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Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Homeschooling preschoolers (or how to fit preschool into a busy homeschool day)

March 8, 2011 029

I am often asked about homeschooling so many different levels in our home.  Currently, we have a 7th grader, a 5th grader, a 2nd grader, a 4 year old preschooler, and a toddler.  Probably the hardest thing about teaching so many levels is finding the time to teach the preschoolers.  Even though they aren’t actually required to learn much at that age, most preschoolers are eager to learn as much as they can.  Or that is the case in our home.  My two little ones beg me to include them in our school day.  But how does one teach the little ones their letter & numbers, an older child to read, and an even older child pre-algebra?

March 8, 2011 032

I’m going to share how we have managed this year in our home but I want to say up front that I believe one thing that makes this system work is that our older children are able to do much of their school work independently.   None of the three older children do all of their work independently but they can do large amounts of work on their own which enables me to spend time with the younger children.  Then I teach the older children during the little ones’ nap times. 

March 8, 2011 034

Another thing that helps me balance teaching time for the preschoolers and the older children is that my older children are willing to help with the little ones.  Sometimes, when I’m teaching an older child, one of the other siblings will play with or even teach/read to the younger children.  This helps me give undivided attention to the child who needs help, teaches the older child about caring for others, and keeps the little ones out of trouble. 

March 8, 2011 035

Our homeschool day with preschoolers looks something like this (all times are approximate).  One thing that doesn’t show up on this schedule is that even though I may be working with one child at a particular time, I will sometimes finish early and head back to work with the younger ones again.  Sometimes when I’m teaching E(7) during her language arts block, she and I will head to the kitchen where she will read to me.  At that same time, I might be working with the little ones on painting letters or shapes or writing in shaving cream.  I spend more time with the preschoolers than this chart actually shows. 

 

Mom

B (12)

G (10)

E (7)

A & E (4 & 2)

9:00

Math & discuss independent work w/E(7)

Independent Work

Preschoolers

With Mom

With G

9:30

Preschool time

Independent Work

Math on computer

Independent Work

With Mom

10:00

Language arts with E(7)

Math on computer

Independent Work

Language Arts with Mom

Preschool activity

10:30

Work with G (10)

Preschoolers

Work with Mom

Independent Work

With B

11:00

Work with B (12)

With Mom

Independent Work

Preschoolers

With E

11:30

Outside break and/or science

12:00

Lunch and clean up

12:30

Independent reading and art

Read with Mommy

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

After the little ones and I have read some books and snuggled, they lay down for naps/quiet time.  Then the older ones and I do history and go over subjects that they were not able to do independently.

March 8, 2011 040

Some things I have found that make a homeschool day with preschoolers easier are:

  • Be willing to allow for some messes.  The little ones love to be active.  Sometimes that means playing with water (like above) or beans or even play dough.  It seems the messier it is, the longer they play and the quieter it is.
  • Keep everyone close by.  I don’t let the little ones roam around the house during school time.  This seems to lead to messes. 
  • Have them do a fun activity with their sibling buddy teacher.  They will often play blocks or play dough with the older siblings while I’m teaching others.
  • Try to start the day with the little ones.  I actually start my second grader off with her work first but then I make sure to teach the little ones as soon as possible.  The day goes much smoother when I do this.
  • Keep a few activities ready.  My little ones will sometimes breeze through an activity that I have prepared.  I try to have another one ready to go.  Some of our favorite activities are painting with watercolors, painting with dot paint, washing baby doll clothes, playing with playdough, and cutting paper.  Sometimes I even turn on the TV!
  • Be flexible if it doesn’t go very smoothly.  Some days just don’t go smoothly.  {smile}

March 8, 2011 038 This week the little ones are learning the letter W.  So today they washed baby doll clothes in water and hung them out to dry!

That’s how we have managed to find time to teach the little ones and keep them busy during the school day.  It makes for a busy day but it does keep our home more peaceful while everyone is getting their learning time with Mom!

8 comments:

  1. This is a really great post!

    First,

    I love how you say that most pre-schoolers are eager to learn. How very TRUE! It would be easy to let them run around and play, but what a fine time to teach them because they love to learn. I have learned from you to make time for my little one and she loves it!

    Second,
    I love the activities you do with your little ones. What a great idea to wash clothes and hang them out to dry and yes... we must let go of not having a mess and let them be little:)

    Third,
    I love that first photo at the table peaking into the rest of your little home. so sweet:)

    Fourth,
    WHAT A CUTE HEADER!!!

    ReplyDelete
  2. oooh, I'm so excited about this post, I don't know what to comment on first!
    The washing activity has LOVE all over it! I love how you made the clotheslines!
    The chart. Oh, the chart. You are speaking my language - I love to see the day laid out like that, knowing that it rarely goes exactly that day:) So here's my question (and I am always full of 'em, don't you know!): how long did it take to get the kids in the swing of Mom rotation and assisting with the Littles?

    ReplyDelete
  3. This is SO what I needed to read today... I have been feeling kind of lost in the school dept lately not sure how to structure my time with 2 little ones...

    Thank you! Thank you! for putting a schedule up, for telling/showing/explaining that it can be done!!

    **Also, I just love that your kids are washing dolls clothes and hanging them out to dry! So cute!!!

    ReplyDelete
  4. Great ideas! I hadn't let her wash and dry clothes in the house before. We usually wait till warmer weather,lol but that works too!
    Have a wonderful week!
    Blessings,
    Jill

    ReplyDelete
  5. Thanks y'all for stopping by and chatting with me! I appreciate it.

    ReplyDelete
  6. This was a great post with lots of encouragement, Adriane!

    Love your ideas, and the clothes washing is so very cute! My little Faith would love that. I've let her wash clothes at the sink and then hang them outside before, but hanging them right there in the living room would be so great for the winter months! Thanks for the inspiration!

    ReplyDelete
  7. Great ideas! I hadn't let her wash and dry clothes in the house before. We usually wait till warmer weather,lol but that works too!
    Have a wonderful week!
    Blessings,
    Jill

    ReplyDelete
  8. This is a really great post!

    First,

    I love how you say that most pre-schoolers are eager to learn. How very TRUE! It would be easy to let them run around and play, but what a fine time to teach them because they love to learn. I have learned from you to make time for my little one and she loves it!

    Second,
    I love the activities you do with your little ones. What a great idea to wash clothes and hang them out to dry and yes... we must let go of not having a mess and let them be little:)

    Third,
    I love that first photo at the table peaking into the rest of your little home. so sweet:)

    Fourth,
    WHAT A CUTE HEADER!!!

    ReplyDelete

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