Combining - Balancing the olders & the youngers

Using MFW Preschool & Pre-K Packages, as well as occupying babies and toddlers while teaching
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Jenn in NC
Posts: 143
Joined: Fri Jun 23, 2006 2:00 pm

Combining - Balancing the olders & the youngers

Unread post by Jenn in NC »

Several thoughts here, in no particular order... take what helps, throw out the rest! :)

Last year about this time I called the MFW office with the same question -- trying to do ECC with my two olders, MFWK with my 5yo, and a toddler and a 1yo in the mix. If you can find the time to give them a call and get their advice on your particular situation I really cannot recommend it highly enough. Talk to David if you can. Calling them made all the difference for me -- not just in terms of practical ideas of how to make it all work, but also in helping me to sort out my time priorities.

There is nothing wrong with the occasional workbook. Don't feel guilty if you have to use one here or there to buy yourself some time with one of your others. One of my kiddo's actually seems to really like them once in a while ;)

Along the same lines, is there any part of what you are currently doing with your oldest that you would feel comfortable delegating to him? For example, sometimes I have assigned a portion of the day's work to my older and then had a "meeting" with him later in the day to discuss it. Often for math and PLL/ILL I can get my olders started and then they can work independently for a while. We have a rule that if they get stuck they are to go on to something they can do, or pick up a book from the book basket, and wait till I am finished with whichever "little" I am with to ask their question. Sometimes the babies are fussy and this may mean that their question doesn't get covered until the afternoon. That's okay.

Can you use naptime as part of your school time? This is probably my biggest help.

Can you let the 8yo and the 5yo take (short) turns playing with the baby while you work with the one who is free?

Would the baby be willing to sit on your lap for 15 or 20 minutes playing quietly while you read to the others, or work through a math page or PLL or something? This takes some training for the baby usually -- but it is well worth it in the end when you have a baby who is content to sit on your lap or on a small blanket with some toys near you, so that his need to be close by you is met; but you are also available to your other children. I find this to be invaluable.

Also it may not be necessary for you to be doing everything from both programs... someone with more experience than I have can probably be a better help to you with the specifics of this idea though...

The ladies on this board are so friendly and helpful; I am sure you will get lots of good advice! I just wanted to tell you that I feel exactly that way so often -- pulled between wanting to give my olders the kind of education that I really believe is best for them, and being the kind of attentive mommy my littles need me to be.

I am sending up a heartfelt prayer for you and your precious children! So many time I pray last instead of first... but often I find that He has the one perfect answer.

mommy to four boys & two girls... and another boy on the way :)
completed K, 1st, ADV, ECC, CTG and RTR
2009--2010 Enjoying Exploration to 1850
Posts: 12
Joined: Tue Apr 17, 2007 8:02 pm
Location: SoCal

what we do

Unread post by Daisy »

My 5yo (kinder) is doing all the Adventures crafts and projects. You might just let your littles tag along with Adv. My 5yo can easily do the crafts. He even does the notebooking pages. He tells me what we read about and I type it up for him. He cuts out clipart and the typed narration and decorates a page with all of it. He has his own reading & math time.
Posts: 127
Joined: Thu Dec 21, 2006 10:00 am

Unread post by niki »

I have 2 dc doing ECC and my youngest in the MFWK.

We are all about ECC, my kids love it and my k'er will even jump in from time to time throughout the day. I do not MAKE her do any part of ECC, but sometimes she has to be doing "work" with us. I don't accomplish EVERYTHING in the MFWK, but we try to get it in as best as possible. I don't beat myself up, she's getting so much out of ECC without even trying!

The older two I try to coordinate their "reading time, math drill, rosetta stone and book basket" in as I work with my K'er or if they finish something before we're ready for our group work. My K'er does like to sit quietly and play by herself and I have to be careful not to take advantage of this.

We are mostly done by lunchtime - which is sometimes 12:30 or 1:00 then I can give her some more mommy time (but she'll usually be running off the the big bro and big sis). Yes, K takes very little time (compared to the time of ECC or a traditional school) but she's learning, loving learning and loves being part of our school day!

Just my 2 cents.

Strong Tower Academy
DD 6th DS 5th DD 3rd
Posts: 23
Joined: Tue Jul 18, 2006 6:40 pm

Unread post by StarrMama »

I think for us the BIGGEST help is doing Adventures (most of it) while my 1 year old is napping, which is after lunch. The other two are either with us in the basement or play in the back yard. I have a list of quiet toys/activities that they can play with while I work with my oldest. Some days go well, others are quite difficult.

I pray you find your balance and God gives you wisdom for what is best for your family! One day at a time right?!
Wife to Desi. Mama to Hope 8 (ECC), Owen 6(K), Emmaline 4 and Levi 2. Happily serving God in the inner-city of Denver,CO.
Julie L.
Posts: 20
Joined: Thu Apr 05, 2007 10:20 am

Unread post by Julie L. »

It is nice to hear others feel the same as I do. I know I am balancing the best way and using our time effectively. I do most one-on-one stuff when ds1 is napping and while I'm working with one dc I ussually have the other completing something else. I guess my biggest thing is I don't like feeling in a hurry all the time because I have to give directions or do a project and we have to get school done and I go from one thing and subject to another, because I have other things around the house that need to get done as well as ds1 who wants to get into EVERYTHING.:) and who doesn't like to nap much. So I'm just feeling a bit dizzy:) trying to get everything done with it all on my shoulders. I just wonder if I can keep this pace up with a program like MFW or maybe I need to use a more independent LA and Math for dc, BUT I know how good Singapore is for them, ughh this is really hard. I'll just have to see the way the rest of the year goes and also ds will be 2 next year, but who knows if that will be a good or bad thing.:) And maybe I just need to learn to calm down more and know everything will eventually get done. Or does anything ever completely get done?.:) Thanks for letting me share.

Julie L.

Unread post by cbollin »

It doesn’t always stay like this. When my oldest was 2nd grade, I had a preschooler who needed intense special needs therapies, and an extremely high needs infant/toddler. Lots of time was spent on the couch calling out directions for projects. And even times when my 2nd grader was doing her workbooks for language arts and math, she was on the couch with me snuggled up or following me around the house while I was dealing with the other kids.

Workbook didn’t necessarily mean independent learning at this age. We weren’t using MFW’s recommendation for language arts or math at the time, but using very workbook type stuff. So even then, we still had the juggling. We didn’t get everything done and it still turned out ok. In my house it also worked best to start with the middle child and “get done” with her school first.

Hang in there. Move the rocking chair to the kitchen or wherever you do the most school. Get an easy way to carry baby (sling, backpack, whatever). Some things can be at the kitchen table while baby has an ice cube on the high chair tray. Etc….

It’s not easy homeschooling in these years. But each year the kids get older and can do more and more by themselves. These days my oldest, now 6th grade, does a lot of the projects on her own and helps the 3rd grader with some of the things and also helps with the high needs (autism) 5 y.o. And nah.... it doesn't always get completely done. :)

Julie in MN
Posts: 2902
Joined: Mon Jun 28, 2004 3:44 pm
Location: Minnesota

Unread post by Julie in MN »

I agree with the others that this is a very difficult season you are in. From my perspective, it seems like it went by very fast! But I know that's not how it feels when you're in it...

I would encourage you to set aside a certain period of the day to teach the kids. The Hazell schedule was 8 to noon, but any period of 3 hours would work for Adventures. I wouldn't try to do housework or anything else to distract you during that time. You might even turn off the phone and the computer :o) If you think that you "only" have to train your littles (to sleep, play with siblings, sit on lap, or whatever you decide) for those 3 hours each day , maybe it won't seem so endless?!

I think eventually you will get into a rhythm, and you may not always need the entire 3 hours for teaching. The kids will pick up the pattern, & there may be several-week-spans where they are able to be independent quite a bit. Of course, when you hit a new math concept or a bout of stuffy noses, you may be needed more for a spell.

I am coming to homeschooling from the perspective of a former public school family, and I committed myself to set aside at least 4 hours a day just for school, because otherwise I felt I was pulling my kids home from having a teacher and classmates, just to put them in solitary confinement -- well, that's what it felt like after their previous school experiences :o) Just one point of view...

Oh, and there are tons of cool ideas in the Preschool/PreK Archive about keeping the littles busy:

Julie in MN - no more littles but still juggling (sick husband, baby grandson, 2 homeschoolers, part-time job, and a diabetic cat :o)
edited to add: having littles was still harder!
Last edited by Julie in MN on Fri Sep 28, 2007 8:54 am, edited 2 times in total.
Julie, married 29 yrs, finding our way without Shane
Reid (21) college student; used MFW 3rd-12th grades (2004-2014)
Alexandra (29) mother; hs from 10th grade (2002+)
Travis (32) engineer; never hs
Jenn in NC
Posts: 143
Joined: Fri Jun 23, 2006 2:00 pm

Unread post by Jenn in NC »

Julie in MN wrote:I would encourage you to set aside a certain period of the day to teach the kids.
Just agreeing very emphatically with Julie here!! I totally forgot about this aspect of scheduling the day when I wrote my earlier post, but I cannot tell you how much this has helped me.
mommy to four boys & two girls... and another boy on the way :)
completed K, 1st, ADV, ECC, CTG and RTR
2009--2010 Enjoying Exploration to 1850
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