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"Classroom management" for homeschool


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Help me.

 

I taught elementary school for 2 years and I felt like for a brand new teacher I was above average in my ability to manage the classroom. As a homeschooling mom, I am about to throw in the towel because I get so frustrated.

 

My homeschooled kids are 9, 8, 6, 3 and 1 and the age range is difficult. I can keep the attention of 30 10-year olds but I am failing at making our school days at home anything but chaos and mayhem. Our "morning meeting" where we read scriptures and a couple light stories and a short Spanish lesson are usually chaotic and interrupted thanks to the 3 and 1 year old.

 

For their individual subjects, it's even more mayhem and NOT because of the littles. It's a lot of "canyouhelpmenowcanyouhelpmenowcanyouhelpmenow" while I am busy helping another child. Even when I ask them to do something independently (like read, or play, I don't even care!) the nagging is constant. The 9 and 8 year olds want to finish their school work as soon as possible, but they all demand my attention at the same time. Throw a nursing 1 year old and spunky 3 year old into the mix, and it's mayhem.

 

Today I was sitting with the 6 year old doing LOE while the 3-year old played with a white board. The older 2 were demanding my help (while simultaneously grumbling about school in general) and I managed to get the 8 year old to do a 5 minute typing lesson on the computer, but then it was back to nagging and nagging. I had to stop to change a poopy diaper and every time I got up from the table, the 6 year old disappeared.

 

I finally called it quits when the 9 year old (who is lovely and kind and responsible) refused to be redirected to more independent work while I helped the 6 year old. I just couldn't take it. I can only calmly say "I will help you when I am done with this lesson" so many times before I lose it.

 

I feel like I need some structure and routine so that there is a very specific schedule for the day so that there is time set aside for each child to work with me while the others are occupied with someone else. I need ideas on how to make it work. I probably only need 30-45 minutes with each kid. But we can't really do anything all at the same time at the table because turning my attention to the 8 or 9 year old frustrates the 6 year old.

 

At the moment, we get up and do our chores and then start school. I have stated hundreds of thousands of times by now that we start after chores. But every. single. morning while I am still finishing cleaning up (and the bigger one have already done their own chores) they start witu the nagging. Canyouhelpmenowcanyouhelpmenowcanyouhelpmenow. When I say "we will start our school day when I am finished with the dishes" they hear "ask her again, but even more annoyingly this time."

 

I am looking for tips other people's experiences scheduling out their day so that each child gets their time with mom while the others are independently occupied.

 

I need help with routines. Organization. I feel like I handle the 1 and 3 year olds interruptions okay. But trying to work with each kid has been a total flop.

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I am not a fan of ACE schools, but one thing they do stuck out to me - each kid has a flag they can raise.  The facilitator will come around and help when they see the flag raised.  Something like this might not be a bad idea in a home environment when you're feeling pulled.

 

I might start with staggering the kids, though.  Be firm, and give each one a different schedule that rotates free play, independent work, and work with you.  Set timers to help get them on the new routine.  And lay it down with what interruptions are tolerated and which are not.  I like the idea of an interruption chart so kids can see how they're abusing the privilege.  I also would strongly suggest having activities that are ONLY for certain times - things they know how to do, are self correcting, and don't require you to explain or look at.  If they are stuck, they can pull out one of those activities to work on until you get to them. We have independent work stations in our house that I can direct a child to, with the other option being playing quietly in their room until it's time to have one on one lessons.

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You have one more kid than me, but a similar-ish age span.

 

First, I see all of this as more "family management" than specifically homeschool management.  One of the huge advantages of homeschooling is that character training can happen constantly and consistantly throughout a childhood, rather than from 7-8am and 3:30-8pm (barring sports activities and day care...!).    This wasn't my original reason for homeschooling, but this advantage has become a HUGE reason now that I see how it works.  

 

Here is our schedule, and some of our rules:

 

- After breakfast, big kids do morning chores and little ones get dressed, potty/diaper/teeth, etc.  

 

- Sustained Silent Reading.  Both big kids each have a reading basket and assigned reading for the week, plus an "If you finish early" novel.  The basket contains history and science texts and picture books, Life of Fred, and sometimes topic specific books I'd like them to read (an art book about a specific technique or artist, etc.).  I set the timer for 30 minutes, and give my time to the two little ones.  My 4 (almost 5)yo has a hands-on math lesson similar to what you see on educationunboxed.com and reads a few words.  2yo sits with us and play with math manipulatives, attempts some counting, and maybe colors on the whiteboard or similar busy activities.  

 

- Timer dings after 30 minutes, and big kids come and I ask them to narrate about what they read.  I may ask them to re-read something if I feel they didn't get a lot out of it.  They check the items off on their SSR lists and then put away their baskets and reading checklist until the following morning.  

 

- If *I* am having a good day, we all come together for a chapter or picture book.  Then family memory work.  Otherwise, skip directly to:

 

- Morning Work.  We get all our skill subjects done in the morning.  DS9 does his math lesson (Singapore 5) first one-on-one with me while DD7 does her German duolingo lessons (1 new, 2 review) and cursive workbook.  DS then works on his math workbook page while I give DD her math lesson (SM3).  Generally, her lesson is less than 10 minutes to give, then she moves on to the workbook.  I then remain available to both for questions as they work through the math.  The little kids, in the mean time, are either happily playing together, or (quite often) NOT happy, so I get out either our rice box or kinetic sand or silly putty or water colors, all of which keeps them pretty happy.  Worst case scenario, I park them in front of Little Pin German or LeapFrog Letter Factory.  

 

- Still in our morning work, we move on to Apples and Pears spelling, then immediately into our French LA (bilingual homeschool)- spelling, conjugation, dictation.  The two oldest are combined for both of these things, as DD is a strong speller and DS is weaker.  After this, a break for DD7 and DD9 does his Duolingo and cursive.  Then break.  

 

Depending on the day, we'll still have time for a bit more after DS9 has had a break before lunch.  But most often, we don't.  So, I get lunch ready and the kids play.  Depending on concentration levels, sometimes I send the big kids out to do a quick run around the soccer field across the street from us.  Sometimes DS is sent out to do this right after math as well if I feel he needs some physical exertion.  

 

- During Lunch- audio book.  

 

- After Lunch:  2yo goes for a nap, which he may or may not take, but at least he is out of our hair.  We use after lunch time for whatever content topics we are focused on:

geography, science, history, literature, art.  Not all in one day.  Usually one, sometimes two.  DD4 either participates or gets either a handwriting, number, coloring, or cutting worksheet to work on at the table with us.

 

- Writing- ideally daily, but realistically about 3x a week.   Usually a written summary of a science or history topic from their reading baskets, sometimes creative writing after a brief writing lesson from me.  Sometimes I correct the writing and they do a rewrite, sometimes not.  Once I've gotten them started on the writing, I can direct my attention back to DD4 for letter formation or just to play a simple math game, while still being available for consultation.  

 

BUT THE WHOLE TIME, THE BIGGER LESSON IS CHARACTER.  And the constant vigilance really does pay off.  Not interrupting.  Looking to see if I'm actually available before interrupting with a question.  Not whining, not irritating siblings, playing nicely with the little ones, playing nicely by one's self, staying focused, diligence in work, etc, etc, etc.  

 

Ok, this post is getting really long, sorry.  

 

There is a free guide (or used to be) at Simply Charlotte Mason called Laying Down the Rails or something similar.  This is a sort of intro to the "program" you can buy from them on habit training.  The free one is more than enough to get the idea.  Choose ONE behavior that is making you crazy (interrupting) and focus on only that habit for 6 weeks.  Maybe print out a sign that says, "I am not available for questions" and set it out where you can simply point to it without needing to get into an argument or discussion.  Non-compliance and whining can be met with some irritating punishment like copying lines.  

 

Whining during  math = more problems

Whining about anything = long-winded lecture on how good they've got it, plus some punishment :-)

Goofing off during shared subjects =  more work

Lack of focus and attention = finishing the work "on their own time", i.e., after we'e finished "school" for the day and when they'd usually be free

 

 

Given how young your youngest is, don't forget to give yourself some grace for another year.  It DOES get easier!

 

 

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:grouphug:  :grouphug:

 

Sounds like a schedule on the wall is needed, with students rotating through specific things at specific times. Right now, everyone's trying to get your attention to get through school first, which is NOT promoting any actual learning. If you can set up a schedule that has everyone working all morning and there is NO getting done before anyone else, that can help reduce the badgering  no benefit to trying to get your attention thinking that allows them to be "first done".

 

Example:

 

8:00-8:30 = together time

break (5 min)

8:35-9:15 (45 min) 

   9yo = mom 1-on-1 time

   8yo = mom 1-on-1 time

   6yo = plays with the 3yo and 1 yo

break (10 min)

9:25-10:05 (40 min)

   9yo = plays with the 3yo and 1 yo

   8yo = mom 1-on-1 time

   6yo = mom 1-on-1 time

break with snack (25 min)

10:30-11:00 (30 min)

   9yo = mom 1-on-1 time

   8yo = plays with the 3yo and 1 yo

   6yo = educational video/game, solo read, work box, other solo educational work

break (5 min)

11:05-11:35 (30 min)

   9yo = solo reading/solo educational work

   8yo = mom 1-on-1 time

   6yo = mom 1-on-1 time

  mom also juggles the little ones

 

etc.

 

That way, when "can you help me?" starts up, you can respond: "Look at the schedule. You are not scheduled for Mom 1-on-1 time right now. That is when Mom answers your questions. You ARE scheduled for ______. You need to put this thing away because this is NOT on your schedule right now, and go do what is on the schedule. When we are scheduled for Mom 1-on-1 time, we will get all your questions answered."

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I staggered wake up times. The eldest and I got up a 6, made breakfast for everyone, and ate. At 6:30 we started school. At 7 I woke up the middle and finished schooling with eldest while the middle one ate. I started school with the middle at 7:30 and woke up youngest at 8. Finished with middle while youngest ate and started school with youngest at 8:30. We did our together time at 9:30. I only had three but this may still work for you. Your younger two could get up with the youngest, eat, then go play while you teach the 6 year old. By the time your 3 year old turns 5 your oldest may be more independent. We did chores after school. We were always done with everything and dressed by 12. I made every appointment after noon so there were no interruptions.

Edited by Schadenfreude
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At the moment, we get up and do our chores and then start school. I have stated hundreds of thousands of times by now that we start after chores. But every. single. morning while I am still finishing cleaning up (and the bigger one have already done their own chores) they start witu the nagging. Canyouhelpmenowcanyouhelpmenowcanyouhelpmenow. When I say "we will start our school day when I am finished with the dishes" they hear "ask her again, but even more annoyingly this time."

 

 

 

One idea, make it a rule that whoever interrupts you while you are visibly doing something else, and no one is bleeding, then the interrupter takes over what you were doing.  So, if you are doing dishes, then the interrupter finishes the dishes.   If you are assisting one of the littler ones, then they can take over.   I got nothing for when a littler one interrupts while you are helping a bigger one.  

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I only have three, but that does include a one year old. Re interrrupting...one thing I know I do to inadvertently reinforce interrupting is to answer the question to stop the nagging. I notice that when I am consistent about refusing to answer the question until appropriate time the nagging decreases. I love the suggestions so far! Many mornings I have one of my olders load and unload dishwasher (they can't reach to put up all dishes, but they stack in counter) while the other one keeps the one year old from using the dishwasher as a jungle gym. Perhaps it might help to assign chores in the morning to some of them? Mine are 10 and 7 and both can do dishes, fold laundry, vacuum, wrangle baby, put back things baby has thrown in the floor, wipe down sinks, and simple things like that that keep the house from becoming a wreck. Things I would want to do myself before feeling ready to start school.

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This problem starts before school starts. It is a parenting issue not an academic issue. It will not be fixed looking at an academic model.

 

Children best learn to work and be independent problem solvers during work rather than academics. It sounds like they might need more chores and more work.

 

The little ones sound like they need more practice sitting still. The average modern American family does not model babies and toddlers that sit still, but it can be done. Time spent stopping to teach young children to sit still is well worth it. And making older children responsible to help.

 

With the holidays coming up, maybe take some time off academics and really get the children trained to cook and clean and help each other. And sit quietly and patiently.

 

Older children that help younger children with school work and other things, can be rewarded with prime time with you.

 

If an older child is carrying a heavy load of chores because they are the only one capable of doing them, younger siblings can also help do the older child's grunt work. When I was sick, I was highly dependent on my older child. I made sure to find ways to require my younger son to do things for his older brother. He was required to fetch not just for me but for his brother. A 3 year old can fetch for a 9 year old. A 6 year old can put away the clothes of an 8 year old who was needed to change the diaper of a 1 year old.

 

Sometimes assign children the chores they are most suited for, but other times purposely stretch them. When they struggle with chores, they apply those problem solving skills to academics.

 

Teach the children team work. Right now everyone is looking at you. A team often has a leader, but team members interact and assist the entire team.

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This problem starts before school starts. It is a parenting issue not an academic issue. It will not be fixed looking at an academic model.

 

 

I know. I called it "classroom management for homeschool" in jest. But I also recognize that this a parenting weakness of mine in general. When I threw my hands up in defeat this morning and took time to think about it, I realized that this was my problem. I realized I haven't taught my kids the things they need to make our days flow better. Hence the reason I came to a homeschooling forum instead of consulting old college texts on classroom management.

 

I sincerely appreciate the advice and suggestions so far. Keep them coming!

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I hope I didn't come on too strong. I worried about that as I was typing.

 

I am just a bit on the autism spectrum. It shows up most when I try and talk TO people rather than just participate in general topic conversation.

 

:grouphug:

 

Parenting is so hard.

 

I am so glad I did mine when I was young enough to still have all the arrogance of youth and it was still in the 80s and 90s when you could still hit your kids. I don't envy you moms doing it today. i often say I parented my poor boys more like a she-wolf than a human. Thank god they were boys. It was just all instinct and some of it wrong instinct after being reared myself wrongly. But I didn't worry and beat myself up like you all do. I just ploughed ahead like youth do. My momentum and desperation got us through. They survived to adulthood. With the resources I had to work with that is a miracle. :lol:

 

If I came off sounding judgy, and I think I did, just know you are doing a way more awesome job than I did.

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Yeah, that's a tough age spread. I mean that to be encouraging. Sure, there's things you can do or could've done better (I sooooooooo relate) but anyone homeschooling that many/those ages knows that it's just managed chaos!

 

What I do that helps a little. My olders have 'independent work' checklists, so if I'm busy I can just say "go on with your lists" I don't put group or me-teaching things on the list. This helps because it gives them some ownership of their work and time, without it derailing everyone else's schedules. Your 8 & 9 year old could manage this, if you make sure that they actually can do/access the work (I use magazine file boxes, and the lists are just in spiral notebooks). This does require letting go of doing everything exactly the way I want it done...

 

I also post a loose, daily routine on the wall (literally a list of subject order handwritten on paper and blu tacked to the wall) which helps us keep in the flow.

 

My 3 year old is the wild card and so it's mostly stemming the chaotic tide...

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Besides rotating schedules (and possibly sleep schedules), maybe consider teaching during nap times.

 

As for nagging, I'd check out a few books on nagging/whining. A lot of kids hear advice better from others and books vs mom. Maybe have a positive reinforcement session. 25 cents per day per child, broken up by nickels. Each child gets five paper "interruption questions", and when they are used while it interrupts someone else, one nickel out of five gets taken away. Then reduce the allowed interruptions gradually.

 

Or maybe start with a timer system. They can ask questions at 9:00 and 10:00. The two oldest can write down questions or make stars next to problems they are having. Verify they are truly understanding instructions before being given independent work.

 

Consider outsourcing some independent work: math apps to review fluency, other apps or websites that are educational (pbs kids, brainpop, logic books), books for free reading, etc.

Edited by displace
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I definitely don't have as many kids so am not fully qualified to advise but I find even with my three I need to have a week where I really focus on teaching them to "take turns to talk". So "I'm sorry dd but mummy is talking to ds right now you need to wait till I'm finished". "I'm sorry but k am listening to dd, please wait until she's finished talking". Along with a lot of conversation reminders about taking turns to speak and listening respectfully. It only takes a week or so of really focussing on the issue to get them back into better habits.

 

It's important to me because I was not well trained as a child and have trouble not interrupting as soon as I think of something to say. It's just hard to get into the right mode when as adults we have chaos in our own heads from all the noise.

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Parenting is just so much harder than schooling. Not only are mainstream societal norms changing in general, but as homeschoolers, we come in contact with a larger part of the world and interact with lots of other fringe people, all with different conflicting ideas.

 

And some of us come into this with childhood baggage.

 

Some of us start parenting very young or older, and each brings certain challenges.

 

There is no "right" way to parent, and even if there was, not not all of us have the resources to do it right. Parents are just human.

 

Yes, my boys sat quietly at very young ages. They had to. They were not safe if they didn't. I prioritized teaching that, and maybe I did wrong things to force them to do so. I don't know. What is wrong and what is right? What ends justify the means?

 

As people age, they either tend to get rigidly stuck in the their ways or question everything. I seem to be one of those that questions everything. The more I learn, the more incompetent and ashamed I feel.

 

I'm just really glad I don't get a do over. I think I would just freeze. I remember watching older parents who froze and were more gentle, and I remember their comments and reactions to me. They would ask, "You spank, don't you."

 

As I got older, I would just shrug and say, "Not any more, but I don't feel like I had a choice and I knew no other way." In the thick of the toddler years, I was still not even thinking. There was no time. There were no options. I was just flying by the seat of my pants. It was all I could do to keep everyone as healthy as possible, clean, and fed.

 

We just need to do our best, and then humbly tell the kid we had no more to give. And remember that our best is not painful. If we are trying so hard it hurts, that is self-neglect, and all forms of neglect are not a healthy goal. Modeling self-neglect to children is more damaging than sometimes leaving some of their needs unmet. Modeling self-neglect teaches them to devalue us and self-neglect THEMSELVES.

 

It is just all so confusing. Life. Not just parenting. It is hard to parent, when we don't have the context of life figured out. Some lucky buggers have a rigid religion that explains life, and they have the luck not to experience events that force them to question or fail at the rigidity of it. And then there are the rest of us poor buggers.

 

Good luck and :grouphug: to everyone.

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Right or wrong this is what I would do.

 

First, I would explain to your older kids that it is not ok to ask over and over. If they do, they stand in the corner for the number of minutes as their age. 9yo=9 min. It's rude and inappropriate behavior. They are old enough to find something else to do when you are busy.

 

And second, I don't expect my 3 year old to join us for reverent family time. He goes to play elsewhere. If he wants to join us he can as long as he behaves. If he wants to disrupt us, I put him in his room explaining that he has to be reverent for family time. He's still learning but he's catching on.

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One thing that has helped my kids this year is having a daily agenda. If they get stuck on a math problem while I am helping someone else, they know what else they can work on. It takes more prep from me at the beginning of the week but since I started doing that our mornings are more smooth.

 

My 6 year old wakes up earlier than her brother so I often do her seat work right after breakfast but before morning time.

 

With your 1 and 3 year old, you may want to start with a story they enjoy, then send them off to play while you finish morning time with your older kids. My 4 year old is very independent for his age, partly because of personality and partly because he has been trained that he needs to play quietly during school time. Our school room is also our playroom. He gets to keep playing in there as long as he isn't disruptive, if he gets disruptive, I give him a warning and then the next time he goes to play in his room down the hall. It isn't punishment for him, it's just a way to keep our school time less chaotic.

 

In the past I have lined up 10 chocolate chips, skittles, or mini-marshmallows in front of my kids' work space. They get to eat whatever is left at the end of the school day. If they are disruptive or not focused, I take one without saying a word. It didn't take long to break some bad habits we had going.

 

Last idea. My 8 year old sometimes needs a break to do something physical. I'll have him do 25 jumping jacks or run up and down the stairs 3 times. Sometimes I give those breaks because he isn't focused, sometimes because he is whiny. It does help.

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Great advice above, but can we all agree that even if you've done everything 100% right from birth (whatever that would look like), homeschooling with a 3 and 1 year old in the house can be crazy, and older kids really try your patience?

 

I do think there is one thing parenting/homeschooling has in common with classroom management, which is that many of us who were raised as girls to always be sugar and spice and everything nice need to learn to put a little ice in our voices-- loving ice, of course-- into our voices and let our kids know that we respect ourselves and expect them to do the same. I find it best to communicate things ahead of time, like a stern, "You need to stay at the table while I change brother's diaper. If you finish these math problems, move on to your spelling book. After spelling, you need to come into the living room for a crazy one-song dance party." (Because knowing a scheduled movement break is coming can help them sit still, and dancing is fun.)

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:grouphug: :grouphug:

 

Sounds like a schedule on the wall is needed, with students rotating through specific things at specific times. Right now, everyone's trying to get your attention to get through school first, which is NOT promoting any actual learning. If you can set up a schedule that has everyone working all morning and there is NO getting done before anyone else, that can help reduce the badgering no benefit to trying to get your attention thinking that allows them to be "first done".

 

Example:

 

8:00-8:30 = together time

break (5 min)

8:35-9:15 (45 min)

9yo = mom 1-on-1 time

8yo = mom 1-on-1 time

6yo = plays with the 3yo and 1 yo

break (10 min)

9:25-10:05 (40 min)

9yo = plays with the 3yo and 1 yo

8yo = mom 1-on-1 time

6yo = mom 1-on-1 time

break with snack (25 min)

10:30-11:00 (30 min)

9yo = mom 1-on-1 time

8yo = plays with the 3yo and 1 yo

6yo = educational video/game, solo read, work box, other solo educational work

break (5 min)

11:05-11:35 (30 min)

9yo = solo reading/solo educational work

8yo = mom 1-on-1 time

6yo = mom 1-on-1 time

mom also juggles the little ones

 

etc.

 

That way, when "can you help me?" starts up, you can respond: "Look at the schedule. You are not scheduled for Mom 1-on-1 time right now. That is when Mom answers your questions. You ARE scheduled for ______. You need to put this thing away because this is NOT on your schedule right now, and go do what is on the schedule. When we are scheduled for Mom 1-on-1 time, we will get all your questions answered."

This is exactly what I did. Like you, I had kids at similar ages (10, 10, 8, 6, 3, and baby), and I had to have a schedule for a few years. Assign something for each to do in half hour increments. Assign an older kid to play with toddler, work 1-on-1 with one child, assign independent work (reading, educational computer games, etc.) or quiet playtime for the others. Then switch it around at the next half hour. Save the heavy-duty stuff for when baby is napping.

 

It will pass, and you will get through it. I lived to tell the tale, after all.

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You know, I think you can use your classroom management skills here. I would give each of your olders a list of independent work to start on each morning while you get work with your 6 year old out of the way. Maybe even put them in different rooms during this time. Set up procedures so they know what to do if they need help (move on to the next thing, read or draw, etc.) or if you are busy. Display the procedures prominently and redirect them to the procedures every time they deviate. Let them earn points for a prize of some sort for following procedures.

 

I've taught in a classroom and have applied a lot of what I learned about classroom management at home. It's not the same and there are definitely more distractions at home, but it can help.

 

Hope things get better!!

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You might also consider gettting Terri Maxwell's managers of their homes and managers of their chores. It is heavily Christian, in the sense of scheduling Bible study and prayer and things, but even if you aren't Christian, it has a lot of great information about scheduling home and school. She homeschooled Something like Eight kids and lived to tell the tale. You can find it used probably. Or ask your friends who homeschool. I don't use it fully, but take a lot of the ideas.

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Help me.

 

I taught elementary school for 2 years and I felt like for a brand new teacher I was above average in my ability to manage the classroom.

 

As a homeschooling mom, I am about to throw in the towel because I get so frustrated.

 

My homeschooled kids are 9, 8, 6, 3 and 1 and the age range is difficult. I can keep the attention of 30 10-year olds but I am failing at making our school days at home anything but chaos and mayhem. Our "morning meeting" where we read scriptures and a couple light stories and a short Spanish lesson are usually chaotic and interrupted thanks to the 3 and 1 year old.

 

For their individual subjects, it's even more mayhem and NOT because of the littles. It's a lot of "canyouhelpmenowcanyouhelpmenowcanyouhelpmenow" while I am busy helping another child. Even when I ask them to do something independently (like read, or play, I don't even care!) the nagging is constant. The 9 and 8 year olds want to finish their school work as soon as possible, but they all demand my attention at the same time. Throw a nursing 1 year old and spunky 3 year old into the mix, and it's mayhem.

 

Today I was sitting with the 6 year old doing LOE while the 3-year old played with a white board. The older 2 were demanding my help (while simultaneously grumbling about school in general) and I managed to get the 8 year old to do a 5 minute typing lesson on the computer, but then it was back to nagging and nagging. I had to stop to change a poopy diaper and every time I got up from the table, the 6 year old disappeared.

 

I finally called it quits when the 9 year old (who is lovely and kind and responsible) refused to be redirected to more independent work while I helped the 6 year old. I just couldn't take it. I can only calmly say "I will help you when I am done with this lesson" so many times before I lose it.

 

I feel like I need some structure and routine so that there is a very specific schedule for the day so that there is time set aside for each child to work with me while the others are occupied with someone else. I need ideas on how to make it work. I probably only need 30-45 minutes with each kid. But we can't really do anything all at the same time at the table because turning my attention to the 8 or 9 year old frustrates the 6 year old.

 

At the moment, we get up and do our chores and then start school. I have stated hundreds of thousands of times by now that we start after chores. But every. single. morning while I am still finishing cleaning up (and the bigger one have already done their own chores) they start with the nagging. Canyouhelpmenowcanyouhelpmenowcanyouhelpmenow. When I say "we will start our school day when I am finished with the dishes" they hear "ask her again, but even more annoyingly this time."

 

I am looking for tips other people's experiences scheduling out their day so that each child gets their time with mom while the others are independently occupied.

 

I need help with routines. Organization. I feel like I handle the 1 and 3 year olds interruptions okay. But trying to work with each kid has been a total flop.

 

Okay, I am going to point out something that may be a bit painful, but it is meant gently and sincerely, with the hope that it will truly help.

 

If we look at all the bolded words and phrases in your post, it is clear that the emotional climate of your home is one that is not conducive to learning and joy. Instead, it seems to be a climate of nagging, whining, demanding, grumbling, interruption, frustration, chaos, mayhem, disrespect, and defiance ("refusing"). In the midst of this, you try to be calm, while underneath the surface, the tension between you and your children is real.

 

Even though you asked for advice on schedules and routines, I don't think that is really what you need. At some point, those could serve you usefully, but for now, I think you need something more essential. You need to recreate the emotional climate of your home.

 

You are the Mom. The school work is so much less important than how you relate to your children, how they relate to you, how you all work together as a team to create a joyful and productive home environment, and how the children relate to each other. Are you truly a team? Are you all pulling together to achieve great things? If the only person who cares about living and homeschooling in joy and peace is you, that burden will become too much to bear. 

 

I am telling you this from my own experience. While I never had whiners (or five kids, or that span of ages), I do know what it feels like to have to create the climate that we need to thrive. My children (and my husband, too, a few times) have heard my heartfelt "speeches." We laugh about that now, but at the time, it was vital to share my heart with my children, so they could know that THEY do have a part to play in making this thing work. So the speeches were something like, "This is what is happening, this is why it's not working, this is what we need to happen, and these are my expectations and requirements for you. Also, this is what will happen if the situation doesn't turn around." Followed by discussion of consequences, LOL. 

 

At some point, I realized that this ingredient -- the mutual commitment to teamwork for the sake of a peaceful, productive, joyful home -- was one of the most important things to successfully homeschooling. What is it like from day to day in our home? Chaotic or orderly? Productive or fruitless? Frustrating or fulfilling? Selfish or compassionate? By intentionally focusing on these things, we were able to create the orderly, productive, fulfilling, and compassionate environment that we still enjoy today. It does take ongoing diligence to keep that running, but the work of putting it in place originally was WELL WORTH the effort.

 

We needed to connect to each other, just "be" together, not always focused on school. We needed to prioritize what it means to function well as a family, be a team, run a home, achieve our school goals, be compassionate to each other, be considerate and polite, be respectful in all things, and put away being selfish and demanding.

 

I'm not saying this to beat you up (at all!), but to encourage you to NOT let this situation overwhelm you. It's not a classroom full of ten year olds you are in charge of now. It's your own home, your own family, your own life, your precious children. Decide what you want that to look like, then diligently shape your environment towards these goals. The MOM sets the emotional thermostat of the home.

 

First and foremost, in your home and homeschool, there must be teamwork. This is essential, whether you have one child or two or ten or twenty. Chores done together. Laundry folded together. Kitchen and tables cleaned together. Floors cleaned together. Babies loved and nurtured together. Meals prepped together. No access to anything school-related until you are satisfied with things. If necessary, lock it up or put it on a high shelf. No access to anything until you say so.

 

No whining. No nagging. No demanding. No refusal to do work that is assigned. No tantrums. No defiance. 

 

If a child nags or demands or interrupts, stop and practice proper procedures (whatever you decide you want them to do). Practice it over and over and over, until it is more of a pain for them to not cooperate than it is for them to work with you. The school lesson is less important (for now) than the life lesson. A child who continues to cross that line of your rightful authority needs negative consequences for doing so.

 

If you want to be successful, over the long haul, with homeschooling, it is more important how you parent than how (or even if) you teach. HTH.

Edited by Sahamamama2
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Structure and routine are essential in my house, building that takes time. And I still constantly fend off the chaos. Here are my suggestions.

 

Set up a rotation. The three bigs are either 1) working with Mom, 2) doing an independent task, or 3) playing with little. Make it a visual chart on the wall if necessary. Audible/visual timers are helpful if the 6 year old isn't telling time yet.

 

Do not accept interruptions. My kids had to learn this, and it took time, but if they came to me in the middle of a sibling's lesson I would ask, "Is anyone in danger or the house on fire? No? Then please do not interrupt *child X's* teaching time." I had to do that, a lot, I the beginning. I used 1-2-3 Magic approach for this s"stop behavior" if it continued. They will learn.

 

Start doing 1:1 with the least independent child (probably 6 year old). Do a lesson that is followed by independent work (e.g. math lesson where they have independent problems right after). Their capacity for independent work has to be developed, their coping skills for what to do when they don't understand need to be taught and tested, and a first step is having them do work RIGHT after instruction on how to do the work.

 

Have designated activities for if they finish independent work (or get stuck), e.g. choices of read, puzzle, or next independent school activity.

 

Then switch to the 8 year old for similar (lesson with associated independent work). Get your 9 year old last, before starting another cycle. These lessons should be 20-30 min tops. If needed break LOE into two different lessons.

 

Teach them all together for science, history, geography, and anything else you do that isn't reading/writing/math.

 

Our morning meeting (we do a morning basket that has many components for about an hour) is done over breakfast. This keeps all engaged and helps them see the day ahead right from the beginning. We used to do chores right after this and then the rest of school. We now do chores after school. It is a better flow for us. Figure out what works best - maybe "afternoon meeting" would be better (or one of each)? Don't fit the rhythms in your home already.

 

Example Rotation

9:30 child X=math lesson, child Y=play with littles, child Z=reading lit book

9:50 child X=math problems, child Y=math lesson, child Z=play with littles

10:10 child X=play with littles, child Y=math problems, child Z=math lesson

10:30 BREAK for all

10:40 child X LOE lesson, child child Y=read to littles, child Z=copywork

11:00 child X=school game on tablet, child Y=lang lesson, child Z=push little son swing

11:20 child X=play with littles, child Y=lang arts seat work, child Z=lang lesson

11:40 child Z does Lang independent work while rest play and you prep lunch

12:00 Lunch/clean up/free time

12:30 child X=finish LOE lesson, child Y=read lit, child Z=read to littles

12:50 put littles down/start laundry, children X, Y, Z finish last work associated with morning lessons/other independent

1:15 science or history or whatever all together

2:00 you're done

 

Just a hypothetical. Best wishes.

 

ETA: one reason a class of 10 year olds was easier is that for 2-3 years they drilled procedure. They learned the proper way to get out pencil, get out of seat, wait in line, respond when teacher spoke, etc. Much of primary years in public are procedure and routine teaching. You will have to do something similar in your home.

Edited by Targhee
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Workboxes.

 

From previous threads, the ones that lead you to briefly enroll the boys in public school and the chaos you had with Luna's medical stuff, etc.....this is a long-standing, multi-faceted issue.

 

Workboxes take mom prep up front---are you preparing materials that they can work on on their own? Do they understand the directions? Are they capable of working for 10 minutes at a time independently? Will they accept discipline when you direct them to work independently or wait for 10 minutes?   

 

I would work on getting one child to use workboxes effectively, and then begin with another child. 

 

We do use the rotation schedule mentioned above.  I have a written schedule, posted, for everyone, that we all hold each other accountable to.

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Workboxes.

 

From previous threads, the ones that lead you to briefly enroll the boys in public school and the chaos you had with Luna's medical stuff, etc.....this is a long-standing, multi-faceted issue.

 

Workboxes take mom prep up front---are you preparing materials that they can work on on their own? Do they understand the directions? Are they capable of working for 10 minutes at a time independently? Will they accept discipline when you direct them to work independently or wait for 10 minutes?

 

I would work on getting one child to use workboxes effectively, and then begin with another child.

 

We do use the rotation schedule mentioned above. I have a written schedule, posted, for everyone, that we all hold each other accountable to.

Or, workfolders for olders and boxes for littles? Workboxes do take up a lot of space and if it's only a math worksheet a folder might work just as well. Especially with a 1 year old :). When my middle was 3 I filled up a workbox with activities and had her do them all in whatever order she chose, or else redirected her to them if she became disruptive. It wasn't true workbox, but it definitely helped. Always gave me something to point her to. My main concern was her not screaming or destroying the house. However that happened. But I only had the two then.

 

ETA should say I filled up workboxes (plural) with activities. Piling them all in one will not work.

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MotherGoose, I've done both. I was referring to workboxes/folders for other kids, but now that you mention it, I do it for my younger set as well.

 

 I'm on my 5th busy preschooler, so by this point I've built up a stash of busy bags for toddlers.  I start these with my toddlers when they are about 14-16 months olds. A lot of them are OT activities that work on sensory awareness. Given the genetic mix my kids are born into, it's pretty much a given that if we don't hit OT hard at home, they end up in OT outside.  So, my last three kids have had intense OT work at home from birth.

 

Everyone has different budgets/space, but some of the very easy/popular ones are beans or rice in a tray/bowl for them to scoop and pour with.  Pinterest has eleventy billion ideas.  I find that even very young toddlers can usually work for 5-10 minutes at a highly interesting activity.  If you build a schedule for them, they come to expect the routine, and there's less fuss moving between activities.  Obviously, one shouldn't strap a baby into a high chair all morning long, but for 10 minutes while you're getting your older kids going, it's great.   I also have a number of activities that an older child (someone age 5+ ) can do with toddlers.  These all fit in a basket and are organized into ziplock bags.  I control access to the bags so that they don't get dumped and ruined all at once.  My usual morning routine was to get everyone dressed/fed in the am, start the dishwasher and washing machines, make sure I had food for supper planned, and then turn to school. I occupy the 5 & under crowd with activities, and then get my older ones who can do some independent work going on that.  

 

My youngest just turned 4.  She has a number of activities set up for her to do, and as long as I give them to her one at a time with a little timer (time tracker mini), she can now start, do and clean up an activity by herself under supervision.  

 

I have two kids with attention issues, two with sensory issues, and the need for calm, quiet, and routine in my house is very high.  Because of the attention issues, I can't spin off kids into different parts of the house, so we all have to be together in a little 10x10 room all day long. One of mine can only work for 10 minutes at a time, and so we take sensory breaks often with that child, and having a scheduling rotating that child in and out of schoolwork under the guise of entertaining the youngest works well. I give that child and my 4yo specific activities and they are often motor or sensory based.

 

It has taken me a long time and a lot of guidance from amazing women here on the boards to keep my little circus going day in and day out.   We've had to go to experts locally for OT and PT work and we've had to go for evaluations for other things.  When I say that it takes focused planning and me working hard to juggle all of the balls, I am sincere.

 

That said, training kids to work on their own for 10 minutes is realistic for all but the SN crowd.  And really, even in the SN crowd, a lot can be done.  I first heard about workboxes in an autism clinic. ;)  

 

As far as workboxes taking up a lot of space, our first system was folders in a crate.  Each kid had a crate, and they stacked nicely on top of each other.  For one of my children, though, that was not sufficient.  Last year, I bought an IKEA Trofast system, and for him, this has been key.  This child needs to have whatever materials he needs--if he needs a pencil, it needs to be there--and he's old enough that I cannot tear sheets out of books.  The outsides of the bins are numbered and labeled by subject. He removes a bin, does the work inside of it, returns the bin.  He comes to a cleared off space, so he knows that has to all be returned to the bin when he is done.   I am hopeful that some day he will be able to work off of a planner and sort his books/materials, but he's not there yet.

 

I think one of the huge gaps in workbox discussions is the notion that everything can be reduced to a folder. Perhaps that is true if you use CLE (and I do, for math), but most kids ages 8+ touch real books as part of their day.

 

I know OP is limited in budget and space, so perhaps she can work as the workbox machine. Even if she uses the crate method, if she has everyone on 15 minute or 30 minute blocks, everyone can work for a time, then come to switch out materials at a designated time.  It sounds like one of OP's problems is the constant interruptions that can happen when everyone wants you.  The flag idea mentioned above is good.  In our family, we have  a master whiteboard where people can leave me notes......it lets me know what they need/if they need me (MOM! was the first thing my kids usually learn to write) and I can deal with it on my own time.  It's in my line of sight, so it's not like a child is ignored for long periods of time.

 

Learning not to interrupt others is key to homeschooling sanity, imo.  If you are age 5+ and can't wait quietly and be still, then get something to occupy yourself quietly at your seat or read a book until I can help you.  I have a mini trampoline, a yoga mat, and a jumprope in the schoolroom for wiggly waiters.

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I only homeschooled two and had only one doing the "mamacanyouhelpmenowcanyouhelpmenowIwanttobedonewithschoolrightnowanditisyourfaultbecauseyouarenothelpingmenow". The other was perfectly content to slide into her room and wait for me to discover she wasn't there and get her back. To be fair, I also babysat sgd full time from 8weeks till 3 1/2. And I still felt stressed trying to meet everyone's needs!

 

I had to learn to say, "It's okay to ask for help. It's not okay to nag. I have answered you already and my answer is not going to change. You need to stop asking." And then to follow through by not engaging in the nagging. After a few of those longer explanations, it became an abbreviated "Asked and answered" response. Said once, with full attention and eye contact. It took a few times, but was really quite effective.

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A few years ago, I started making my kids raise their hands if they needed me if we're all in the same room and they can clearly see I am busy helping someone else. That's helped a LOT in making things feel less chaotic. Also, they are only allowed to ask once (unless I forget things). If they nag, I send them to their room for a bit. I can't handle chaos.

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MotherGoose, I've done both. I was referring to workboxes/folders for other kids, but now that you mention it, I do it for my younger set as well.

 

I'm on my 5th busy preschooler, so by this point I've built up a stash of busy bags for toddlers. I start these with my toddlers when they are about 14-16 months olds. A lot of them are OT activities that work on sensory awareness. Given the genetic mix my kids are born into, it's pretty much a given that if we don't hit OT hard at home, they end up in OT outside. So, my last three kids have had intense OT work at home from birth.

 

Everyone has different budgets/space, but some of the very easy/popular ones are beans or rice in a tray/bowl for them to scoop and pour with. Pinterest has eleventy billion ideas. I find that even very young toddlers can usually work for 5-10 minutes at a highly interesting activity. If you build a schedule for them, they come to expect the routine, and there's less fuss moving between activities. Obviously, one shouldn't strap a baby into a high chair all morning long, but for 10 minutes while you're getting your older kids going, it's great. I also have a number of activities that an older child (someone age 5+ ) can do with toddlers. These all fit in a basket and are organized into ziplock bags. I control access to the bags so that they don't get dumped and ruined all at once. My usual morning routine was to get everyone dressed/fed in the am, start the dishwasher and washing machines, make sure I had food for supper planned, and then turn to school. I occupy the 5 & under crowd with activities, and then get my older ones who can do some independent work going on that.

 

My youngest just turned 4. She has a number of activities set up for her to do, and as long as I give them to her one at a time with a little timer (time tracker mini), she can now start, do and clean up an activity by herself under supervision.

 

I have two kids with attention issues, two with sensory issues, and the need for calm, quiet, and routine in my house is very high. Because of the attention issues, I can't spin off kids into different parts of the house, so we all have to be together in a little 10x10 room all day long. One of mine can only work for 10 minutes at a time, and so we take sensory breaks often with that child, and having a scheduling rotating that child in and out of schoolwork under the guise of entertaining the youngest works well. I give that child and my 4yo specific activities and they are often motor or sensory based.

 

It has taken me a long time and a lot of guidance from amazing women here on the boards to keep my little circus going day in and day out. We've had to go to experts locally for OT and PT work and we've had to go for evaluations for other things. When I say that it takes focused planning and me working hard to juggle all of the balls, I am sincere.

 

That said, training kids to work on their own for 10 minutes is realistic for all but the SN crowd. And really, even in the SN crowd, a lot can be done. I first heard about workboxes in an autism clinic. ;)

 

As far as workboxes taking up a lot of space, our first system was folders in a crate. Each kid had a crate, and they stacked nicely on top of each other. For one of my children, though, that was not sufficient. Last year, I bought an IKEA Trofast system, and for him, this has been key. This child needs to have whatever materials he needs--if he needs a pencil, it needs to be there--and he's old enough that I cannot tear sheets out of books. The outsides of the bins are numbered and labeled by subject. He removes a bin, does the work inside of it, returns the bin. He comes to a cleared off space, so he knows that has to all be returned to the bin when he is done. I am hopeful that some day he will be able to work off of a planner and sort his books/materials, but he's not there yet.

 

I think one of the huge gaps in workbox discussions is the notion that everything can be reduced to a folder. Perhaps that is true if you use CLE (and I do, for math), but most kids ages 8+ touch real books as part of their day.

 

I know OP is limited in budget and space, so perhaps she can work as the workbox machine. Even if she uses the crate method, if she has everyone on 15 minute or 30 minute blocks, everyone can work for a time, then come to switch out materials at a designated time. It sounds like one of OP's problems is the constant interruptions that can happen when everyone wants you. The flag idea mentioned above is good. In our family, we have a master whiteboard where people can leave me notes......it lets me know what they need/if they need me (MOM! was the first thing my kids usually learn to write) and I can deal with it on my own time. It's in my line of sight, so it's not like a child is ignored for long periods of time.

 

Learning not to interrupt others is key to homeschooling sanity, imo. If you are age 5+ and can't wait quietly and be still, then get something to occupy yourself quietly at your seat or read a book until I can help you. I have a mini trampoline, a yoga mat, and a jumprope in the schoolroom for wiggly waiters.

Hope this will not be perceived as highjacking thread as this answer could directly help OP. I have lots of things in line for my thirteen month old when he's old enough to not put EVERYTHING in his mouth. Most busy bag ideas seem to be directed towards the two to three year old range. He, of course, wants to play with everything that isn't his...Personal favorite seems to be eating the styrofoam off the dry erase Markers erasers. Any ideas for the toddler but still eating everything stage? My girls would have to eventually put things in their mouths, but would at least examine it for a bit first :). We are managing, and I have a selection of special school toys. Just wondering about other ideas.

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Plan that everything is going to go in his mouth. When they are in that phase, my kids have played with a lot of wooden toys:

 

Wooden stacking rings

 

Hape elephant with the string removed (it's wheeled and has a handle grip)

 

Different large bits of fabric with texture in a kleenex box that the toddler can stuff and remove

 

Smelling jars--the Montessori idea--but baby proofed

 

Finger painting with a bit of spray whipping cream

 

Toy xylophone (for motor control)

 

Depending on the kid: oversized tweezers to move 2" toys or other "pinching" action type toy. Clothespins on a ribbon also work those same muscles, or cheerios on a tray

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Plan that everything is going to go in his mouth. When they are in that phase, my kids have played with a lot of wooden toys:

 

Wooden stacking rings

 

Hape elephant with the string removed (it's wheeled and has a handle grip)

 

Different large bits of fabric with texture in a kleenex box that the toddler can stuff and remove

 

Smelling jars--the Montessori idea--but baby proofed

 

Finger painting with a bit of spray whipping cream

 

Toy xylophone (for motor control)

 

Depending on the kid: oversized tweezers to move 2" toys or other "pinching" action type toy. Clothespins on a ribbon also work those same muscles, or cheerios on a tray

Thanks!  I especially love the idea of fabric in Kleenex boxes.  I have lots of things that could tolerate some mouthing, but not the gnawing and eating that my toddler does!  :) But fabric could do it for all.

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Hope this will not be perceived as highjacking thread as this answer could directly help OP. I have lots of things in line for my thirteen month old when he's old enough to not put EVERYTHING in his mouth. Most busy bag ideas seem to be directed towards the two to three year old range. He, of course, wants to play with everything that isn't his...Personal favorite seems to be eating the styrofoam off the dry erase Markers erasers. Any ideas for the toddler but still eating everything stage? My girls would have to eventually put things in their mouths, but would at least examine it for a bit first :). We are managing, and I have a selection of special school toys. Just wondering about other ideas.

If you are also in the kitchen push a step stool over to the sink and let them play with plastic cups and spoons in the partially filled sink. Your floor will get wet, but my kids would play like that for a long time.
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Hugs! 

 

You are at a rough spot,1 y.o.'s make hs'ng difficult, on the bright side that will get better.

 

As others have mentioned you are going to need to put a schedule/routine in place. You need to have a plan for them and for you. 

 

I would take off some time at the holidays here- 2-3wks- and get that plan in place while you work on lining out your household work and attitudes- and take a break for yourself. Decrease the number of things you are doing each day to set everyone up for success. 

 

Over the years things have changed as the age and number of kids has changed, there isn't just one right way, but you are just going to have to pick a plan and really go for it. Pick whatever resonates for you and seems reasonable to implement, plans are no good if you can't keep up with them. 

 

As it is right now our routine-

breakfast

PE

start homeschool-

I work with the kids individually starting with the youngest(7), the 4yo sits in on this and I will usually do a bit with her- the 12 and 9yo have checklists and individual work to do during this time. If the 9yo happens to finish what she can and I'm still working with her sister then she can do chores, play with the 4yo or do anything that is not bothering us.

 

After the 7yo I then go through the older 2, when the kids finish with me they are typically done with their work and free to go play. It only takes an hr or so for the 7yo to get her work done so the youngest doesn't have too long without a playmate.

 

We do group clean-up at lunch time and again around 3 before electronic time.

 

*Quite often the older 2 will work on their independent work before breakfast or at bedtime so they might have a fair chunk done before we even start the day. My 9yo likes to be able to finish early to have lots of time for playing and my son just likes to get it out of the way.

 

*For a time I did school more as a one house school house- I would have them all do math at the table at one time, the older would start with review work while I explained the lesson to the younger and then after she had it down I'd move on to explaining new concepts to the older and then as needed I'd answer questions. It worked for awhile and then it got chaotic so we changed it up. As it is hs'ing kids don't stay the same age and level, things will change it is ok to move on to something different when what you are doing is no longer working.

 

*When my youngest was 1 she mostly sit on my lap while I taught the others, she was a horrible napper and quite grumpy at times but we just kept muddling through. On the plus/minus side, she would nurse forever so that was a good time to do work on the couch. I remember the first week back the summer after she stopped napping when she was 1, it was hairy, I nearly cried several times. I would rock and bounce and carry her while bouncing back and forth between the older two. We just kept at it and kept at it. Now my other 2 girls were a breeze compared to her, my 7yo would sit for hrs in the window seat and look at books even as a toddler. She was an exceptionally easy kid. So, it isn't all parenting, some kids are harder and some kids are easier. Although my youngest was a much harder baby she has calmed down so much and hardly disrupts our day at all these days(she just turned 4). 

 

*Get the kids some outside and/or active time, it is good for them(and us) and it helps their brains work better.

 

*Look at paring back your school expectations while you work on establishing a working routine and good attitudes. You might even consider a pared-down schedule for the Spring with an eye towards picking it up in the Fall when you all have it more together, again set everyone up for success!

 

 

Check-lists have been huge here to put the kids more in charge of their own work. If you want the kids to work on their own you first have to make sure they know what to do before you want them to do it and it needs to be as explicit as possible, after that it is just a matter of consistently training them to wait their turn and not interrupt. The kids are also motivated to get their work done because they know that they will have some free time when it is finished. 

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Fresh air and exercise in the morning take everyone outside for a nature walk, let them get their wiggles out.

 

walk at their pace and let them explore and embrace the hour. When you come in,  read to the littles, give them attention and let the bigs watch a school related show.

 

When my kids were younger, i would let them watch a history video  that went along  with what ever they were studying whole and I would take care of littles. then, theoretically , the littles would take better naps and I would help big kids with math and LA after lunch during nap.

 

You are in a  stage where school can/will be chaotic due to the noise level of the littles.

The only control you have is making sure the basic needs are met.  You can work out classroom management techniques, but babies and 3 year-olds generally don't cooperate.

 

 

 

 

 

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Thank you for all the help and ideas. We just got back from a weekend in the mountains as a family and I've had some time to decompress and enjoy my kids and mull over some ideas to help make homeschooling a little smoother around here.

 

It's been a hard year. Besides the obvious stuff that goes along with 6 kids, DH returned just over a week ago from a 10-month deployment and the day I wrote the OP might be described as the day I had the meltdown I was holding in for the last 10 months. After the weekend I feel better am ready to make some changes to our homeschooling routines

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It's been a hard year. Besides the obvious stuff that goes along with 6 kids, DH returned just over a week ago from a 10-month deployment and the day I wrote the OP might be described as the day I had the meltdown I was holding in for the last 10 months.

Been there, done that. I understand completely. :)

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Thank you for all the help and ideas. We just got back from a weekend in the mountains as a family and I've had some time to decompress and enjoy my kids and mull over some ideas to help make homeschooling a little smoother around here.

 

It's been a hard year. Besides the obvious stuff that goes along with 6 kids, DH returned just over a week ago from a 10-month deployment and the day I wrote the OP might be described as the day I had the meltdown I was holding in for the last 10 months. After the weekend I feel better am ready to make some changes to our homeschooling routines

Well, no wonder, cut yourself some slack. Considering the ages of your kids especially I'd look at this being an easier year for you guys, get the schedule lined out, work on behavior but more importantly work on relationships, spend time with your dh and TAKE SOME TIME FOR YOU!!!

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I just wanted to say that I really appreciate this thread and all the replies here.  I haven't been on the boards much since school started and we're dealing with some behavior issues here (more whining/complaining/woe is me stuff than OP,) but the replies are super helpful all the same.  I'm going to spend some time rereading tonight and making some notes to figure out what I can change to make our days more pleasant.

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Thank you for all the help and ideas. We just got back from a weekend in the mountains as a family and I've had some time to decompress and enjoy my kids and mull over some ideas to help make homeschooling a little smoother around here.

 

It's been a hard year. Besides the obvious stuff that goes along with 6 kids, DH returned just over a week ago from a 10-month deployment and the day I wrote the OP might be described as the day I had the meltdown I was holding in for the last 10 months. After the weekend I feel better am ready to make some changes to our homeschooling routines

 

:grouphug:  :grouphug:  Deployment is so very hard with dad gone -- but also the transitions are hard, first adjusting to dad/husband being gone, then adjusting to dad/husband being home again. Some of the behaviors of the older DC might also be related to dad being gone, too, so hopefully this trip was a refreshment for everyone, and a "clean slate" re-start. :) Wising you all the best! Warmest regards, Lori D.

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If you are also in the kitchen push a step stool over to the sink and let them play with plastic cups and spoons in the partially filled sink. Your floor will get wet, but my kids would play like that for a long time.

 

I had one who would play in the sink for HOURS. She is nearly 12 and still loves to play in water (and mud). LOL. Ahhh... the toddler days. :001_wub:

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Thank you for all the help and ideas. We just got back from a weekend in the mountains as a family and I've had some time to decompress and enjoy my kids and mull over some ideas to help make homeschooling a little smoother around here.

 

It's been a hard year. Besides the obvious stuff that goes along with 6 kids, DH returned just over a week ago from a 10-month deployment and the day I wrote the OP might be described as the day I had the meltdown I was holding in for the last 10 months. After the weekend I feel better am ready to make some changes to our homeschooling routines

 

:grouphug:  :grouphug: :grouphug:  

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  • 3 weeks later...

Great advice above, but can we all agree that even if you've done everything 100% right from birth (whatever that would look like), homeschooling with a 3 and 1 year old in the house can be crazy, and older kids really try your patience?

 

This makes me feel better. I ended up on this thread because my days feel like complete chaos with my 3 and 1 yo interrupting everything and the 1 yo more often crying than not. I figured I'd better check out what was already here on this instead of starting a pity-party all over again. lol. But I feel like I've done most of the things suggested and things are just hard. Two little kids (half of the week, I also have an extra 3 yo and 3 mo old that I babysit so that there are 6 kids ages 7 and under here...) and a few of those six with learning challenges, and it's often all I can do to make it to nap time while maintaining any sort of sanity, let alone grace. :)

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