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So I babysit a little girl about the same age as my DS(3), but they are so far apart developmentally that the only thing I can think of is to treat them like they are completely different ages. With all the Covid issues, I'm likely the only preschool she will get. However, DS is doing kindergarten level work (in a very low-key way).

I could use advice on managing multiple kids/grade levels. Especially where the "younger" child doesn't want to let the other alone for 10 minutes of instruction.

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I'd do Five in a Row or Before Five in a Row with both of them and then just spend about 45-60 mins additional mins with your ds on math and phonics/simple reading/handwriting.  You could break it up into 3 different times where you work with him for just a few mins per day and maybe have her doing typical preschool activities (gluing, cutting, stringing, playdough, etc. )  I am not much help in the preschool dept bc I don't do preschool "academics" with my kids.

Edited by 8FillTheHeart
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42 minutes ago, BookMamaLade said:

So I babysit a little girl about the same age as my DS(3), but they are so far apart developmentally that the only thing I can think of is to treat them like they are completely different ages. With all the Covid issues, I'm likely the only preschool she will get. However, DS is doing kindergarten level work (in a very low-key way).

I could use advice on managing multiple kids/grade levels. Especially where the "younger" child doesn't want to let the other alone for 10 minutes of instruction.

When my kids were littler and  my son was the only one doing "real" academics, I liked to take them out to the park. I'd sit with my son as he did his math (or whatever), and my daughter could wander around picking up rocks and leaves.

We live in a city and don't have our own outdoor space, so maybe this was a bit more of a treat for us than it would be for others! But it worked, and everyone was happy. When we stayed home, we tended to have more of a problem with my daughter wanting attention while I worked with my son.

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19 minutes ago, 8FillTheHeart said:

I'd do Five in a Row or Before Five in a Row with both of them and then just spend about 45-60 mins additional mins with your ds on math and phonics/simple reading/handwriting.  You could bread it up into 3 different times where you work with him for just a few mins per day and maybe have her doing typical preschool activities (gluing, cutting, stringing, playdough, etc. )  I am not much help in the preschool dept bc I don't do preschool "academics" with my kids.

I'm not familiar with Five in a Row. I'll look that up. Preschool "academics" to me is fine motor skills, learning to share, and learning to id shapes, colors, alphabet, & numbers. They usually do fine motor activities together as DS is needing plenty of practice there. 

Maybe having her do play-doh will distract her long enough for DS to do a short lesson. I'm still trying to work out how to keep her attention on any activity for more than a few minutes - adhd (which is why letting her wander in the backyard or park isn't an option for us).

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A 5- to 10-minute attention span per activity is really right on target for a 3yo -- your DS is quite unusual to have a longer attention span. Since you're doing kinder-level material with DS, that can't be very time consuming -- can you just do his 30-45 minutes of kinder work broken into 5-10-minute spurts scattered through the day, while little girl does a 5-10-minute activity (see ideas below) of her own??

Or, lots of read-alouds scattered throughout the day -- picture books often only take 5-10 minutes -- and lots of hands-on exploration and imaginative play that they can both do together/simultaneously sounds great for both of them -- do you really *need* to do kinder level work with your 3yo DS this year?? Or, could that low-key kinder work just wait and be done on weekends and/or during the day when little girl is not there?

Or, similar to what Little Green Leaves described, perhaps set up some indoor and outdoor "busy" things the little girl can do, and rotate through them every 10 minutes. Also, have lots of things, and rotate new things in every few days or once a week; after a month or two, rotate some of the first activities back in again, to keep everything "fresh".

Outdoor (while you and DS sit outdoors with one eye on her and do work):
- "bubble tub" -- tub with water and dish soap, plus kitchen gadgets (hand/rotary beaters, whisk, turkey baster, drinking straw, laden and measuring cups, a plastic play watering can, etc.) for making and playing with bubbles
- "toy wash" -- tub of soapy/bubbly water, tub of clean water, scrubbing brushes and wash clothes, plastic toys
- paint with water -- hand her a small paint bucket and wide brush, and have her paint the walls, the sidewalk, etc.
- sandbox and toys
- sidewalk chalk
- a plastic magnifying glass to check out the plants and bugs

Indoor
- bin of rice or lentils or beans (or oatmeal), sitting on a big sheet on the kitchen floor, and scoops, measuring cups, ladle, plastic cups and containers, and other items for pouring, scooping, etc.
- treasure hunt bin -- bin of sand with craft store "jewels" mixed in; or bin of cotton balls with small toys mixed in
- more bin and toddler activity ideas
- busy bag activity ideas: here, and here, and also here and finally here, too
- Letter of the Week activities
- activities and items involving:
* sorting (nuts and bolts, different pasta sizes/shapes)
* arranging into a pattern (toddler bead string)
* coordination (stacking different sized cups, boxes, blocks)
* hand skills (put pipe cleaners or clothespins through a slot in a box lid, poke holes in corrugated cardboard with a pushpin transferring spring clothespins clipped to the edge of one box to another -- or, clothespin laying in the box, and clip around the box edge, then unclip; Dollar Store stickers -- child pulls from the sticker page and sticks as desired onto a sheet of construction paper)
- play-doh
- draw with chalk on dark construction paper
- watercolor paints with a Q-tip for a brush, on a sheet of construction paper
- beginning (pre-school age 3) cut/paste workbooks -- Kumon, or Rod & Staff, or other 
* or, with a fat marker, draw lines, some shorter, some longer, some wavy, some zig-saggy, starting at the edge of a sheet of paper into the paper several inches; child uses scissors and cuts along the lines
- toddler toys -- blocks, marble run, play silks and dress up clothes, etc.

Edited by Lori D.
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6 hours ago, BookMamaLade said:

So I babysit a little girl about the same age as my DS(3), but they are so far apart developmentally that the only thing I can think of is to treat them like they are completely different ages. With all the Covid issues, I'm likely the only preschool she will get. However, DS is doing kindergarten level work (in a very low-key way).

I could use advice on managing multiple kids/grade levels. Especially where the "younger" child doesn't want to let the other alone for 10 minutes of instruction.

I think your DS can get everything "extra" from schooly stuff you do with both of them, and she'll get some benefit from it on her level too -- reading aloud, doing a letter puzzle and talking about the sounds they make, counting songs, playing with math manipulatives like scoop-a-bug or a balance or cuisenaire rods or base ten blocks. Give them both maze books for small motor and lines for cutting and they can both practice to their abilities. That way you won't have to distract her with anything or do double duty trying to keep them separately busy.

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10 minutes here and there with him is all I'm trying to get - for phonics and math. I'm doing the kindergarten stuff with him because he WANTS to; he is shaping up to be an accelerated learner. 

"One eye on her outside" is literally, absolutely out of the question. 5 minutes is the outside of her attention span before I have playdoh stuck in my carpet. 

As she is with us 50+ hours a week, cutting into the evening/weekend when hubbs is home is not very functional for our family. 

Maybe the special needs board would be a better spot for help with her.

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I would do school with your ds while the 3 yr old eats.  A few minutes with him while she eats breakfast, lunch, snacks, etc is all K takes.  Put her in a booster seat or high chair strapped in while eating.  Give her a popsicle or playdough while she is in the seat after she eats.  Let her shape letters out of string licorice or glue beans on paper in the shape of letters.  Paint with water.  Write with dry erase board marker. 

There are plenty of ways to entertain a 3 yr old while you do K.  (I have an autistic ADHD ds who is my 2nd oldest.  You can make it work; you may just need to be creative.)

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Most of us do school with our own kids with our own toddlers around. It takes patience. It doesn't sound like she's got any special needs?? And what phonics and math are you doing that she can't participate in? My kids were two years apart. The older was advanced in academics. We did everything together as much as possible. Learning to read was with them at napime and bedtime. My early reader sounded out words in easy readers with me. And I read from a  couple poetry or picture books to both. They sat together for calendar time while little one was only 2, and she thought she was following along while we sang the months of the year and the days of the week. If we did math with manipulatives, she got some to do her math too- even if her math was just tossing them around the table or building with them. I always did school together with them. When odd was in third grade and we started foreign language worksheets, ydd's Latin workbook was a coloring book. I'd say get out your Latin books, and that was hers. She could color and put stickers in it during class time. We did a lot of playdough for her at table time. Odd would do a few minutes of what she needed to do, then get some playdough time too. Both at table together. 

 

 

Edited by 2_girls_mommy
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My 3 year old grandson sits at the table with us and does "school" with my kids who are 8 and 12. He has an ABC wipe off book like this one: 

https://www.amazon.com/Write-Ready-Pre-K-Scholastic-Learners/dp/1338272268/ref=sr_1_10?crid=11LBKC9F1NF16&dchild=1&keywords=abc+wipe+clean+activity+book&qid=1593827671&sprefix=ABC+Wipe%2Caps%2C169&sr=8-10

And a paint with water book like this: https://www.amazon.com/Melissa-Doug-Vehicles-Water-Reveal-Chunky-Size/dp/B009B7F6CA/ref=sr_1_22?crid=809C9YUX487U&dchild=1&keywords=melissa+and+doug+water+wow&qid=1593827810&sprefix=melissa+%2Caps%2C187&sr=8-22

I will also print off coloring pages from http://www.supercoloring.com/ and he has his own washable markers to color with. 

We also have toys nearby so he is free to leave the table and play if he wants to but he is still in the room with us so I can keep an eye on him. 

On the days when none of this keeps him occupied I let him use the ipad while I work with the other kids.

Susan in TX

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Some ideas that might help reduce the hyperactivity or increase concentration a bit:

- food: NO sugar, NO processed foods, NO dyes
- food: consider the possible there is a food sensitivity (most frequent are wheat, corn, and dairy) which can trigger hyperactivity
- food: schedule meals and snacks every 2 hours to keep blood sugar steady
- food: include a little protein at each meal or snack (cheese, cottage cheese, yogurt, peanut butter or other nut butter, a bit of chicken or meat (maybe a nitrate-free lunchmeat "roll up" with a piece of cheese in it), humus and veggies, etc.)
- nutritional: add omega-3 fatty acids to the diet (salmon, tuna, sardines, or -- a fish oil supplement) -- can reduce hyperactivity and impulsivity
- nutritional: maybe the parents can check zinc, iron, and magnesium levels -- if they are low, boosting with supplements can improve ADHD symptoms
- sleep: maybe the parents can make sure she's getting good sleep at night -- NO screens for 2 hours before bed; black out curtains, white noise generator, possibly melatonin supplement

Also: lots of aerobic exercise:
- running around the yard
- play equipment
- swimming (I know that's out with the pandemic, but in the future)
- sit and spin toy
- ball with a handle that child sits on and bounces up and down the hall or sidewalk
- yoga ball to sit/lay on to manage fidgets
- bounce on a mini-trampoline

After a good round of hard physical play/work out, practice relaxation: put on calm music, everyone lay on the floor on their own personal blanket; everyone slowly breath in to 5, crunch up all the muscles and hold the breath to a count of 5, then slowly blow out the breath and relax to the count of five. If that is more than 3yos can candle, then just practice slow, deep breaths while laying with eyes closed on personal blanket.

- Daily, several times a day, everyone do cross-lateral exercises (alternate arm/leg crawling, or marching, or "monkey wisdom" of lifting right knee high and grabbing it with left hand and then switching; or making sideways figure eights with big arm motions, following the motion just with the eyes, and the mid point of the sideways 8 right at the midline of the body) -- it can be fun -- do cross-lateral marching and crawling to music, or as Simon Says, or through an obstacle course of over pillows, under tables, between chairs, under a blanket over chairs -- the cross lateral motions help increase brain connection and focus.

- Routine is key

- Establish "blanket time" where you build up, starting with 1 minute, where each of you is on your own blanket on the floor doing a solo activity, and slowly increase length of time

GOOD LUCK! Warmest regards, Lori D.

Edited by Lori D.
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Part of the trick here will be establishing and enforcing your home routine/rules/culture.  This is true whether it is your 3yo or another 3yo.  Things like: 

Clean up between activities (or before meals, I could never manage constant clean up)

Sit at table to eat/drink

Sit quietly during picture book time

 

After that, pre-school is really unnecessary within a home where language is being used in a learning rich space.  That is, no 3 year old should be learning colors or shapes or really anything else by drill.  Simply comment constantly, "Your shirt is blue today!  That's like my table cloth!  The table cloth is a little bit darker blue, your shirt is blue like the sky." and "This plate is a circle.  What else is a circle today?  You're right, the pizza is a circle!"  If you want to go beyond that at age 3, do a letter of the week and count things out loud constantly.  "We each get ten grapes, let's count them..."  3 year olds are still learning to be civilized humans, and that means using language well- not adding or sounding out words.  

If your son is ready for more advanced work (two of mine could blend letters at 3), it should take less than 10 minutes and can be done before she arrives in the AM or after she leaves in the PM.  If this is a long-term job, invest in this early time on establishing your house rules, so that next year, you can tell her she needs to do play-dough quietly for 15 minutes while you work with ds, and she will know what that means and have the skills to comply.  

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7 hours ago, BookMamaLade said:

10 minutes here and there with him is all I'm trying to get - for phonics and math. I'm doing the kindergarten stuff with him because he WANTS to; he is shaping up to be an accelerated learner. 

"One eye on her outside" is literally, absolutely out of the question. 5 minutes is the outside of her attention span before I have playdoh stuck in my carpet. 

As she is with us 50+ hours a week, cutting into the evening/weekend when hubbs is home is not very functional for our family. 

Maybe the special needs board would be a better spot for help with her

I don't think not being ready to to K work at 3 makes her special needs.  Does she nap?  And for now maybe 2 minutes is her limit but maybe you can slowly build up.  

Edited by kiwik
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7 hours ago, Monica_in_Switzerland said:

Part of the trick here will be establishing and enforcing your home routine/rules/culture.  This is true whether it is your 3yo or another 3yo.  Things like: 

Clean up between activities (or before meals, I could never manage constant clean up)

Sit at table to eat/drink

Sit quietly during picture book time

 

After that, pre-school is really unnecessary within a home where language is being used in a learning rich space.  That is, no 3 year old should be learning colors or shapes or really anything else by drill.  Simply comment constantly, "Your shirt is blue today!  That's like my table cloth!  The table cloth is a little bit darker blue, your shirt is blue like the sky." and "This plate is a circle.  What else is a circle today?  You're right, the pizza is a circle!"  If you want to go beyond that at age 3, do a letter of the week and count things out loud constantly.  "We each get ten grapes, let's count them..."  3 year olds are still learning to be civilized humans, and that means using language well- not adding or sounding out words.  

If your son is ready for more advanced work (two of mine could blend letters at 3), it should take less than 10 minutes and can be done before she arrives in the AM or after she leaves in the PM.  If this is a long-term job, invest in this early time on establishing your house rules, so that next year, you can tell her she needs to do play-dough quietly for 15 minutes while you work with ds, and she will know what that means and have the skills to comply.  

 

4 hours ago, kiwik said:

I don't think not being ready to to K work at 3 makes her special needs.  Does she nap?  And for now maybe 2 minutes is her limit but maybe you can slowly build up.  

I agree 100% with both of these. I realize now that I misread ths OP when I initially skimmed it bc I thought the OP's ds was K age and the child being watched was 3, not both 3.

Preschool is a modern era construct and it really is unnecessary in a home where children are nurtured with daily normal interactions--stories, conversations, and play. The idea that preschool letters and numbers mean long-term gain is false if the child is in a language-rich environment where language/sounds/counting are parts of their daily life.

Learning nursery rhymes and playing sequencing games, etc are far more in important in developing the skills required for reading than learning their letters. Reading progression requires understanding initial and final sounds, letter sequencing, etc. If a child struggles with identifying  /t/ in the word sat, they are not ready to read. Brains mature at different rates (just like babies crawl, walk, talk at different ages that vary widely within normal  childhood development. A child walking at 9 months is not more "advanced" than one walking at 12 mos.) With reading, just playing and immersing in language vs learning how to identify and write letters at 3 does not impede their development or progression. Nursery rhymes, poetry, songs, those develop phonemic awareness and are actually more important at 3.

Fwiw, I intentionally do not do any preschool academics with my kids bc I believe developmentally other things are far more valuable for their development. I focus on imaginative play, self-entertainment (an incredibly undervalued long-term life skill), building/constructing, large and small muscle development through playing, and lots of stories and singing. When they are school age, they are absolutely not behind. By the time they graduate from high school, they are strong honors/advanced (some of them very advanced) students. And all of them started K learning their letters. (Well, not exactly. I didnt even do K with one of my kids bc he was too busy and didnt want to sit still.. He learned his letters in first and ended that year reading Charlotte's Web. By 2nd grade he was reading The Hobbit.)

All that to say, this is unnecessary angst. 3 yr olds are busy.  Read lots of stories, let them play, do arts and crafts and they will both be getting developmentally appropriate attention.

Edited by 8FillTheHeart
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Does the child have an actual diagnosis?  Everything you are describing sounds like perfectly normal 3yo behavior, especially a 3yo who is maybe coming from a home with less structure than yours.  It will take her a while to adapt and mature.  If she has an actual diagnosis, you may need to consider whether or not babysitting a high-needs child is compatible with what you are trying to do with your own child.  

My two early readers got to chapter books by age 6 on under 10 minutes of phonics/reading lessons a day.  Similar for math acceleration.  My "normal speed" kid is now 8 and reading chapter books - the same ones my accelerated readers did at 8.  She got to skip a lot of poorly written fluff (aka Magic Treehouse and genre): not a great loss.  

But to answer your OP, why not flip the question on its head?  What sorts of learning activities can your ds do independently, while you concentrate on her?  (Even though we all agree this is totally unnecessary?):

Can he sort buttons by color, number of holes, or size?  Can he collect 5 items around the house that being with the /r/ sound?  That end with the /t/ sound?  Can he place the correct number of buttons or beans on cards that have numbers written on them?  Can he arrange his stuffed animals from smallest to largest?  Herbivores vs carnivores?  It sounds as if your son is capable of doing independent tasks, so give him assignments and you can continue to work with the little girl.  When you take out playdrough, have him form the letters he knows while she makes what she'd like.  Grab some old magazines form a garage sale or library sale and set the kids loose with scissors and glue sticks.  Let her make whatever she wants, encourage your son to create a scene of his choice, or collect bird pictures or whatever.  You get the idea.  Many people here are homeschooling with babies and toddlers underfoot, and still managing to teach elementary, middle, and high school despite constantly supervising a younger child.  It's a matter of being creative and establishing BEHAVIOR routines for the little people.  

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On 7/4/2020 at 2:21 AM, kiwik said:

I don't think not being ready to to K work at 3 makes her special needs.  Does she nap?  And for now maybe 2 minutes is her limit but maybe you can slowly build up.  

That's not what I said. I am aware that my son is ahead of the curve, but it's not within my rights to share this girl's whole medical history to justify to you that she is developmentally behind. Since, as mentioned, ds is ahead, dealing with her requires a massive gear shift that I'm not sure how to make. Thus my seeking advice from those who have more experience managing multiple children.

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I'm also not sure why so many are assuming that learning the names of shapes, etc. means drilling? Playful activities and books are great ways to teach kids those concepts. Ds is just ready to move beyond the basics. He WANTS to. As I've stated, 10 minutes is all I'm looking for.

She can't stay still long enough to eat 1/2 of a sandwich; playdoh is the only thing that I've seen keep her occupied for 5 whole minutes. It would be insanity to give her scissors without direct supervision.

~~ The trouble is keeping her on her own activity while we do something else because ds gets annoyed with/distracted by her. ~~

She arrives at 5:45 am, and is frequently here until 5 or 6 pm. As is the infant I care for. Their parents work in the same factory as my husband.

I obviously have no control over her care or structure outside of my own home. 

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18 minutes ago, BookMamaLade said:

That's not what I said. I am aware that my son is ahead of the curve, but it's not within my rights to share this girl's whole medical history to justify to you that she is developmentally behind. Since, as mentioned, ds is ahead, dealing with her requires a massive gear shift that I'm not sure how to make. Thus my seeking advice from those who have more experience managing multiple children.

Just a heads up, but your tone in this post comes across extremely confrontational.  All we have to go by is what you have posted.  You could simply state that you are babysitting a SN child or a child with diagnosed AHDH or whatever generic identifier that makes people understand the situation more clearly.  No one asked for a complete medical history. 

FWIW, my response remains the same.  A 3 yr old "ahead of the curve" does not require any sort of academics that are not doable with another child who requires most of the attention.  If she is truly incapable of even sitting still for 5 mins eating a sandwich or any other activity, focusing on helping her learn to self-regulate will lead to longer life gains than anything you believe your ds will gain by doing K work as a 3 yr old.  So switch gears and focus on her and let your ds know that you are focusing on helping her master controlling herself so that when she starts to be able to self-regualte for short periods of time that you will work with him.  In the meantime, play rhyming games focusing on initial and final sounds with both of them bc that will only help both of them with phonemic awareness.  Play games with them where all of the skills you want to focus on are covered through active play so both are engaged.

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50 minutes ago, BookMamaLade said:

That's not what I said. I am aware that my son is ahead of the curve, but it's not within my rights to share this girl's whole medical history to justify to you that she is developmentally behind. Since, as mentioned, ds is ahead, dealing with her requires a massive gear shift that I'm not sure how to make. Thus my seeking advice from those who have more experience managing multiple children.

I think people have actually given a lot of really specific advice about activities to keep the little girl busy, as well as foods and other strategies to combat hyperactivity, and methods of teaching both kids at the same time. But maybe people could help you more if you explained the situation better. Obviously you shouldn't give out the little girl's medical condition, but maybe you could explain what kinds of problems you've been running into?

For example, you said that you can't just keep one eye on the little girl while she plays outside. Why not? What happens? Does she wander too far away? Does she do dangerous things? Knowing what the exact problem is makes it easier to help.

What happens if you read a book to both kids, or sing a song with them? Does she interrupt, or can she listen, maybe while doing something else?

What happens if you read a book with just your son? etc etc.

 

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41 minutes ago, BookMamaLade said:

~~ The trouble is keeping her on her own activity while we do something else because ds gets annoyed with/distracted by her. ~~

 

The key to homeschooling multiple kids at different ages/stages is keeping everyone working together as much as possible. So instead of having her working on her own activity, find things that they can work on together but that can be adapted to each child's ability. This could be as simple as giving her something to scribble on while he is working in his workbook. The point is that you are working with both children together and she is  included in what you are doing. 

Often the easiest way to do this is to work at the level of the younger child and adapt it to meet the needs of the older. So I would do something like Tot School with both of the children. 

Susan in TX

 

Edited by Susan in TX
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I had an 'ahead of the curve' 3 year old who wanted some academics, too, but even doing phonics and math was maybe 20 minutes a day, not all at once and not every day.  We did 'Hooked on Phonics' - I'm not arguing that you need that specific plan, but the point is that it's only meant to take 10 minutes each day. 

We did oral math mostly during clean-up.  At first we just counted items as we put them away, and then we moved on to 'what if I put away 3 and you put away 2' and eventually we moved on to fractions because we'd each do 1/2, and then we'd imagine what we'd each do if dad was there and we did 1/3.  We sometimes did kitchen math, which you can do as you put food on the table (everybody gets 2 crackers - how many crackers do we need?  I got out 5 crackers and each of you get 2 - how many is that?  how many are left?). 

If you want to do some sort of handwriting, I'd recommend something sensory like Handwriting without Tears, but you don't need writing curriculum at all at that age - my kids did almost no writing until K, and they had to sort of unlearn what they learned at the little church preschool that they went to 2 mornings a week for play time.  But, like the preschool model, you could do a letter of the week and have snacks, toys, TV shows, coloring pages, etc that involve that letter.  They could write with water on a surface, use sidewalk chalk outside, write with shaving cream or pudding on a plate, etc.  The point with those is that your kid could learn and if the other child doesn't want to or isn't ready to, she can just enjoy drawing and playing in the water or pudding or whatever.  We used dry erase markers on the big sliding glass door sometimes, too - she can scribble, son can learn to write an A.  

If her attention span is short, maybe try reading poetry, or the board book versions of Dr Seuss instead of the long versions.  My older has mostly been a happy student, while my younger couldn't sit still for years - self-entertaining with puzzles or coloring pages was not going to happen.  I think that many of us relate to having to teach while a younger kid is running around, and you've gotten some great suggestions for dealing with that.  My younger liked acting out poetry, so sometimes I'd read that and younger could act it out while older listened.  But, like others have said, I wouldn't put too much pressure on doing school work every day.  Our math happened entirely through the course of the day at that age, and reading practice was 10 minutes a day, 3 days/week, maybe?  And, with reading out loud, if your son is sitting beside you following along with your finger pointing out words while the girl is listening while running in circles, they are still both benefiting, only in different ways.  Things like pattern blocks, tangrams, wood blocks, and all of those Melissa and Doug toys can be good for the same reason - they can be played with on their own or be used to teach, and teaching only requires a phrase here and there, not a lesson that can be disrupted.  

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3 minutes ago, Susan in TX said:

 

The key to homeschooling multiple kids at different ages/stages is keeping everyone working together as much as possible. So instead of having her working on her own activity, find things that they can work on together but that can be adapted to each child's ability. This could be as simple as giving her something to scribble on while he is working in his workbook. The point is that you are working with both children together and she is  included in what you are doing. 

Susan in TX

 

 

This exactly.  Both can be playing at a water table while your son is ALSO counting out how many stones he's washed.  Both can be playing sand while son is drawing letters in the sand with a stick.  Both can be taking a walk in the park with you while son is listening more closely to a story you are telling him, or pointing out green things or square things or whatever.  Both can be playing blocks with an audiobook on in the background.  

There is no miracle to making a child who is not developmentally ready hold still and stay calm.  The best you can do is to lay the groundwork with daily structure.  If she is developmentally an 18 month old, then that is how you need to threat her, and where you need to put your expectations.  I have homeschooled 3 children simultaneously while my fourth was literally climbing on the table at 18 months.  One of my favorite memories is my oldest son simply holding out his hand to block younger brother while he continued to do math problems.  18 months is a tough developmental stage.  There is no secret to surviving it.  

I doubt you are going to find a quiet 10 minutes during your babysitting day.  I would do phonics at bed time if you really want to do phonics.  

It sounds like you are in a really tough situation.  Personally, if I did not need the money to survive, I would ask the parents to make other arrangements.  I would only be willing to give special needs level care to my own child or my nieces/nephews because I am a selfish person and selfishly guard my family time.  So I admire that you are trying to make this work.  If you plan on this being a long term gig, you really will get more benefit by focusing on her if possible, looking into special needs resources, and possibly a special needs daycare that she can attend already- many places offer early intervention for children with diagnosed SN.  

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Have you tried wearing her on your back with a baby or toddler carrier?  If she’s not used to it, it might take some time to work up to being in a carrier for X minutes. 
 

Could you do the K work orally while on a walk with the girl in a stroller?
 

Is she past the put-everything-in-her-mouth stage?  Assuming so, we enjoyed Kinetic Sand and water beads.   I also second the WaterWow books by Melissa and Doug. Pipe cleaners to shape into whatever. You could string pony beads onto the pipe cleaners ... or onto spaghetti stuck into a playdough base. Stickers.   Shaving cream on a tray or in a ziploc baggie. Sometimes just tearing paper bought us a crazy amount of time. Or taping paper together.  
 

Don’t be afraid to do school in the bathroom so that you can put her in a bathtub to do messy activities. 
 

Do you think it’s impossible to train her to stay on a blanket with toys/book?  Start with 1 min and then work to increase the duration. 
 

Could you do school with your son on the weekends thus leaving the work week to accomplish 3 days of school work? 
 

Could she sit on your lap and listen to an audiobook or watch a book on a tablet (YouTube or Tumblebooks) while you teach your son?
 

It’s challenging for sure!  And I think it’s wise to ask experienced moms for advice. (Pinterest also has tons of ideas.) But I’m sure you’ll figure out what works for your situation. Hopefully some of the ideas in this thread can get you to your solution quickly!

ETA:  Sarah Mackenzie of Read Aloud Revival suggests (IIRC) popsicles as a time-consuming food for littles to eat/stay occupied.

Edited by domestic_engineer
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1 hour ago, Monica_in_Switzerland said:

 

This exactly.  Both can be playing at a water table while your son is ALSO counting out how many stones he's washed.  Both can be playing sand while son is drawing letters in the sand with a stick.  Both can be taking a walk in the park with you while son is listening more closely to a story you are telling him, or pointing out green things or square things or whatever.  Both can be playing blocks with an audiobook on in the background.  

There is no miracle to making a child who is not developmentally ready hold still and stay calm.  The best you can do is to lay the groundwork with daily structure.  If she is developmentally an 18 month old, then that is how you need to threat her, and where you need to put your expectations.  I have homeschooled 3 children simultaneously while my fourth was literally climbing on the table at 18 months.  One of my favorite memories is my oldest son simply holding out his hand to block younger brother while he continued to do math problems.  18 months is a tough developmental stage.  There is no secret to surviving it.  

I doubt you are going to find a quiet 10 minutes during your babysitting day.  I would do phonics at bed time if you really want to do phonics.  

It sounds like you are in a really tough situation.  Personally, if I did not need the money to survive, I would ask the parents to make other arrangements.  I would only be willing to give special needs level care to my own child or my nieces/nephews because I am a selfish person and selfishly guard my family time.  So I admire that you are trying to make this work.  If you plan on this being a long term gig, you really will get more benefit by focusing on her if possible, looking into special needs resources, and possibly a special needs daycare that she can attend already- many places offer early intervention for children with diagnosed SN.  

Agree with you so much! The bolded is worth emphasizing.  Taking care of SN children takes heart time and investment bc of the challenges they present.  They definitely detract time from other children and other normal routine functions. They can be both emotionally and physically draining. You have to really be commited to helping them in a home environment bc the nature of their needs often means focusing on their needs and helping everyone else adapt to functiong around their needs vs trying to make them function within the needs of everyone else.  

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Lots of experience dealing with multiple age kiddos on this board, with all kinds of SN and learning differences. My odd has ADHD, but us also gifted academically. Two yes after her the next one has dyslexic symptoms, so academically has been more than two years behind academically. My next is ten yrs younger than her, and I homedchooled s niece in there as well. So when baby was born I had a 6th grader, 4th grader, preKer, and baby.

Sorry- got busy. Anyway, I taught high school and kindergarten this past year. It's a challenge to patience and creativity. But everyone here dies it. When I had an advanced three year old learning to read I had an actually 18 month old along for whatever we did. School for a three yr old doesn't look like it dies for an elementary kid. My three yr old learned to read because she wanted to. We didn't need to exclude the one yr old from what we were doing. As I tried to explain, she learned to read on my lap at bedtime and naptine storytimes, with her one yr old sister with us. I read to them, but also spent time with the beginning reader sounding out words she could read and explaining sounds. The one yr old listening and climbing up and down off if my lap as we talked. 

I set them both up to do crafts together. The three yr old would practice writing her name or letters. This just always continued. The little one always thought she was doing just what the older was. Her "school book" might have been a sticker book while the older one did a letter page. No the little one did not stay at the table the whole ten minutes that older worked on a page. But she started there. I had toys that rotated out just for school. 

When I had a three yr old niece for homeschool and my own older elem kids,I started the day doing preschool songs and games with her. Then I had her help me take care of the baby while the bigs did something. Then I got out schooltime toy totes for her while I read to them all. 

Homeschooling little kids takes a lot if irgsnization- physically by having activities set up and organized and accessible that can also be put up easily, and mentally by just knowing that you're going to be "on" the whole day, making meals, cleaning up, helping direct activities, etc. There's nothing wrong with working with a kid who's ready. But the little one should be included. Show them both the letter cards. Expose her just as much as you show him. Give her every sheet he's doing, even if she just scribbles, or doesn't touch it all. Make it available. It's school for both of them. 

 

Edited by 2_girls_mommy
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Welcome to the forum.  You might find seeking out Montessori style activities is worth while because then both can be working somewhat independently at their own level.  I’d also consider tipping out a box of blocks or setting up some paint with water activities to do while you read to them.  Because reading and talking with high quality language is going to be the absolute best thing you can give them in terms of education at this age.  A million times better than “preschool”.  If you want a curriculum five in a row is good or Sonlight p3-4.  Biggest mistake I made was doing too many academics too early with my first kid.

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Agreeing with the above advice, as the parent of many children, some of whom are gifted and some of whom have special needs.

Most of the people who have posted above have similar experiences; don’t dismiss their advice out of hand. 
 

Your child can speak three languages at 3, do multi digit math, read at a junior high level, and benefit from sandbox and water table time and picture books. It’s not an either/or dichotomy. The key to working with mixed ability groups is doing things together while differentiating at skill level.

We did a lot of Montessori work. I have used both Sonlight and Five in a Row with my children, but really any quality reading list of picture books will do much the same if you engage with the material by engaging in conversation about the characters, narrative and illustrations and by making real life application of themes or ideas from the texts.

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On 7/6/2020 at 6:11 AM, BookMamaLade said:

That's not what I said. I am aware that my son is ahead of the curve, but it's not within my rights to share this girl's whole medical history to justify to you that she is developmentally behind. Since, as mentioned, ds is ahead, dealing with her requires a massive gear shift that I'm not sure how to make. Thus my seeking advice from those who have more experience managing multiple children.

No but you suggested asking on the special needs board.  You say they are both 3 but are the several months apart? And is you son the older one?  If so I would just think of them being 2 and 4 and use the normal techniques homeschoolers use when trying to teach a k kid with a toddler - play dough, school only toys, short dvds etc.  

And I think you probably need to work on her right now.  If she arrives at 5.45 am though presumably she naps?  Is it possible for your son to sleep later and nap later so you can do half an hour before he sleeps while she sleeps then half an hour with her at the other end?

Edited by kiwik
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