A Child Left To Himself....

How does one go about homeschooling older children, taking care of a house and a husband, as well as the millions of other little tasks we moms have, without leaving the little ones to themselves?

Mainly it takes a slight shift in thinking. When we realize that the teaching and training of young children is just as valuable as the three R's we may be working on with older children we will put the effort into planning our day to make time for these little ones.

Today was an imperfect example, but a good real life one. I am fighting a cold of some sort and was at a new low for energy. Although my ideal is to have a Montessori like "prepared environment" we recently moved and I haven't quite gotten all the activities set up and instructed the little ones in their use. It was also a regular school day for us, so my top strategy for dealing with my low energy level was to just spend extra time reading picture books to the little ones, and catching up on grading and checking schoolwork, instead of my usual routine of heading outside after lunch for "field work" on our five acres.

Even without the perfect prepared environment I make a big effort to read picture books to the little ones several times a day, give them outside play time with an older sibling watching and work on teaching chores and hygiene. We do a lot of talking about what we are doing, for example, instructions on how to brush teeth, as we brush together, little made up songs about making beds as I help the littlest ones make their beds and chats about putting away toys and clothes in their proper "category" as we pick them up.

Our time with the littlest ones goes fast, and although it is a stretch sometimes to meet the needs of the various ages in my home, connecting with each one, and taking baby steps forward in training all of them is possible with a little planning and a lot of diligence.


Don't Forget the Babies!

Having homeschooled for 12 years, 17 if you start from the birth of our first child when my teaching journey really began, I have seen many homeschool families move from the toddler stage straight through to graduating a child from high school. Through all these years of hanging out with homeschoolers it is easy to see that balance is a hard thing to achieve. Trying to homeschool, keep a house tidy, care for babies and keep a marriage strong adds up to a big workload, especially when you add in caring for extended family, church needs and your community.
My initial purpose with this blog and eventual book is to encourage moms to not leave the little ones behind as they move forward with homeschooling older kids. Babies are a such a gift from God, cuddling with number 7 while I counsel my 17yr old on future plans has brought such joy to our lives, and I believe that with a bit of preparation we can take good care of these little ones as well as giving their older siblings a great education for the Glory of God.