasionally. My youngest haas an old math book from middle child, so he thinks it's real (which it is... It's just used ;) ). The younger two have crayon boxes of their own, coloring books, scrap paper, etc. If they think they need to do school, they can work right alongside us. That happens for about 5 minutes, then they go off and play. Also, if I'm doing actual school with one (the middle one), I often do him first, then the oldest. That way the younger one feels like he hasn't been left out.


There are still things I put off until nap time, but I'm able to do a lot more in the morning than I used to.

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I do not entertain my younger kids. Baby-gating in the area around the family room and making sure it is baby-proof has been the most effective way for me. I sit on the sofa and the kids rotate in and out while I typically stay in the family room w/the baby/toddler.


Our days start at 5 am (my high schoolers and I are up while the younger kids are still asleep.) I find it easier to work early when they are sleeping. I then work w/my Ker when she wakes up. After I finish w/her, she is often responsible for entertaining the little one for short intervals.


I wouldn't stress about it. A routine/solution that works for your family will evolve as the kids go through their various stages. What works for others may be a disaster for you. (For example, I cannot live by a schedule. Nor can I work w/charts/rewards/etc. They drive me crazy.) However, I do like the "peg philosophy." (Certain activities are tied to certain pegs. For example, the first thing I do every morning when I wake up is throw in a load of laundry.......so laundry is "pegged" with waking up.) Here is a link w/more of a description if you would find it helpful:


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Thanks. I don't entertain the other kids but the problem is my 3 year old is used to having my 5 year old to play with and gets into a lot of trouble. He is sensory seeking and just gets into trouble. My youngest is 15 months and doesn't play with my son yet. She is actually almost younger because she isn't walking yet and going through major sepration anxiety. She is in EI right now for some delays. I think she will outgrow them and is just a late bloomer but for now she isn't making this easy. I was starting later in the day during dd's nap time but maybe doing some things in the morning will help. I like the peg idea. I will have to read up on that. I think that may work better for me than a strict schedule.

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I stress(ed) about this very thing. The thing is, it is different every single year. You add a kid into the schooling mix, you add another baby, one toddler is a huge handful because all s/he does is crawl on the table or steal pencils/markers to write on the walls (in the other room), a kid who always napped for two solid hours suddenly gives up her nap, etc.


:grouphug: It is a daily struggle. Once you feel like you finally have everything in hand (most days), something changes and you are right back with throwing your hands up.


I "wore" my babies (up to 18 months for the lighter ones) many a morning while "doing school" until naptime to keep them happy.


Nowadays, I add in crafts for the preschooler. If they like to color, that is a good 10-15 minute window at the table while you are doing math with a K'er.


If my preschooler doesn't interrupt during math time with my older(s), I let him play (build) with our math manipulatives (Cuisenaire Rods or Base 10 Blocks) once we are done.


Luckily, my kids have all enjoyed being read to while quietly playing. That has been super helpful for getting through read-alouds & CM-oriented subjects.

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Naptime . . . and spacing them close enough that there are always enough little ones to play with each other. ;)


Seriously, it's a challenge. What works now won't work in 6 months. I'm constantly adjusting our schedule as the needs and challenges of the little ones change. We started out this year getting everything done in a single block in the morning. The baby was still taking a 2 hr long morning nap, so I kept the 3-year-old entertained with coloring activities or playing nearby and it worked perfectly. Now the baby has given up his nap, so we are in the process of adjusting to a split schedule. We do just basics in the morning (while the 3-year-old and 1-year-old play together) and then we take a break where I can give the little ones more attention while the big kids read or practice piano. Then during afternoon naptime we finish all of our other subjects. It will work for now, but in the fall I'll have another little one and everything will have to adjust once more.


Having little ones just requires a lot of patience and flexibility.

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