About the time that families start having second and third babies is when some homeschooling parents think about putting an older child in school. That’s because some moms, in particular, cannot imagine homeschooling with little ones around, preoccupying her time, and taking away from schooling an older child. Both moms and dads worry about the quality of the education suffering, too.
The truth is that homeschooling is not only possible with little ones, but happens all the time, all across the country, in all kinds of families. While it may seem daunting at first, keep in mind that homeschoolers tend to have larger-than-average families, a testament to the fact that it is not only possible, but very typical of homeschooling households.
Not only is homeschooling with preschoolers around very common, but you can take heart in knowing that the parents who have come before you are willing to share secrets of how to do it. Tips from large families who homeschool with little ones are worth considering because they work!
Here are just some ideas that parents of large families use in successfully homeschooling with babies and toddlers under foot:
- school older children during a younger child’s nap time
- adopt a more flexible school schedule, rather than trying to stick to a rigid one that may not work
- keep younger children busy in a designated play place filled with special toys and activities guaranteed to hold their interest for short periods of time while you school an older child
- have older children take turns watching and playing with younger siblings while you spend individual time with another child
- spend concentrated time with a younger child first, so that he or she will not be clamoring for your attention if you work with an older child first
- enlist the help of a spouse, friend, grandparent or neighbor for occasional blocks of time with older children whenever possible
- join groups or cooperatives where several parents teach a class or conduct an activity for the older children, while other moms are able to keep younger children busy
- utilize outside time for learning, car time for learning, play grounds for learning, or any place where younger children are safe and happy, thus giving you time to spend with a school-aged child
- plan to accomplish school in bite-sized chunks, rather than long blocks of time that would be impossible to finish with younger children around
- find materials that older children can use on their own, with a minimum amount of help from you; use those materials during particularly tricky times of day when younger ones need your attention
There are many other tips and tricks that can be learned by watching and talking to larger families. Next time you see a homeschooling mom with many children, ask how she does it. You’d be surprised the ideas you may not have thought of that could work in your home!
[This royalty-free image comes from Free Digital Photos.]