Keep Calm and Homeschool On!

I receive LOTS of questions in regards to homeschooling. So in this blog I plan to answer one of my most asked questions:

“How do I get ANY school done with all my little ones?”

Don't forget that you are human. It's alright to get stressed out and have a melt down. Just don't stay down! Sometimes you gotta put on your big girl panties, grab another cup of coffee and refocus!

The best way to answer this question is to share what I have learned and what we implement in our homeschool.

1. Join children together for unit study learning.

This allows the little ones to join in on the learning and fun! Subjects that lend itself to family study are history and science. This year we used the God’s Design for Science for our three younger children.

Let me explain: Learning together will help keep your little ones occupied. We grab our hot tea, and snuggle on the couch while reading aloud from God’s Design for Science - The World of Animals from Answers in Genesis.

We have watched videos on animals from around the world, hiked together as we learned about animal tracks, built bird houses, collected insects, and even tasted rabbit, goat, various seafood. Yes, we embraced our animal study.

We really enjoy the God's Design Science Curriculum. It lends itself easily to family learning. This year our homeschool co-op chose The World of Animals and The Human Body.

My younger children enjoy the Christian Liberty Nature Readers. They went well with our animal study as they are packed with awesome information and stories.

We use our 4H books along side of our science curriculum. Join your local 4H to get great resources for your homeschool!

But what do you do when you are trying to get through that last chapter and the little ones have the wiggles?

I often give my younger children coloring books or puzzles to work on as I read aloud. This year we read Little House on the Prairie (went great with our animal study!) Many times Peyton would sit quietly and listen while working on legos or coloring an animal picture for his journal. Just because children are not sitting in a desk giving you their undivided attention does not mean that they are not learning.

Sounds all good…until it’s time to sit for a language or math lesson, right? This is when I pull out our learning puzzles, our animal sticker books, or a file folder learning game. One of their favorite quiet time activities is getting online and playing Reading Eggs. And yes, in those desperate moments when I need everyone to be quiet while I work with another child, I simply put on The Magic School Bus (who wouldn’t love to have Ms. Frizzle as your teacher!).

File folder games are great to occupy your little ones-they can learn as they play!

2. Divide and Conquer!

What do I mean by that? After our morning bible and prayer the boys begin with their math. They each log on to their program, with earphones, and begin their day.

Anna begins with Reading Eggs while Victoria starts her spelling, handwriting, and phonics.

This allows me some quiet time to work with our youngest with his reading and phonics. Then he is ready for some much needed playtime.

We LOVE our character booklets from Intitute in Basic Life Principles. They went great with our animal study this year! We use this with our entire family. We choose a character trait for every month. I was amazed at how my children remember these traits, even when we were at the zoo the boys reminded me of the various animal/character traits.

3. Playtime is precious (for both mommy and child)

Play builds brain pathways for thinking, creativity, flexibility, and many other lifelong skills. Play is often talked about as if were only a relief from learning. But, for children, play is serious learning!

My children have sailed the high seas in a “boat” made from a box, defended the castle from its enemies high above in our trees, and spotted pirates from afar with homemade navigational tools (paper towel roll).

My little pirate. He was so involved in trying to find Hook that he didn't notice that I snapped a picture. We read about sharks, dolphins, and even watched Swiss Family Robinson. Next week we start reading Treasure Island!

But what about nursing babies and crawling toddlers? Oh, how I remember those days. Sleepless nights with a newborn (my babies never slept!), potty training a toddler, all while trying to teach a little one to read...and somehow managing a shower and getting dinner on the table.

There were times I questioned my ability to educate my children...not to mention my sanity. Someone once said that "God does not call the equipped, He equips those whom He has called." We knew that the Lord had called us to homeschool our children. We also knew that God had spoke to hearts in regards to having a large family. So it was time to trust the Lord.

So how do you get any school done with all the little ones? Be flexible, yet get a schedule.

I look back with fond memories of sitting on the couch nursing Caleb while Elizabeth sat playing with her dolls. The other children would listen to Lauren read aloud. Kyrsten would "play school" with the little boys-making them sit and do all their math flash cards. Was it perfect? No. But somehow, by God's amazing grace, we all survived. And yes, they went to college. There is hope!

I know, I make it sound as if homeschooling a houseful of children is no big deal. But we all know that it’s a HUGE deal. You will have days that are monumental…. picture worthy for your scrapbook (or facebook). Then there are THOSE days…you know, the ones that you completely understand why some animals eat their young. I get it. We all get it. ALL homeschooling moms have questioned their sanity for embarking on this lifestyle.

Remember - Don’t be hard on yourself!

Homeschooling your children will have lots of ups and downs. But as a nurse I want to remind you…that on a heart monitor you don’t want a straight line. It’s the ups and downs that let you know you are alive!

I am big on field trips. Children learn with all their senses...let them explore, touch, smell and just have fun!

At our homeschool co-op we studied Animal Science. We had so much fun dissecting fish, starfish, frogs, and a cow eye!

We dissecting owl pellets and even learned our character trait of loyalty (owls) in our character booklets.

Hands on learning is the best! Take lots of field trips, nature walks, and explore together!

My boys loved the day at the aquarium. I snapped this picture and loved the outcome.

Homeschooling a bunch of young children can be tough but it is definitely worth it! I love getting to spend so much time with my kids and getting to go on fun adventures! Just remember to Keep Calm and Homeschool On!

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#parenting #amothersguidetoparenting #homeschooling #encouragement

About Me

Welcome to our home, my name is Michele. My husband, Walter, and I have been happily married (most of the time) for 28 years. My husband is the Pastor of Strong Tower Church while I work as a Critical Care Nurse. Together, we have been blessed with 10 beautiful children.

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