1-year-olds alongside ages 4-7

Using MFW Preschool & Pre-K Packages, as well as occupying babies and toddlers while teaching
Post Reply
Posts: 25
Joined: Wed Apr 26, 2006 10:03 am

1-year-olds alongside ages 4-7

Unread post by Joy1139 »

Laura M wrote: Wed Oct 04, 2006 3:21 pm Ok...I'm in desperate need of some encouragement and/or advice! I will start with a typical day:

I get my 12 month old settled with some toys and call my other 3 children to the table with high hopes and feeling very excited at what they will learn today. Reluctantly they sit at the table.

I start with prayer and desperately ask God to help them have good attitudes. By now the baby has begun crying at my chair. I try to ignore him and begin getting each child started with their work. My oldest says he can't concentrate with the baby crying. I go get the baby settled in the playpen. The kids have all scattered back to the playroom and I have to call them up and begin again.

OK...they are all at the table and I begin the phonics lesson with my 6 year old who just doesn't seem to get his vowels down. My 7 year old interrupts because he needs help...I lose my 6 year old from the table. The baby starts crying again.

I think you get the idea. The only one eager to learn is my 4 year old daughter. I keep reading all these awesome posts about early readers and kids who love school and love to read and I feel so discouraged.
Hi, Laura. You certainly have your hands full with four little ones. What a blessing though! I only have two little guys and have prayed millions of prayers for more but then I wonder what I'd do with them if I had them! Just my two wear me out some days.

You are certainly starting out right by praying and seeking the Lord as you start each day. I do that too, more for myself than for them!

Do you feel you must work with your 6 and 7 year olds at the same time? I would probably try to work with them individually at different times if at all possible. You could just read to them while they play in the playroom. I know... that's no real solution when you have things you want to get done. I do try to limit table time as much as possible. Maybe your 7 year old could use some educational toys and games with your 4 year old while you do the phonics lessons with your 6 year old? Then, work with the 7 year old while the little baby naps.

I have found I have to get very creative at times. My boys do like school but they distract each other and meddle with each other too much.

Hang in there! It gets so much easier as they get older. On a really difficult day, just read to them and don't let fear grip your heart. The Lord knew exactly what children He was giving you. He must have thought you could handle it! Have you read the list of 10 things to do with a child before the age of 10 by the Bluedorns. You can find it at their Trivium Pursuit web site. It has really helped me to relax and breath and not feel rushed.
Posts: 79
Joined: Tue Jan 03, 2006 7:36 pm

Unread post by Fly2Peace »

Deep breath...
Wow! You have been blessed! What a fun bunch of energy...
Now, how to direct the energy in a positive way. First, make sure you make use of the "team" you have. So, you spend 15 minutes with the baby. Then, for the next 30 minutes you work with oldest one on one, while 2nd entertains the baby, and toddler. Have activities that the child can do with the littler's like a simple book to read, or blocks to build with, or such. Make sure you leave oldest with an independent assignment or two. Then, the oldest get a break from school to have time with the littles, while you go one on one with the 2nd for 45 minutes.

Make sure nap and quiet times are productive. Those are valuable moments to really get things done. When the oldest has alone time, make sure they know to do the independent tasks. Also, have the oldest "teach" the youngers, all the way down the line. Oldest can "do" science while youngers help and learn.

Again, I know I have said it before, but make sure you have special activities, or workbooks and things for the little ones to do during school time only. That makes it special for them. Something to look forward to.

If they aren't enjoying it, think about why... are you rushed, stressed and pressured? I have days like that. It shows in my patience, and my children's responses.

What is the vision of your school? Why are you doing it? Do you have a mission statement? It can be helpful on those yellow bus days.

Do you have a grandparent nearby that could come and entertain the youngest two a few times a week, or take them to a park? If not, how about a homeschooled high schooler? Or someone in the youth group at your church? Maybe that means after public school, so then they take the youngest two to the park, and you have some of your school day from 4-5.

Is there some of the load that Daddy can help with? Maybe read alouds at bedtime?

You may have tried some or all of these, but just know, you aren't alone, and God won't give us more than we can handle (with Him!).

Matthew 11:28

(By the way, after submitting and re-reading this, I thought this might not have come across the way I intended. Some of these are ideas I have used, some are things I NEED to try. Anyway, I don't have it all figured out, and am learning each day right along with my children. HUGS to you!)
Last edited by Fly2Peace on Wed Oct 04, 2006 4:32 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Fly2Peace (versus flying to pieces)
Posts: 440
Joined: Mon Nov 08, 2004 9:37 am

Unread post by Lucy »

(When I started my post there were no post yet so just to let you know there may be some repeat--we really do care!!)

I am so sorry that you are having such a hard time. I wish I could come over and have tea and chocolate together and just pray and cry a bit. Here's a hug for you.

I think others who are in your same situtation will chime in but here are a few thoughts that I have.

I think it may be a good idea to not try and start them all together at least not on the same subject. Look at the things that can be done independently at this stage(which I realize is not much) such as handwriting, book basket, Spanish(if you are using this) and although she does not like it reading time for your oldest.

So you may want to do the phonics with your oldest first and have your oldest do book basket or reading time. When she is finished have her play with the baby for 15 or 20 minutes while you finish phonics with the first grader. Hopefully the baby will be happy for 15 or 20 minutes while your oldest reads. I also find that it is best if we are not all in the same room sometimes. So maybe your oldest can do this first activity say in the den while you are at the table with the first grader. Then you could switch and do the language arts activity with your 7 years old and have the first grader do book basket( I do not know what year you are doing but if only MFW1 then use the science and math books as free look at/reading books). Also have the 6 year old help to entertain the baby. I do not know how well your kids work with the baby so these ideas may not work. Your 4 year old sounds like she is happy to just do whatever everyone else is doing so let her join in or color and just play with toys or maybe start the day by reading her a story so she feels she has had some mommy time before you get started. Everyone wants a little bit of you and it is so hard to balance it all out I am sure.

Then take a break tend to the baby get snacks and start any together work you have to do.

During baby's nap time take advantage to get math done with each child. I know, when do you rest?!

Also I hardily agree with the post above about taking a break on some days and not letting fear grip your heart. This too shall pass. I remember taking lots of field trips or just trips to the park when we first started out.

Praying for peace and sanity,
Last edited by Lucy on Wed Oct 04, 2006 4:23 pm, edited 1 time in total.
wife to Lee and mom to Twila 18 (girl) and Noel 16(boy). Happy MFW user since 2002.
Posts: 472
Joined: Mon Jun 28, 2004 2:40 pm

Unread post by kellybell »


First off, you've got a bunch of little ones and interruptions are the rule and not the exception!

We all hear about these families that have quiet children, no interruptions, etc. I think there are about seven of them that homeschool.

Anyway, my family looks more like yours. It's just stuff I don't often cheerfully admit on this board. Our days start with great intentions and sometimes we come close, but often, things get interrupted. Kids get sick, kids need discipline, books get lost, tears flow over tough lessons, kids fight, the toilet overflows (oh, how I miss the 7-gallon toilet tanks I grew up with), the toast burns, and if we had a cat (and we don't) he'd have a hairball on the good carpet right in the middle of "school."

My kids simply like to read (not "love") and they don't love school (they like certain things but wish other subjects would go away). But, while they may not be MY ideal homeschool students, they are "good kids" with their own quirks and interests. They might bicker, but they also are helpful to each other, they like to be with each other, and they ARE learning.

You are doing the right thing praying for the school day. Have the kids pray for the school day too! Don't just do it alone.

Here is a list of things that might help:

1. Plan really easy meals. It's okay to have cold cut sandwiches for dinner (or pancakes, or Hamburger Helper, or Ragu).
2. Let the house go a little (not enough to make you sad though). If the house is driving you nuts.
3. Videos are not evil. Look for Bible memory ones by Steve Green. Your baby is a little young but very soon, you can use videos as a tool. Not everyone agrees with me, but there were times videos were a lifesaver for my kiddos.
4. Toddlers like having a box of "school" things like crayons and play-doh and kid-k'nex to fiddle with. Your baby is too young but soon, that would work. Get the box out only during school.
5. As for your oldest (yes, I saw the other post), I would just back off for right now. Pray with him about his attitude about school. I agree that a phone call to MFW would help. Then, maybe back off on work that is frustrating him, putting it away for a few months. It's not about keeping up with the public schoolers.
6. A zoo (or park) trip works wonders.
7. Try to schedule the hardest stuff for the time you expect the least interruptions from your baby.
8. Give the baby the first part of the day. Love on him and "fill him up" with hugs and kisses.
9. Take lots of breaks.
10. It's okay to talk to your 7 yo and ask what he likes and doesn't like and take that into consideration in planning. He's old enough to understand that somethings you simply MUST do. He'll respect and honor you much more if he sees you trying to honor his likes and dislikes and sees you praying for him to manage the frustrations. There have been times that I've worked with my child to make school more tolerable (ie. having a "kid of the day" to be my special helper that day, limiting how many missed spelling words in a day before we stop spelling, making agreements with them, trying new schedules with him).
11. Bribes are okay too. It's okay to have sticker charts, etc. to motivate the kids to be good. A week of smily faces and we all go to ice cream.
12. Also, it's okay make up games. Perhaps when baby cries and you must walk out of the room tell the kids "FREEZE" and see if they can stay in a wacky position until you come back. Or tell them to play Simon Says (staying in the kitchen, or wherever you want them) until you come back. When you come back, you are Simon for a round or two. Or, have something sitting on the kitchen table for such emergencies (ie. "Okay, baby is crying, I want you to sort these Froot Loops by color." Have the Froot Loops in a zippy bag and some paper labeled with the colors of the Froot Loops).
13. And, don't forget to play games with the kids during the day. A five-minute game will cheer all of you up.

Well, while I was typing this, we've sort of fallen apart. I guess I better sign off and practice what I preach!!!

HTH (you are not alone)
Kelly, wife to Jim since 1988, mom to Jamie (a girl, 1994), Mary (1996), Brian (1998) and Stephanie (2001).

Unread post by cbollin »

I've been so discouraged these past 2 days, I've found it hard to type or respond. But, how nice to read that I'm not the only stressed person this week. It inspired me to get silly. (I agree with everything they all said.)

I've mentioned Todd Wilson before. He has these homeschool cartoon books that are just made for times like this. I know I can't link to his site..... familymanweb dot com.

for our "virtual message board party"...
Laura {hug} and a dozen tissue boxes. We have to share them.
Kelly - you can have my cat!
Lucy -- Kelly is bringing the cheesecake, I'll bring the Tim Tams and chocolate velvet coffee. We'll all pretend we're Australian. And sit around reading Alexander and the Terrible Horrible Really No Good Very Bad Day.
Fly2Peace -- bring something salty, and Pepsi.

Ok -- my days are crazy. I've got a child that I send to developmental preschools and then we try to school in between that. aaarrrrggghhhhh. Then we can't get started as soon as we get home. and then and then.

I'm right there with you, Laura. Try putting the older kids in the playpen.
I'm serious on that. oh yes I am!

Get a sling or some kind of baby carrier for that youngest one and carry him around during some lesson time. Besides, they get big so fast, you want to snuggle too. Bring the rocking chair into the school room. Sure it doesn't "look good", but it is helpful.

Have you heard David Hazell's workshop Occupying Toddlers while teaching older ones? There are lots of good ideas in there. I'm convinced that my last week he had a web cam in my house to get ideas of just how bad it can get. (My youngest in the sink, or on the top of the fridge.....)

{hug} and hang in there.

Last edited by cbollin on Wed Oct 04, 2006 5:23 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Posts: 206
Joined: Sat Feb 19, 2005 9:26 am

Unread post by LSH in MS »

I just wanted you to know that you are not alone! We just moved and didn't get started with school until the last week in Sept.

I am still trying to figure out what to do but maybe my ideas will help you.

I need to work with my 7 year old first on phonics when he is most rested.
I will have older 2 do independant work. 5 year old plays.

If they finish that they do book basket and independant reading while I finish with 7 year old and teach 5 year old. (Sometimes they read a long time!)

I try to get youngest 2 done first so they can look at books or play while I work with older 2 on Math and English.

Our goal is to get basic skills for everyone done before lunch. After lunch we do history and science. We do music in the car and probably will not do art this year.

I also have a 5 month old who needs to nurse and fusses during all this but at least he stays in one place at this point.

It is crazy !!!! I am exhausted by 2:00. I know how you feel. Many times I take Elisabeth Elloitt's advice, " Just do the next thing". Don't think about the whole day or what you didn't get done.

I am hoping in the next few weeks that it will get better. It sure is hard trying to figure out what will work best.

wife to Clifford, mother to ds (17), ds (16), ds (15, ds (13), ds (8), and ds (3)
MFW user for 10 years
Posts: 46
Joined: Sat Jan 08, 2005 7:57 pm

Unread post by mom2boys »

Hi Laura,

Hugs and prayers! I can relate - I have a 10.5 mo old, a 7yo and 10yo. You have received a lot of good ideas so I don't want to repeat (but I did glean a little too). One idea that I don't think was mentioned was the playpen thing. My baby does not like the playpen, but I can put the baby gate across his bedroom door and he will play in there by himself for 15-20 minutes. His room is completely baby proofed with only his toys allowed so I feel comfortable with this because we can hear him if he cries. Another trick that we discovered is that if we take the tray off the highchair it will scoot up to our kitchen table - cheerios, 10 little lady bugs board book (this fascinates him - he tries to pick the raised bugs off!), or just crumbling a piece of paper will keep him satisfied for another 10 - 15 minutes and he smiles so big thinking he is part of the action. The one thing I will repeat is have the olders take turns playing with the younger - I know mine are older than yours - but they really like their time with the baby!

Blessings to you as you try to find a groove that works.

Also to Kelly - I just love what you said here. It really struck a chord with me to be content!
My kids simply like to read (not "love") and they don't love school (they like certain things but wish other subjects would go away). But, while they may not be MY ideal homeschool students, they are "good kids" with their own quirks and interests. They might bicker, but they also are helpful to each other, they like to be with each other, and they ARE learning.

Unread post by cbollin »

Or sometimes an ice cube on the high chair tray keeps them entertained too for a few minutes.

Posts: 37
Joined: Wed Apr 05, 2006 4:50 pm

Unread post by rachel »

Hi- I am in a situation similar to yours and I am teary as I write this because I get tired too. I have found that having a basic routine that moves the kids around and doesn't have them doing one thing too long and keeps things fun (for me too) and that gives them some ownership is what works best for us. I thought and prayed long and hard about this year- as I am sure you have too.

I have a 6 year old, 4 year old and 3 year old twins. Here is what I have found to work best for us (although somedays we just do what works). If you want me to email you a simplified version of my routine, just email me. It has really helped me.

MORNING- breakfast(I give them a piece of cheese and juice while they watch a video/play and I wake up with a cup of coffee and start housework.... then I give them more and more snacky kind of breakfast food or sometimes COOK something for breakfast).

NEXT- they go to ROOM TIME- Yipee! I finished getting dressed/shower/quiet time- the youngest 2(my 3 year old twins) play with something that I pick from their closet in their room. The older two- 4 and 6 years old- know that after they get dressed and pick up their rooms, they can come out. Then, they take turns with an educational computer game while I finish up housework.

When I feel like my house in order enough for me to think (laundry going, dishes in washer, etc.)- each child has their day(we do school mon- th and I have 4 kids so that works well) to beat a drum until we all gather in the living room- start with a prayer, play/sing some praise music and dance around, say the pledge, do bible(I am doing MFW1 this year and adding a letter of the week that I make out of poster board to introduce the alphabet to the younger ones. They all love this part. The oldest- 6- tells me words that begin with that letter. The 4 year old tries to sound out and write that letter in the air- then they "act out" some of the words they come up with..... We have reading time for the subject that I picked to go with the "letter of the week.

Next- TABLE TIME- we all move to the dining room and I have a folder and box for each of them(that I prepare the previous day of "school" while they are playing with table toys) with their school (Even for the 3 year olds). The younger ones color, cut(yes, I'm a risk taker), glue- while I work with the first grader on the one on one stuff. The younger ones know that when they finish and put their things up, they get "TABLE TOYS"- (MFW preK stuff mostly). I use that for math activities for the first grader too.

Somewhere during table time, we do CHORE CHART we go through each child and what they have done(YEAH SO AND SO!! or "don't forget to get this done so you can get your "mommy dollar today").

Then it is break for SNACK and a different activity for each day (Monday- art; Tuesday- Nature walk; Wednesday- class we drive to/friends we play with; Thursday-music). Sometimes I save the art lessons for the 3 year olds' naps.

After that, I usually have to get out of the house(if it is not our "class day" )- drive through dry cleaning, drop off library books, post office- whatever errands that do not require that we get out of the car!

Then it is lunch and NAP TIME (The first grader reads during "NAP TIME" - and I definitely get a break too- then try to spend at least a little one on one time with her- that's her major love language).

After Naps- I try to keep things low key so that I have energy for the hubby/evening. Try to get the kids in the backyard around 4:30 when I am starting dinner and it isn't too hot for them(we are in TEXAS)-

HAving a consistent 8pm bed time helps too(especially if they stay in their beds!)- That can be some good alone/or meet someone for coffee time/ or homemade "date-night"....

I know this is long- but I know that I have been encouraged to learn bits and pieces from others that helps to make things work.

Oh, also, on Friday, because my husband is a pastor, he has that day off(instead of Saturday)- he lets me sleep in and cooks the crew breakfast and then takes them to the gym with him while I get some down time. We try to have a family activity that day that correlates with our letter of the week subject- and he is part of giving "character awards"; listening to the memory verse- and listening to the kids puppet show of whatever bible lesson we learned that week(and the very popular CHORE STORE). It really brings us together in the homeschooling thing- we try to do some age appropriate ministry as a family sometimes, too (for "B"- we had over a woman with cancer and prayed for her "body"- although- as you know- having people over with young children is not easy so we don't do a lot of that!)- I'm making notebooks of all of this because my kids at this age love to look over things they have done!

Does that give you any kind of encouragement?

Written out on my daily routine it looks much easier. I will pray that you will be strengthened in the Lord as you continue to seek to serve your family in this awesome but ever-challenging way!!

Blessings, Rachel

(daughter- 6; son- 4; twin boys- 3- WHEW!!)
Posts: 37
Joined: Wed Apr 05, 2006 4:50 pm

Unread post by rachel »

I was thinking some more- and I know that you are doing different programs than me and you have a baby to add to the mix. Basically, if you like the sound of my routine, the jist of it is that we meet in the living room first for Bible/any activity part and then go to the table for the more academic/one on one parts.

I think you could use the same idea with a different program. And, since there is more work with the older ones, you could begin table work- and when everyone gets restless, have them finish during nap/rest time(that way you are getting them started at "table time" and you are still getting a break during nap/rest time while still being available if you were needed...)

I do think that the baby also would benefit from the "moving around the house" concept.

And, did I mention, that I do reading aloud to them at nap/bed time? I try to read any novels at night and short stories before naps.

Someone mentioned reading during bath time. Maybe your baby could be in the bathroom while you let the kids soak and got some time off your feet reading....

Just some ideas!

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


Unread post by Julie in MN »

I mostly just want to join Crystal's tea party & comfort you, & let you know you are not alone.

I especially would tell you that I didn't homeschool when I had little ones and I so admire ladies like yourself. I can't really even imagine how you do it. But I know your children will benefit from all you do.

Trying to think of something that would be more helpful, I agree with Lori that seeking the best times of the day is helpful. Young ones who are rested & full are so much more content.

And as for your oldest, I feel that children who have many interests and activities will of course not look forward to school taking them away from these things. The only way around it for me is to set specific "school hours," when only learning activities may be chosen. That way, whatever the child chooses, at least it's something I deem *educational." And the best part is that the child may get to the point where school activities with mommy are better than being bored -- which is why some of *us* liked school as children :o)

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
Sue in MN

Unread post by Sue in MN »

I haven't read the other replies so forgive me if this is a repeat. I would let the older two sleep in and wake the younger two early. Let the older two play in the morning and spend time with the younger two. Then put the younger ones for a nap in the afternoon and school the older two during naptime. That is what I did and it worked for us.
Posts: 40
Joined: Tue Oct 03, 2006 1:00 am

Unread post by GoodCat »

Hi Laura,

I've read everyones replies and agree. I too send a hug to you. I have 6 young children and have been homeschooling from the beginning (about 6 years). Since the beginning I have either been pregnant or having a baby or toddler around. And your right, it's not easy at all. And some days, weeks, and even months seem impossible. So, I encourage you to take each day as it comes and just do the best you can. The babies grow up and children change (their likes and dislikes). Mine still complain once in a while about having to do school. It's the folly bound up in our children. One thing I do with my 6 month old, is mostly just hold her while I teach. Then if I have to write or something, I put her down for a few minutes. But like others have said, try to keep the subjects short. That way things are always moving. The baby won't get so bored in one place.
Anyway, hang in there. And God Bless.

Posts: 36
Joined: Tue Feb 08, 2005 1:03 pm

Unread post by kfrench »

Just want you to know that your house sounds like my house. I ended up picking the thing that the kids had the hardest time concentrating on and doing it during baby's nap time. Keep that morning nap time as long as possible. UGh you make me remember how hard it was a year ago and how hard it was to concentrate for the kids with the baby screaming and so hard when noone was reading yet and they all needed help with everything. I had the same thing last year 7,6, and 1. No 4 year old. I am trying to remember how I survived. I think I just didn't give up. SO I am still here. It has gotten different and a little less loud. Now I have a 2 year old in my lap trying to color on everything. I remember I would get on started on something they could do them selves like math or handwriting and I would work with the other girl. Then we would go back and forth. I would tell them to do everything they knew how to do and save anything they needed help with. And to do handwriting if they got done.
HMM When he was a baby it was easier to do school sitting on the couch and floor a putting baby in the middle so that he would get the attention he needed of course once he could crawl I bought a big gated yard thing and put it in the living room with toys he liked he loved the little piano and the music toys anything noise of course which sometimes drove us batty. We would really try to get school done when he took his nap.
IF nothing else baby will get older, kids will get more independant very slowly of course. Just don't give up. Just do what you can and lower expectations.
DEP from MO
Posts: 4
Joined: Sat Jul 01, 2006 10:51 pm

Unread post by DEP from MO »

I too know how you feel! One of the things that helped me the most was an article titled The Baby IS The Lesson by Diane Hopkins. You can read it on Lovetolearn dot net.

I agree with others that trying to include your baby at the table might help. Mine never liked the playpen. Sometimes I put my 16 month old in her high chair and give her a muffin tin filled with different snacks like Cheerios, fruit puffs, bits of cheese, etc. She has fun moving them around and eating too :) This gives us a little time for a project. I would also definitely try to train an older to "read" to or play with the baby while you work with another. They could be in the same room and play quietly on the floor. Make this an important job for them.

We rarely have perfect days, but these are some ideas I have heard from the others here that I hadn't seen mentioned yet.

Hugs to you Crystal. Hope the rest of your week goes better.

ds 5.5, dd 3.5, dd 16 mos
Posts: 121
Joined: Wed Jul 06, 2005 4:28 pm

Unread post by Toni@homezcool4us »

This year I implemented a MOTH routine (Managers Of Their Homes) and it is working VERY well for us. I am schooling a 7yo with Adventures and several added extras, an almost 5yo with phonics, math, some FIAR and a preschool workbook, and 3.5 yo in lighter phonics and math, and FIAR.

Our school day goes from 9:30a-2:15pm, stopping for lunch, 30 minute computer games, and other short breaks. While it may seem long, I built in plenty of time for smooth transitions and extended lessons if needed. I am really pleased with MOTH as an organizational tool.
A proud adoptive mom of 4 children,
I invite you to join me THE WISE WOMAN BUILDS HER HOUSE
Posts: 9
Joined: Tue Aug 29, 2006 9:45 am

Unread post by hsmom2five »

Whew! I'm not the only one! You wonder sometimes, you know? I have 5 little ones of my own, and I keep my sister's 3 yr old every day while she goes to work, so we have those kinds of days often. I know how you feel, and even though I can't possibly understand everything you are going through, I can care! :) That is one thing I love about this forum....we can all at least IMAGINE what it is like for the others! Today at this house it was shredded cheese.... ALL OVER THE HOUSE....all through the hallway and I just realized when we got home tonight that it was all over the boys' bedroom floor. That would have been my 3 yr old and his 3 yr old cousin! We were vacuuming at 10:30 at night! For the third time today! All that just for cheese.

One thing that I have finally given up on is trying to do school in the mornings! As you can tell by the time, we are a night family. (And I can see that I am not the only one that enjoys the quiet of the night! I just saw the times on the last few posts! :)) We are out until 10:00pm 2-3 nights a week, so we are adjusted to a later schedule. School in the morning just does not happen at our house, and I have finally come to the conclusion that IT IS OK! I can do what "should" be "afternoon" chores, playtime, etc. in the morning, and start school at 12:30. It only takes us 2-3 hours to get all the school stuff done anyway...who cares what time of day we do it! There's no "Homeschool Police" checking to make sure we are all sitting at the dining room table at 8:00am sharp with pencils in hand. The children seem to do so much better at sitting and "doing school" when they have had a chance to play a bit and eat a good breakfast (usually more like BRUNCH...they love that word). And *I* do so much better at "doing school" when the house is straight! It drives me nuts to see the carpet needing a vacuum or the bedrooms a wreck....and I am supposed to sit here and READ BOOKS?!?!? AAAAAHHHHH!!! I just can't. And I am not a perfectionist at house keeping or anything (what would be the point with 2 three yr olds and a 15 month old running around?) but I have found that when the bedrooms are straight and the dining room table is clean and the carpet is at least able to be seen, then I can move on to school work in my mind and I am not constantly stressed about the mess.
(I sometimes wonder....are we the only household that creates this much TRASH? And does everyone else's children know where the trash cans are? Is it just mine that can't seem to find them?) Actually, it's really not that bad, because we really do clean it up every day, but it can SEEM that bad sometimes! Especially when there is shredded cheese everywhere!

I tell my children all the time that it is more important to learn how to clean up after themselves and develop their character and take care of their responsibilities than it is for them to learn almost anything else. I finally found a solution to getting them to care for their responsibilities in a timely manner. They have all morning to get them done, they each have a "Responsibility Chart" for stickers, and I give them a small allowance at the end of the week if they have done everything everyday. But if they are not done by 12:15, they still have to do the work, they just won't get paid for that day's work. And if they don't have it done by the time I check (after school time) at 4:00pm, well, guess what? The work did not go away, and there are always more jobs that can be added. We can clean all day, or we can work quickly in the morning and have a chance to play before school. Let's just say they prefer to be done working by 12:30pm rather than 12:30am!

I really am so sorry that you had a rough day, Laura....I know these kinds of days are the WORST! But it sure was nice to hear that, among all these amazing ladies here, even they have days like this. The topic sure brought on the encouragement! And so many good ideas and web sites to check out and try! Not to mention some much-needed comfort/sympathy for many of us! My quiet time of "day" always arrives eventually....11:30 at night....at least it is almost always quiet by then, and I get to come and visit all you ladies! Thanks, Crystal, for the virtual message board party....I brought my own Sprite. ;) Thanks to all for all the encouragement and for being such a wonderful, supportive group of ladies. Ya'll are the BEST!

Homeschool mom 2 five
Laura M
Posts: 11
Joined: Mon Jun 12, 2006 2:14 pm

Unread post by Laura M »

Wow....thanks everyone for all the encouragement and great advice! I feel so much better and feel rejuvenated again. I will definatley implement all the great suggestions from everyone and see if I can find a routine that works for us.

I am so grateful to have this message board...ah the benefits of living in the 21st century!

Married in 1998 to Nathan, the love of my life, and blessed with 4 great kids: Jonathan('99), Josiah ('00), Avalon ('02), and Elijah ('05).
Currently doing Exp - 1850
Posts: 6
Joined: Thu Apr 27, 2006 4:17 pm

Unread post by momspeapods »

There are days where I want to pull my hair out as well. Your are doing the best thing by starting your day with prayer, I do the same. The lord has blessed us with 3 little ones thus far and what I find works ( most of the time) is I always start by spending some one on one with my youngest while her brothers are doing their morning chores. We read, build with block, do a puzzle or anything she wants to do. This way she does not feel that she needs to compete for my attention while we are at the table.

Then I sit down with my 5 year old (mfwK) while my 8 year old will play in the next room with my 2 year old. I keep toys on a rotation so if she is feeling rather clingy this morning I take out something either new or that she has not seen in a while. When I finish with my 5 year old they switch.

It is now time for school with 8 year old (MFW1) and my 5 year old plays with his sister. This usually takes more time and my 5 year old loses interest in playing with his sister faster so she (2 year old) has a coloring book which is her school book and her own pencil box with her crayons.

Don't worry about your 6 year old not reading yet. My 8 year old is just now starting to take off. Not all kids read early. Hang in there! The great thing about Homeschooling is that we are not on a schedule. Work around what is best for your family.

mom of 3 (MFWK and MFW1 & 1 in tow)
Posts: 472
Joined: Mon Jun 28, 2004 2:40 pm

Unread post by kellybell »

Wow, what good ideas. Also remember that in PS, there are days (weeks, months) that not much learning goes on. Sometimes due to an all-school assembly (got to pump up those kids to go out and sell magazines -- PTA really needs the $$ you know) sometimes due to unruly kids that can dismantle a classroom blindfolded. Oh well.

Crystal, thanks for the ... AAAAAHHH CHOOOO ... cat. I'm sure that the three ... AAAAH CCHHHHOOOO ... of us with cat allergies (dh, the dd who most loves cats, and myself) will .... AAAAAHH CHHOOOO ... enjoy him.

I don't think I have any additional words of wisdom, just thanks FOR wisdom. I am amazed at the level of dedication that I see here on this board. It's HARD to be a mommy, a wife, and a homeschool teacher. What I see are a lot of dedicated moms facing some challenges. We'll get through this stage just fine (and sooner than you think) and we'll get through the teen years too, if they present with such challenges.

This AM I'm praying for the MFW families that are on this thread. For peace, for accomplishing something meaningful, and for us to recognize what was truly meaningful and what wasn't. For health and obedience.
Kelly, wife to Jim since 1988, mom to Jamie (a girl, 1994), Mary (1996), Brian (1998) and Stephanie (2001).

Unread post by cbollin »

kellybell wrote: This AM I'm praying for the MFW families that are on this thread. For peace, for accomplishing something meaningful, and for us to recognize what was truly meaningful and what wasn't. For health and obedience.
Post Reply