Wednesday, September 03, 2008

WFMW: Homeschool help!

So as my previous post explained, we just started back to school this week.  I have four children, ages 7 (2nd grade), 5 (K), 3, (pre-K), and 1.  

I know homeschooling moms are supposed to have it all together- breastfeeding babies while simultaneously teaching trig to high schoolers, growing a garden and canning the surplus produce for the days ahead, keeping tidy houses with cheerful front porches complete with clean white rocking chairs and freshly planted seasonal flowers, baking fresh bread, drilling spelling bee champs and math wizards all the while sewing pretty dresses with matching hair ribbons for the daughters they are training to one day do all this themselves in their own homes.  But not this momma.

Here's my dilemma:  How do I manage homeschooling two children, doing preschool with one more and occupying an almost toddler?  My school-age children still need me to do most of the instructing one-on-one.  (We haven't reached the, 'here's your grammar work book- go at it' stage.)  Today we got through math, and most of language arts before lunch.  My oldest still has some reading and writing to do this afternoon during quiet time.  

Sounds good, right?  But I didn't do any science, and can't even dream about how to fit in any preschool stuff for my three year old.  She sat at the table and colored for a few minutes and sorted counting pigs for fun, but no shapes, colors, letters, or instruction of that sort going on.

And then there's basic things like vacuuming the floors and keeping the bathrooms mold-free.  Our family understandably appreciates semi-clean toilets and sinks.   

I'm not overwhelmed- the  grace of God and constant cheering from my husband have sustained my joy and I'm so thankful for that!  I'm just wondering if there is some wise counsel from other moms who have been here or who are here.

So, please help!  In my previous post, I asked for other moms to share their schedules, and  I'll still do a separate post on that.  But for now, please, please, would you share any suggestions and practical advice on how to juggle all this and effectively teach my kids everything they need to know?  Thanks!


Rebecca McLain said...

To solve all your problems use public schools and daycare programs.....ha ha ha..Nah I am just kidding. I know if anybody can figure it out you can--Maybe (and this is just a suggestion) you could tweak your nap/quiet time a bit. Maybe if you nap Sophie and Caroline at the same time after lunch then you could have more one on one time with the boys. Then when the boys have nap time or quiet time you can work more with Sophie. Best of Luck--oh yeah and I love you too.

PinkDaisyGirl said...

Reminds me a little of when my oldest were in 1st grade and I had a four year old PK and not quite 1 year old. It's kind of a blur.

One place to check might be the website. Also, Tapestry of Grace has a group you can join for all year plans on Yahoo (not a specific year plan), and you don't have to be using their curriculum, and I think some of them have talked about that kind of thing.

Could your oldest help out some with the basic things (shapes, colors, etc.)? Maybe the coloring books you choose could have shapes. They make some good ones at the teacher stores. I wouldn't stress out about it too much. They'll pick it up along the way.

Candy said...

I taught preschool last year and honestly Tami we did one "structured" letter sheet that they colored and practiced the letter of the day and the rest of the day was music, group play, and other puzzles and games to get them to use there hands and learn how to manipulate them and so on. So as for your 3 year old pick a letter of the week and color pics starting with that letter cook supper with that letter do the same with colors and shapes. You can throw in a little music dance time and have a break for all be silly make it fun. why don't you do one subject a day or reading and math everyday taking turns with science, art and extras that is what they do in school anyway eat the Elephant little bites at a time.. lol. I admire you and think you teach your children more than you think in little ways everyday. take advantage of eye spy and abc's on the road have fun..

Candy said...

I want to laugh at my comment b/c I am more often your blog not at all what I just wrote maybe I need to listen to my own advise.

Hope@Pinkadoodledoo said...

I'm doing K with my 5yo, pre-K with my 4yo, and I have a pesky 2yo. Did I just call her pesky? Uh, I mean darling. :)

We're working out the kinks still, but it's getting better. Give it time and be consistent. The two year old has options of coloring, doing puzzles, watching a video, or playing. I can usually get her busy on something, but not always. We start @8:30 in the morning and are done by 11:30 or 12 including all subjects but science. I save science to do on the weekends with Daddy.

We are doing a specific curriculum and I am kind of staggering the girls. Get one going on something and then work with the other, etc. I'm surprised at what they can do without me.

Check out the following link and their letter-of-the-week curriculum (all free online info.) It just gives ideas on things to do for each letter of the week.

Keeping the preschooler busy should give you time to work with the older one. It's been working for us! Also, you mentioned schedule, I posted our schedule and the curriculum we are using on my blog last month. Check it out here if you are interested.

Renata said...

A very good friend of mine addressed her schedule here: It helped me sort some things out.

I still haven't figured it all out, so we are taking it slow for the first few weeks until I can get a hang of it. After all, I have 52 weeks to get 36 weeks done. J is in Kindergarten, A will be learning to read and write but will be in K next year, N is being potty trained.

I tried to officially do preschool with J, but I wasn't very consistent. I don't have a choice now, but he is also mature enough to handle the workload (otherwise he'd be bored out of his mind). There were a lot of places where I heard to let the child just be a kid those early years. So all I did with J before now was reading and handwriting on and off. Now, I do handwriting with both boys together (but I am much more relaxed with A) and I figured I'll start teaching A to read sometime after he turns 4 (later this month).

I also picked a lower core (history, geography and social studies P4/5 for the sonlighters out there) for J so that I can teach both boys together next year. Science, Language Arts, and Math are according to J's level.

So far, A has enjoyed tagging along. I let him watch and even participate if he wants. He is pretty good at playing on his own, so that works out well too. N has found the pleasure of using scissors (I bought the real child safe ones), so she stays out of the way for at least half the time. The rest is usually done while she is napping (after at least a 30 min quiet time).
I'm still feeling a little disoriented, but taking it easy the first few weeks has helped minimize the effect.

kafredrick said...

All I can say is you Go Girl!!!
You may have more gumption than I do. Trying to conquer living in a forgein country alone with a one year old HONESTLY sounds less scary then trying to teach 3 of my own children with a fourth needing me as well.
May the Lord bless you with His wisdom and efficiency
love you

Rebecca McLain said...

A better idea--I will come and teach Carter for you since I am a a second grade teacher --My fee is not much--just a place to sleep and food to eat---Now that is a great deal!

Tami@ourhouse said...

Thanks, everyone! This has been so helpful!

Rebecca- we have an extra bed, so come on over! (I guess PJ might miss you, though!)

Kimberly- isn't it great how God gives us grace for whatever He gives us? I join you in praying for wisdom and dependency on God's sufficiency.

Tiffanie said...

I'm "not that momma" either.

We utilize nap time as much as possible. And I've just trained the two year old to "entertain" himself for a bit too. All kids need independent creative play time, so I set him up with blocks and the train track in order to squeeze in more school time with the older ones.

While doing school work... the 1st grader and preschooler are on the same subject at the same time, but obviously not on the same work. I alternate explaining to one while the other is working independently and vise versa. There are times that one might be sitting with nothing to do, but they are pretty good about waiting patiently, or coloring or something. We kind of do unit studies to keep everyone on the same subjects as much as possible. And we save the 1st grade reading/writing till the end when my 4 year old is done and has gone off to play with the two year old. With the unit studies, we also do a lot of projects and hands on learning. While the younger ones might be coloring or mixing or looking for leaves or whatever... I can work more closely with my six year old on the math, science or history part that I'm incorporating. Basically, I creatively try to keep everyone occupied with something.

SonBeams is a great resource for preschool curriculum. I recently incorporated their curriculum and ABC Bible verses into our schooling, and it is good for older kids too. Older kids can work on memorization and in depth meaning of the verse while you work on the letter, color and number with the younger kids.

Good luck!

And thanks for stopping by my blog. No castor oil for me either!

Tiffanie said...

Oops... here is the SomBeams link.

The Rings said...

Call my mommy! :) She just graduated Paul after 18 years altogether of homeschooling...