Skip to main content

Homeschooling With Lotsa Kids

Sometimes, you wonder if it will all get done when you have smaller children. It will all get done. It just might take you a long, long time.

Now, I'm not going to lie to you. Sometimes it feels as though the little ones are out to sabotage your beautiful plans for a learning-filled homeschool day. It's almost as though the tiny children are colluding together and timing their poopie diapers for *just that moment* an older child is about to grasp a concept. Their screamy-grumpy times are also out-of-sync enough so that there is no way you can coordinate a quiet moment. These little kids are strategists, all right. Consider the evidence:

Exhibit A: The Woodjie Pumpkin. Sure, J looks awfully cute in the picture. Happy, even. That's because I've given in and given the child EVERYTHING he wanted. All the toys are strewn across the floor, snacks have been doled out and I've read him three books. Thanks, Mom.

One way our homeschool works is by appeasing the barbarians and giving them bribes to be quiet. The books. The snacks. I've even gone so far as to give crayons and paper. Yes, I have.

Exhibit B: The Girl. This one is more sinister in her approach. Bribes do not work on this one. She is more manipulative in her attack on homeschooling. Oh, she'll be so good-natured and quiet and sweet. Can she have a cuddle? Mmm.. A bottle? Mmm... Snuggle me one more minute. You don't *really* need to teach those multiplication tables today, do you? I'm only young for a little while, Mom!
Yes, it's true. Some days we will get quite a bit done and I'll be astounded at the quiet. Other days you might as well be happy with a half-hour here and there. Most of the time, however, I've employed a method that homeschool moms have used throughout the ages. It's called, "teach when everyone is calm."
It sounds simple, and it is if you don't let things like laundry and housework detour you. It involves training your homeschoolers to do worksheets and other problems while you are attending the smaller children. It also involves teaching your homeschoolers to drop everything and listen to you give instruction when you have a free moment. Your homeschoolers presumably will learn to switch gears more effectively as you employ this method in your school.
In public schools, switching from one activity to another like that is called "transition." It's actually a skill they teach their special-needs kids in the classroom. Lunch is over, and now it's time for math. Math is over, and now it's time for reading.
In our homeschool, it's a little more complicated than that. Math isn't over, but put down those worksheets a second while I teach you your Social Studies. When you get a chance, I want you to do pages 19 and 20 in your Social Studies book. But now that I have a free minute, let's talk about your mathematics. Ok, now it's time for you to finish your math and Social Studies while I attend your brother.
I'm back. It's English time! You can do that other stuff later. Whoops, I'm leaving halfway through the lesson for a sec, but go do your math and Social Studies while I get S a bottle...
Eventually it all *does* get done.


  1. I KNOW what you mean! I had my kids 5 within years! It is quite distracting at times. Man, oh, man. Today has not been a good day for me. I'm just so pooped out and did nothing. :P

  2. Hey, I just found your blog tonight!

    I've only got three kids, and I can't even imagine homeschooling them. But maybe, like so many things, it's different than what you imagine.

    My 7-year-old boy also had (has?)autism, except that it was a whole lot worse, and he's about 90% cured of it. Biomedical treatment (diet, etc.) plus other therapies. He still has hyperactivity and is emotionally less mature than his years, but smart and considers everyone his friend.

    I also have two girls, one older by 3 1/2 years, and then my younger daughter and son are twins.

    What I don't have is a blog, but I hang around some at Ginger's blog ( and Age of Autism ( Either one might be of interest to you.

    Terri Lewis

  3. I think homeschooling is such a fantastic idea.My kids need transition.I fear I would spoil and give into them if they didnt feel like doing math.Im a sucker for big brown eyes!

  4. I don't know how you do it and stay sane! I had my 6 kids in the space of 10 years and only managed to feed and clothe them, never mind school them too! After having that many kids our two 'bonus kids' HAVE to go to school, I am so over kids!

  5. boy don't i know what you mean. i have one right now trying to help m tyoe. csn you tell?
    anyway i tried everything too and just figured keep them happy while we are in school and then discipline later.:0)

  6. Been all over this one! Stop by and see that there is so much light at the end of this tunnel!


  7. I am proud of you for what you have accomplished with your family. I know just as well as any other home school mom that sometimes it just isn't easy. With that in mind, it is harder I know with two small ones. It is hard some days here with the three that I have. Talk soon,
    Aunt B.

  8. Read and enjoyed some of your posts- there are so many. Where exactly do you find the time?! I don't have any kids yet am always tired and looking at my watch.

  9. This is what I worry about as we hope that God blesses us with more children in the future. I know He won't give me anything I can't handle, but sometimes it's hard to trust in my ability to be a good homeschooling mom!

  10. Oh - I had to laugh while reading this post. I have 5 and I have to do some of those same things. Lately, I've been having the younger ones go to the older ones for help even more. Sometimes it seems so chaotic that I'll go upstairs with one of my daughters and work one-on-one on her bunk bed.


Post a Comment

Non-troll comments always welcome! :)

Popular posts from this blog

Reading Curriculum: ABeka Book and BJU Press

Did you know that in the state of Missouri, homeschoolers must teach reading as a separate subject?  I don't know how anyone could homeschool well without teaching their child to read... but OK. 

I got many of my ABeka books used and collected them over time.  I'm glad I came across these readers early in my homeschooling years.  It teaches children to read step-by-step.  I don't think I've seen a more effective reading program for the elementary years.  The children love the stories, and what I appreciate about them is that there is a rich and varied language even in simple-to-read books in this series. 

My set is pretty old, and some are even from the 1960's and no longer listed in the reading series.  I think if I had to do things over again somehow, I think I'd just spend on a curriculum set and be done with it.  That's the thing, though, with homeschooling.  By the time you figure out what the perfect curriculum is for you, your children have graduate…

Homeschooling is NOT So Hard.

I wish I'd have known this starting out. I wish I'd have known that it's actually LESS work to just homeschool your child, than to be an "involved parent" at school.

We've enjoyed elementary school with our older boys. *Most* of the teachers were actually pretty competent and caring (the others, I save for another blog post, another day...). We had the children involved in extra activities like the Spanish Club or Service Club, or choir, and they got a fair bit out of the experience.

But it's a LOT of work.

You get about a ton of worksheets that must be done by a certain time. Usually on a day when you're sick or have no time. You get the phone calls about this or that, and about a zillion sheets per day that sometimes contain important news, so you MUST go through them daily. The schools also *love* to throw in half days, teacher in-service days and early dismissals. Not so bad, unless you have children at more than one school and the schedu…

Holiday Gifts for the Homeschool Teacher!

Merrymaking hint:  leave this post up on your phone/ computer for your family to "accidentally" find!  Let the magic begin!

 All teachers love a little appreciation every now and then, including homeschoolers.   I don't know about you, though, but I don't want any apple crap.  So first rule:  no apple crap! 

Otherwise I'm pretty open.  I love getting gifts, even if it's just something small or simple.  One thing I love is when my children want to help out and make lunch or clean up or put their laundry away.  Or just behave themselves and get their math done.  This is a really big thing when you think about it.  

And from the adults in my life, the gift of coffee always shows love - or rather, someone not wanting an "I need coffee" emergency in the middle of winter after a big snowstorm.  Somehow, I always have a lot of coffee in my pantry during the winter months.  (Guess why.) Thanks, D! 

My gallery of homeschool appreciation pics: