13 February 2015

Homeschooling can be difficult when...

Surviving Homeschool with Toddlers

Most parents know how hard it is to have babies in the house.  They are needy and unpredictable and require a lot of one on one attention.

When I tell people I homeschool after they ask me how I feel about socializing my children (that's always everyone's concern) they then say, "How do you do it with a baby?"  And that question is the most difficult to answer because everyday of homeschool for us is different.

My goal everyday is to do at least 3 hours of homeschool with Julia and Mark.  We usually start at 8:30 a.m. and end right around lunch time.  But as you know life with an almost 2 year old and a 6 month old (not to mention the demands of my 5 and 7 year old) is very chaotic, demanding, and intense.

This gets even trickier when you add elements like sickness, snow storms, and sleepless nights.

Homeschool was easier with only 2!!!
Homeschooling is most difficult when you or your child is sick.  Last week and this week we have dealt with 2 sick parents and 2 sick babies.  Julia and Mark have been healthy, but keeping the schedule when everyone else is feeling yucky can be very hard.  Thankfully John stayed home when I was sick and took over my home school duties (and added some extra subjects like Chinese...my poor kids...lol).  But when Dad must go to work, keeping the schedule is almost impossible.

The beauty of homeschool is that we are not confined to the clock and can do school after lunch, after dinner, or after nap time.  But I find it easiest to get the bulk of our school work done between the hours the kids are the most energetic and alert which is 8am til noon.  Then we have time to go on field trips, run errands, or go on play dates, or do chores/responsibilities in the home.

Homeschooling can be difficult during bad weather because the kids get so excited by the snow!  But it can also be a great incentive to finish school work, so one can go sledding or build a snow man. On snow days we still do school (another beauty of home school) and I like to add something fun like baking, or a craft on those days to make them memorable and special.

Homeschooling can be difficult when there are sleepless nights...and when you have a newborn there could be a lot of those.  I have found that 3 cups of coffee does wonders!  I have also found that my children can do a lot of subjects independently.  They can do their math and spelling without my help (except for checking or teaching a new skill).  Reading can be done while I am nursing or they can read to each other or to a younger sibling.

One thing I am still struggling with is keeping Micah (my almost 2 year old) engaged while we do school.  I hate that sometimes I have to revert to putting on a show for him to watch in order to complete a subject.  I never let Julia and Mark watch as much t.v. as I have for Micah...and that kills me.  But I also have to be responsible to get school done, so I feel like I am stuck between a rock and a hard place.

In December, I enrolled Micah in a gymnastics class called Ready Set Go and he loves it.  He goes twice a week for 2 and a half hours and he is able to play, do gymnastics, make friends, do crafts, and have his own school time, while mommy does school with the big kids.  It is close to home so I use that time only for schooling.  We also make sure we take Micah to the library once a week for a class time just like I used to do for Julia and Mark.  They do their school work at a table and read books, and he gets to play and interact with kids his age.

My big kids!
Homeschooling has been a roller coaster this year, but yesterday I was proud of how far we've come.  I feel like we have a rhythm and we are even doing extra things this year like Classical Conversations on Wednesdays and the Social Studies Fair is coming up (we are studying China), and prepping for Standardized testing in the spring.  

It isn't always easy, everyday is different, but we are plugging along and doing our best!


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