It was suggested that I write a blog about how to homeschool with littles at home. My immediate response was, “I wish I knew.” However, many people have told me I seem to have a good handle on it, so here it goes.
If you are on the fence about homeschooling and are looking for direction, please know I used to be there too. It was never my intent to homeschool. I was teaching full time at a private school when we learned we were pregnant with number four. Well, my salary would not cover childcare for four children (yes, they were all under 5), so the most logical thing to do was stay at home with my kids. My oldest was four at the time, about to start Kindergarten. The public-school district we lived in had just lost accreditation. Not that I really ever considered sending my children to this school, but it was the icing on the cake. My kids were not going to that public school. And after quitting my job in the private school, our free private school education was gone. My husband suggested homeschooling. Though I was not keen on the idea, it seemed like a good temporary solution.
After the first year of homeschooling, I was sold. It was a perfect fit for our family. I loved being involve in what they were learning about and being able to connect it to the real world. If they were learning about shapes, I would start pointing out signs on the road and asking what shape it was. Learning just became part of our household culture. Plus, it was really neat to watch my kids suddenly understand how to read and just take off.
But all of that comes with getting over the hurdle and committing to doing it. Once you commit, everything else starts to fall in place. There are so many resources out there for homeschoolers, especially in the St. Louis area. Plug into them on social media, even if you do not participate in the discussion, you will find tons of resources, field trip ideas, and opportunities to socialize (umm after COVID that is). The homeschool community is an amazing community and as soon as you say you are a homeschooler; you are immediately part of that club!
*If cost is a concern, check out Easy Peasy All in One Homeschool https://allinonehomeschool.com/. Also, The Good and the Beautiful offers the Language Arts curriculum for 1-6 for free PDF. https://www.goodandbeautiful.com/products/pre-k-8-language-arts-course-set-level-1/ (I found both of these free resources by reading forums and Facebook post.) There are others, but these two we have used.
Here’s some more advice:
First, you are never going to feel like you have it right. And that’s ok. You want what is best for your children, so you are going to be constantly assessing what is working, what is not, and what you need to change. That’s actually a really good thing.
Second, your school aged children, even you kindergarteners, are much more independent than you give them credit for. Develop a routine and stick to it. Last year I had a 4th grader, 2nd grader, 1st grader, and Kindergartener. Once they finished getting ready for the day, they pulled out their books and got started on the work they knew how to do. Even my kindergartener. The work they needed assistance on was rotated so that they were independently working while mom was working with a sibling.
That brings me to the third piece of advice, structure. Structure for every family looks different. Some people have a schedule and keep to it. We do not. We basically have an order. The kids go through their schoolwork and assignments. There is a rotation between book assignments, computer assignments, tablet assignments, music, and art lessons. Each kid has a list of things they must do every day. I let them go through it in the order they want as long as the resources are available (mom/tablet/computer). Then I check their work when they are done (especially math because this tends to be the one that is all or nothing correct). I usually do Language Arts alongside of my kids because I want to ensure they are grasping the concepts.
Ok-the point I was asked to address- the littles-The key to my littles is giving them “School” time too. This may include doing puzzles with them, playing with playdough, singing songs, or letting them color. They see their siblings doing school, they recognize mom is spending time with them, so they also want to do it too. I have found that my younger kids will play in the designated spot if they know their school time is coming. This has worked for all three of my girls, but my baby… he’s a wild card. He just wants to be working alongside of his siblings. Last year, I just put a coloring book in front of him, this year I foresee needing to structure his time to be away from his siblings who are doing schoolwork.
Not sure if that’s much help, but it’s what I do.
I hope this blesses you and gives you some insight on homeschooling. Let me just say- you can do it! Your kids will be blessed by it! I know that this journey is not for everyone, but if it is something you are truly considering, do it. It will not always be easy, but it will be worth it.