Need homeschooling/unschooling advice for many small children - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 11 Old 09-14-2004, 10:34 AM - Thread Starter
 
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I am so scared- I have 5 year old twins and a 2 year old. I will have a newborn by February 05. I have been committed to homeschooling since my twins were born. My reasons are varied, but one of the biggies is that I don't want them to have to spend ALL DAY at school. I did well in school, but was very bored and got tired of most of the time being spent on discipline issues. Also, my daughters have many dietery restrictions and it would be complicated.

However, I am having a hard time finding the time to teach them anything at home.

If you homeschooled multiple children, how did you do it? Did a routine help the most? We are in a bad rut around here of doing a whole lot of nothing (the kids) while I run around doing laundry and cleaning up messes.

If there were a half day kindergarten around here, I think I would enroll the twins because I feel like now they are bored at home.

Please tell me it's possible to do this, and that I just need to get organized!

Thanks in advance!

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#2 of 11 Old 09-14-2004, 08:53 PM
 
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Did you mean to post this on the Homeschooling board?

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#3 of 11 Old 09-14-2004, 10:40 PM
 
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Moving to homeschooling forum where you will get lots of help!

 
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#4 of 11 Old 09-14-2004, 11:08 PM
 
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You just need to get organized.

You might want to rethink about what schooling is and what you and your children need.

I started homeschooling my son/children with an "Unschooling" mind set. It did not work. My son liked specific time for specific subject. He wanted to know why we were doing something. He needed notice so he could "focus" on learning. Also having a set time to focus on something helped him keep with an activity to do any good (ie working on motor skills). That is my son's personality. My girls are much more loose.

Also a routine help me feel like we were accomplishing something.

Your twins can work together on a lot of things.

Here is our morning:
We get up

eat breakfast

kids getting dressed is optional but I have to get dress to feel ready for the day. My son is doing this more an more.

My son does his guitar and memory work while I do reading or math with my oldest daughter.

Once I am done with reading or other subject with my oldest girl I work on the opposite. My main focus with her is the 3 R's the rest is "less focus". I know we will get to history and science later in her life. Reading, writing, and math are must have to survive life.

Ussually my son is done with is guitar before I am done with my oldest daughters first subject. So he ussually reads history.

Then we do math, grammar, et.

We have a flexible routine. Setting up a pattern for the day has helped us all.
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#5 of 11 Old 09-14-2004, 11:14 PM
 
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Hi there It is very possible to do this. If you want my honest opinion (and of course you do lol) I think you just need to relax. If creating a schedule is important and helpful for you than do that, but just keep it loose. Living with wee ones demands that you be flexible. If you are open to being unschooly and child-led so much the better.

Many of the days in our home look like a whole lotta nothing to an outsider, but to us it is exactly what we need and it is fulfilling to us. We learn because we live and breathe At age 5 the kids would be reading fun books, playing with number concepts, experimenting with art and science, and playing outside. These things can easily be done at home without a strict schedule pinning you in. Make some paper, writing tools, and stamps and stickers available to them for writing and art. Have a special nightly "story time" before bed or whenever is best for you during the day. The stories can include introductions to letter sounds and cool science stuff (I have titles if you are interested). It really can work, but you might have to relax your ideas about what education can look like Wishing you the best.

"The true measure of a man is how he treats a man who can do him absolutely no good."
peace.gif  Embrace the learning that is happening within the things that are actually happening!    
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#6 of 11 Old 09-15-2004, 11:28 AM - Thread Starter
 
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TiredX2-Duh! Thanks for the heads up.

Back to reading.

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#7 of 11 Old 09-15-2004, 10:47 PM
 
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Have you tried to get the kids to work along side you on things like laundry? Since I've started involving my 3 year old as a helper, I feel like my household work goes so much more smoothly and leaves us more time for other things. She used to take the opportunity to get into all kinds of trouble when I was distracted with housework. I don't force her to help, I "invite" her. If she's having fun doing something else, fine, but usually she gets bored while I'm working on something and wants to join in.

Even your 2 year old might be able to help with simple things like wiping up spills on the floor or wiping the table after meals. Other things my daughter does: fold laundry (easy stuff like washclothes or even just matching up socks for me to fold) and put it away, "sweep" sections of the floor with her own little broom while I'm sweeping, sometimes putting her own dishes in the dishwasher, and helping add ingredients to whatever I'm cooking.

I know I have it easy with only one right now, but I hope the idea helps a little with your situation!
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#8 of 11 Old 09-16-2004, 11:23 PM
 
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I understand where you are. Well, I don't have twins and I think that would certainly be a challenge, but I think I understand. My kiddos are 8,6,3 and newborn. My 8 yr old can do most of her "school work" by herself, asking me when something doesn't make sense. She is doing third grade this year. My 6 year old is a very interesting litle critter, he hates "school" kinds of things, give him his toy cars and leave him to his work and he's happy. Unfortunately dad is starting to get very nervous that Jack doesn't know basic math/number stuff and only recognizes some of his abc's. Unschooling is where Jack's heart is, so I'm really trying to make that his reality while meeting my dh's need to see progress. Any one on one work with Jack is very time consuming and must be done with silence around us or he simply cannot concentrate. THen there's Molly, the 3 year old, just give her crayons and she's happy. I love seeing how much she's learning just listening in on the other two. The truth is I fit school stuff in whenever I can. If the kids are off playing happily I'm not going to disturb them to "teach" anything! I wait till they're bored, then, if the baby is in the right mood, we do some stuff together. It's such a balancing act. I wish you much luck figuring out your path, mine is constantly changing!
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#9 of 11 Old 09-17-2004, 04:05 AM
 
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"However, I am having a hard time finding the time to teach them anything at home."

why not give your family the next year off?? IME I would do that and instead of thinking about what the kids need to learn, focus on taking care of yourself & the baby. Wait till your twins are turning 7 and your toddler is a preschooler that can sit for longer periods of time to play. Grab one of the Moore's hs books to read more about the benefits of delaying academics.
Declutter as much as possible instead of collecting things for baby-
Simplify things as much as possible around the house and then let the kids play.
If you can find for the 5 yr olds for a class like dance, taekwon do, swimming team, drama club, art at park district to get a break for an hour here or there, sign them up. IMHO 5 yr olds are not a lot of help at real housework and you can organise things as much as possible and still be overwhelmed when you have a infant in the house. Try to put away a bit of money to get a cleaning lady coming in once a month to scrub out the bathrooms and kitchen for the 6 mths after baby arrives. (((hug)))

Maybe try to make life as simple as possible and get some emotional support from another hs mom that has older kids and has been through what you are living now. Do you have a so or dh to do the laundry?? Maybe it is time to sit down and talk about someone else stepping up to take over laundry patrol while your kids are young.
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#10 of 11 Old 09-17-2004, 10:12 AM
 
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Well,
Just let them follow your lead and be involved in the daily activities of life - keep lots of intersting educational/active/creative play things around the house for them to initiate activities. And of course lots of books and aloud reading.
I didn't worry too much about formal stuff until they are 8 - check out books by the Moores about this.
Warm wishes,
Tonya

Simple Living, Joyful Homemaking, Homeschooling Mom of 6
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#11 of 11 Old 09-17-2004, 03:48 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Mama's
I just want to say how much I appreciate all of your responses! So much good advice.

The day after I posted this a friend of mine called and said that a charter school that I was interested in (but it was too late to enroll in) had some openings left. I went and toured the school and talked to the principal yesterday. It's very small with small classes and the Kindergarten looked like fun, not structured. I enrolled the girls.

I am really struggling with this, because it is something I never thought I would do. I really believe in unschooling/ homeschooling and I feel like a failure. If I think about it too much the guilt is overwhelming. I felt like whatever was holding me back from getting things together around here was negatively affecting the girls. I don't know if it's the pregnancy or my toddler or what, but I just couldn't seem to catch up. Plus, the girls were begging to go to school everyday. Also, I didn't feel pressured to teach them "academics" but they were getting interested in reading and writing and asking how to write this and what does this say kind of stuff. I hadn't expected them to show an interest until much later, but felt like I should meet their needs if they wanted to know.

So we are going to try the school for a week and see how it goes. If the girls are not ready then I will just have to pull myself up by the bootstraps a little earlier. I did not like the 1st grade at the school (too much structure) so my plan is to have things caught up by next school year, and be ready to homeschool.

I hope that noone thinks that their advice wasn't appreciated, because it really is, and I'm going to need it for next year or if the girls find that they don't like school.

In admiration,
Heather

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