It is challenging to say the least to get school accomplished with multiple children of young ages. This year I have one in second grade and one in preschool. So I know it’s only going to get harder from here for the next couple of years as my youngest ramps up but my oldest still needs lots of hands-on help.
We are four weeks into our school year so far. And I am very happy to say we have established a good routine. It doesn’t take all da-gone day to get through lessons. And melt-downs and distractions have been minimized. We have a routine, not a schedule, because that just works better for our lives right now. The goal is to start by 9:00. Then we just take things, one at a time, until we’re done.
This is what our homeschool routine with young children looks like:
Our Morning Basket (Hint: There isn’t one . . . for now.)
Last year, I started off school time with Bible study and a variety of reading. But I found that, for us, it seemed to be a slow start. I have ditched this entirely. My daughter does her independent Bible study on her tablet during “homework”.
*I laugh just typing that since it’s ALL “homework”. But my daughter loves to call it that. It’s her independent work time.*
And we work reading into various places throughout the day.
Instead, we have a morning fun-silly-get-out-the-wiggles-time. We do yoga, ride bikes, have a nature walk, play Go Noodle, etc. I think it really helps them focus to run and play before sitting down to school. AND since it’s 10-million degrees by noon here right now, we get our outdoor time done early.
Down to Business Juggling Two Littles
Then it’s down to the nitty-gritty. I usually set my preschooler up to play for a while while I get my big girl started. But she just begs me to do her “morning binder” anyway because she wants to start school too.
SIDE NOTE: These binders were the biggest hit with my oldest in preschool/kindergarten. Now, I think my youngest loves it even more. And they have learned SO much from them. Learn how to assemble yours for free here.
In the beginning, THIS was the hard part. My little one had no idea what to do with the binder. And my big girl needed lots of hand-holding at the same time. And NOBODY wanted to wait for mom’s attention.
But the great thing about these binders is that it doesn’t take long and they work independently with them. Four weeks in and I can sit next to my little one teaching my second grader and occasionally point or quickly say something to help out my little one. It keeps her happy and busy.
When she is done with her binder, she can do:
- bead stringing.
The possibilities are endless to keep them quietly engaged. Check out my preschool boards on Pinterest for hundreds of fun, educational ideas.
Now for My Second Grade Routine Hacks
Here are my tricks for getting through a rather ambitious curriculum in a short amount of time:
- I start with the trickiest or more technical subjects first and work my way to easier or more fun ones.
- We work on new math concepts together and I save already mastered ones for her “homework” time and she does those independently. (We use Horizons math. A lesson is usually one page, front and back, with a mix of new concepts and mastered ones. This typically means we work the first half of the worksheet together and then move on. She does the other half in the afternoon, only asking me for help where necessary.)
- Same with penmanship. She has one page of work that we carefully go over together, focusing on form. Then she has practice pages that I set aside for her to do later on her own. BOOM. Done. Next subject, please.
- I also set aside any coloring pages that accompany lessons and any extra reading for science or history that I know she can read on her own.
- I save larger art projects, science demonstrations, etc. for Fridays. We do “full school” four days a week only. And Fridays are our day for those bigger projects or any catch-up that needs to be done. This way, we don’t get bogged down during the week and we keep schooling to a reasonable timeframe.
Using these tips, we finish school by lunchtime! (At least the part I’m really involved in.)
Our core work covers:
- Memory work – Bible verses, grammar rules, continents & oceans, etc. (Daily)
- Geography (Mon/Wed)
- Math (Daily)
- Grammar (Tues/Thurs)
- Spelling (Daily)
- Reading & Narration (Daily)
- Penmanship (Daily)
- Science (Mon/Wed)
- History (Tues/Thurs)
“But wait,” you say. “What about that preschooler during all this?”
In addition to the morning binder, I am going through Easy Peasy Getting Ready 1 with my preschooler. We work in watching the videos while my second grader completes a task or has a short break. She works on the coloring pages at the table with us after her morning binder. And we do the crafts together in the afternoon or on Fridays.
Wrapping Up the Day with Independent Work
After some lunch and playtime, my daughter is ready to grab her homework folder and get those few items done on her own. It’s only about another 30 minutes of work – pending distractions – ifyaknowwhatImean. This is what she calls “homework”. And she really loves having things to do all by herself.
The math work really does benefit her. So does any independent reading I’ve assigned. But the extra penmanship practice and coloring pages or extras are just that – extras. If we have a busy afternoon I ditch them entirely or simply reschedule some of this work to Friday.
But I notice that this time REALLY benefits her in character traits and study skills far more than academics. It is a good challenge for her to stay focused and disciplined when working by herself. And I have seen big improvements in just these four weeks. She has also practiced checking her own math and self-assessment of her penmanship.
This is usually when I sit down to read to my little one.
So how do you juggle homeschooling with multiple littles? Comment below to let me know! I know there are so many of you out there who have way more thrown into the mix than just two. And I NEED to know YOUR tips and tricks to get through school with everyone still alive and the house not on fire.
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