How to homeschool 2 kids with younger siblings - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 5 Old 08-28-2010, 12:20 PM - Thread Starter
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I'm a homeschooling newbie (and this is my first post on Mothering!)... I did K with my DS year old last year while DD1 attended a pre-k and DD2 napped. It worked perfectly for us! DS and I got the one-on-one time we needed with no distractions.

This year is different... I'm doing 1st grade curriculum with my DS and DD (6 & 5) and DD2 is 2.5 and not napping much. I'm also due to have a baby any day now!

We've done three days of school so far (planned on starting earlier this summer but stuff kept coming up) and they've been a struggle. I know its going to take time to get into a groove. I've tried distracting DD2 with TV or toys or play-dough, but she wants to be right on the table with the other kids. Which doesn't sound so bad in theory, but its super distracting to the older kids and annoying So then I tried working with each older kid individually and having the other one distract DD2. That worked ok, but the kid who was being schooled was easily distracted by what the other two were doing. We don't have a spot to school other than our kitchen table which is open to the whole house so its not easy to minimize distractions.

The best option I can think of is to wait until DD2 takes her afternoon nap and school then. Thing is, I generally use that time as pick-up the house/down time for me and that time is really important to my mental well-being. The older two usually hang in their rooms for an hour or two and everyone gets some chill out time. I think this will be even more important for me after the new baby arrives. But I really can't think of a better way to manage the hours and kids

Any suggestions?
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#2 of 5 Old 08-28-2010, 12:41 PM
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Having a 2.5 year-old in the house is tough!
My older kids are 9 & 7, the younger ones are 2.5 and 8 months.

I have a large rubbermaid bin where I put toys in that she hasn't seen in a while or are new to her. I try to rotate weekly. This buys some time. I also went to the dollar store and Michaels to collect $1 items. I bought a box of gallon sized Ziploc storage bags and put together about 20 craft/coloring/glue activities that she can work on at the table with us. Using one or two of these each day if needed. Each activity is in a seperate bag so it's easy to grab and can be reused later.

We rarely work at the table. We have an open layout too and there is little room to not be distracted by each other I let the older ones spread out where they can which seems to help a little bit.

Mostly you just need to do what you can and give yourself a break this year. Go easy on yourself! I agree that the afternoon downtime is a must. At ages 6 & 5 we spent a lot of time just snuggled up reading and not a lot of sit-around-the-table-book work. I figure they have plenty of time for that

Good Luck to you!!

Homeschooling mama of four fantastic kids and wife to one great guy.
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#3 of 5 Old 08-29-2010, 04:42 PM
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I wish I had some great suggestions but I'm actually wondering the same thing.
This will be our first year homeschooling as well. I have an 11 year old, 9 year old, 3 year old and 2.5.
Luckily the little ones still nap so I'm hoping that will be a good time to either work on some of the tougher subjects or we all have a little down time and that will be great independant reading time.
I like the suggestion of quick crafts and things for the little ones to do while helping the older children with school work.
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#4 of 5 Old 08-31-2010, 08:39 PM
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I'm there with you as well. Mine are 6.5, almost 4, and 3.5 mos. The littlest doesn't nap really (except on me) and the few times that I do have without holding a baby, I spend cleaning (essential-type cleaning), showering, etc. My down time is late at night after the kids are all in bed (usually the littlest stays asleep well at night for an hour or so). It doesn't bother me so much that my 4 yo isn't being "schooled", but my 6.5 yo's peers are entering 1st, and he's "behind" his friends. I don't want him to start to define his academic potential based on his lack of "accomplishments" (some people close to him already have ).
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#5 of 5 Old 08-31-2010, 09:45 PM
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I've been homeschooling for five years now. My kids are 10, 8, and 2.5. When my youngest was a baby I wore her, held her, and breastfed her alot during school. Now that she's 2.5 it is a little trickier, though doable. She wants to be doing what we're doing a good part of the time, though usually her attention span for what we are doing is shorter. She has her own whiteboard, three ring binder, and backpack.

The three ring binder has a couple of folders with letter printouts and such for her to color and mark on, and lots of pages inside of page protectors that can be written on with dry erase markers and wiped off. The pages are simple mazes, letters to copy, etc. Then I also used file folder type games, only I printed them on cardstock and placed them inside the page protectors. I don't have a laminator, but this works well. Each page protector holds two games, one on each side and the pieces for each are tucked inside the correct side for that game. These are mostly printed out from the preschool section of I also have the pdf files for a letter of a week curriculum I won from this homeschool blogger during a giveaway. I've printed out some of this for her as well.

The backpack has a bunch of simple activities inside of plastic zipper bags. Activities include colorful construction paper I cut in half and folded along with safety scissors, lacing beads, black paper I cut in half and folded along with white chalk, a button collection to admire, ripped pieces of tissue paper and glue stick, colorful paper cut into shapes and glue stick, pom poms to sort, etc, etc! She can pick one activity at a time, the last activity is tidied up before she picks another. Some two year olds would NOT be ready for these activities, even with supervision, but you could fill a bag or box with activities that ARE suitable for your child.

Aside from that she has access to playdough and paint pretty much whenever she wants, crayons, paper, coloring books, colored pencils, markers, oil pastels, paint by water books, etc.

When we are doing Math I always have manipulatives (c-rods, connecting counters, etc) down she can play with, these do however usually end up being tossed when she's bored of them. She has her own chalkboard and felt board (both cheaply homemade). She also has tons of books and toys, blocks, babies, etc, things she will play with on her own for short whiles. I'm not against her playing on sometimes or watching an episode of Blue's Clues or listening to a cd. She really mostly hangs with us though. She is pretty good at listening while I read because she loves to be read to anyway. Sometimes she will be a bit distracting though. We do games for phys ed like freeze dance or Simon Says, so she can be part of them. She also likes Songschool Latin, lol.

When we are done with school I try to give her some one on one time with me. Playing, reading, cudling, whatever she wants to do. She also still nurses, so I do nurse her pretty much whenever she wants throughout school. Oh and she hardly ever naps! I have to wear her out REALLY good for that, lol.


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