28 April 2008

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:

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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!
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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."
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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.
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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.
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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.
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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...
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Eventually it all *does* get done.









10 comments:

  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

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  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 (www.adventuresinautism.blogspot.com) and Age of Autism (www.ageofautism.com). Either one might be of interest to you.

    Terri Lewis

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  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!

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  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!

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  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)

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

    Sherry

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  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.

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  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.

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  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!

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  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.

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Non-troll comments always welcome! :)