Homeschooling 101

In celebration of the first week of September – and for many the first week of school – each day I’ll share homeschooling help for those with Preschoolers, Elementary Students, Middle Schoolers, and High Schoolers.

My children were very close in age. This was a wonderful advantage homeschooling when they were all school age because I could teach them together. But when my eldest began kindergarten, I had a three-year-old and a one-year-old who also needed my attention.

If you’re there this week, these tips are for you!

Homeschool Help with Preschoolers:

  • Spend time with the youngest first. (This is also a good tip when all your children are homeschooling!)

Homeschooling became more manageable when I made it a priority to begin with the youngest children first – my preschoolers. While my older children were reading silently, practicing their instruments, writing thank you notes, or simply making their beds and doing morning chores, I made spending time with the youngest first priority.

Whether we read together, played together, braided hair and talked, or even cleaned her room together made no difference. All my youngest child seemed to need was to know she was loved and important to me. Then, when it was time to ‘do school’ with her older siblings, she rarely objected to playing independently.

The days we got busy and I rushed into schoolwork neglecting time with my daughter, were the days she constantly interrupted and I found myself raising my voice and responding in anger and frustration with all of my children. 😦

The routine of beginning with the youngest first made a significant impact on the tone and quality of our schooldays. It isn’t a hard and fast rule, but it worked in our home and I think it will work in yours as well.

  • Have your older children ‘do school’ with their younger siblings.

I found a lovely benefit to homeschooling my children was the positive impact it had on their relationships with each other. One way I kept my preschooler content during our schooldays, was having my older children work with her.

Having them read to her or work on simple math concepts reinforced their understanding of subjects as well as began the schooling routine for my preschoolers. The older children made worksheets for her, taught her to spell her name, sang with her, and read to her.

Often, my older children looked forward to this time as a break from their more challenging schoolwork. It was a win, win!

  • Set aside learning toys to be used only during school time.

I set some of our educational toys aside for my preschooler to be played with during school hours. We bought special crayons and paper, water painting books, and Playdoh which was stored in the schoolroom especially for my youngest. She looked forward to school time and referred to her activities ‘her school.’

  • Think outside the box – be creative with time and activities!

It’s much more difficult to teach while nursing, changing, and feeding an infant. But homeschooling needn’t look like regular school. When my youngest was a baby, my oldest child was learning to read, and my three-year-old was potty training! It was impossible to keep a regular school schedule.

I quickly learned to spread out the school day for my older child, working on subjects which needed my undivided attention while the younger children were napping.

We had to be creative with topics like math and science – often taking them outside. We drew the phases of the moon on the driveway with sidewalk chalk; counted petals on flowers and leaves on plants identifying patterns; painted our house the way Monet would, etc. All my children were learning and it was fun!

I hope these suggestions will help make this week begin well in your homeschooling journey. For more tips, go to the Homeschooling/Education page on my website.

God speed and have fun learning together!

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