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keeping little ones busy during 'school' time

post #1 of 7
Thread Starter 

DD1 is starting kinder at home this year.  We are going to be doing a mix of stuff, but will be including some seat work about an hour a day.  The rest will be circle time, book reading/ discussion stuff that dd2 can be involved in.... my question, what can I do (preferably, not tv or computer) to keep her busy while I need to actually instruct DD1.  I have done some worksheets/ lessons with DD1 in the past, and it doesn't go well... DD2 will lay on the table, grab pens and pencils, throw a fit.... whatever it takes to get my attention.  I have tried to give her things to do at the same time (worksheets, color pages of things she LOVES, etc....that doesn't go well)


DS will also be crawling soon, so how do you mommies of many occupy the younger ones while you homeschool?

post #2 of 7

I have to say that an hour of seatwork a day with a kindergartener, with two younger kids underfoot, sounds incredibly ambitious and quite structured to me. We did no seatwork until 2nd/3rd grade level and even then it was maybe 20-30 minutes at a shot, three or four times a week. We did manage one-on-one music practicing at age 5 for a few minutes a day, but that was in the evenings, or during younger-sibling naps. The rest was experiential family-centred learning, self-directed stuff, learning through life and such. That approach was necessary from a parenting standpoint, but my kids also thrived on it, both emotionally and academically.


If you really want to do that much seatwork, I'd consider using naptimes and evenings and weekends. You might also be able to involve the younger dd with a special box of activities (rolls of tape, anyone? lickable stickers? playdough?) that comes out only when the older is doing schoolwork.



post #3 of 7
I have the same issue! I really really like some of the ideas from this blog:
Busy bags, little projects you put together, only to be brought out perhaps when you need to do one on one time with an older sibling. May be a bit time consuming to implement, but fun nonetheless! -lisa
post #4 of 7
Thread Starter 

Thanks for these.  I love the little busy bags!


DH is a little weary about me HSing, and wants to see concrete work.... He is not open at all to the idea of unschooling and I am trying to find a good middle ground.....  I will try to follow her lead though and go at her speed.  She is very driven and has enjoyed work sheets and 'school work' for a few years... even though we have not been very consistent about it.  


Even when we do games, DD2 will push all the pieces off the board and lay on the game, etc... so doing math with manipulatives sounds really hard.  Sigh, don't know how this is going to work....

post #5 of 7

Ok. I can think of two ways to do this that might work.


First, and this would depend a lot on your own feelings, using the computer for a lot of the work. That might allow you to set her work and come back to it. Its not the tack I'd take, admittedly, but I also never did structured sit down work with any of mine at this age (though if I had, I'd have had similar age younger kids). There are great programs that provide tracking, grade information, etc, which might meet your partner's needs.


The second would be to see how much you could get done by talking, experiential learning, etc. Maybe it might help for you to keep records? Photos, a blog, whatever? If you also want some written work off her, cool, but could you perhaps condense that work and/or have it ready to do so that you can use nap times etc effectively? When my kids were small and their youngest sister was born we used to walk her off to sleep in the pram (we did mainly use a sling but needs must) and then go to the coffee shop where she slept happily in the hubub, for me to read to the older ones. Don't know if that might be an option for you. It did the job, is what I'd say.


Actually feeling mildly nostalgic now, though it felt pretty intense at the time!

post #6 of 7
I'm going through this now too with my 3 yo DS3. My DDS are 11 and 8. What is working for us is for older dds to do most work independantly and to schedule instructional lessons when my dh is home. This approach rules out many curriculums that require a ton of direct instruction like right start math but has really helped the girls take ownership of their education.
post #7 of 7

We do what little school we do during my second child's nap. Also, for math we do use the computer (dreambox).

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