Thursday, July 1, 2010

Homeschooling with younger children

So I thought I would lure you into the blog with some cutie pie pics of my kids :) Works for me!
She is really growing! Awww......
Part of living in our home- everyone does their part to help...even when the laundry seems like it might take over the house :)

Yes, I am very cute..... :) Not that anyone tells me this or anything...... :)

Love sleeping babies!
Look at our ballerina meets cowgirl with high heels......Elizabeth!
No idea what they are doing?? But they sure are cute!
This is their pose.
Legos are one of our favorite toys!!! We bought a bigger box a few years back and add to it with other sets. LOVE the imagination.
Joshua got a Toy Story 3 set for his Birthday :)

Matthew being his cute self with his fun dart gun.......

So I thought about writing some posts on homeschooling..maybe not a whole series, but just some main ideas and the why's etc. I know it isn't really "school season" right now for most people, but just want to share. Again, this is what we do & why....not what others must do :)

One of the biggest questions we get after people get over the shock of how many children we have and the fact that they are all 10 and under is - how in the world do you homeschool?

First I would love to say - THERE IS NO SUCH THING AS A SMOOTH RUNNING PERFECT HOMESCHOOL!!!!!!! It doesn't exist. That would be like saying that there are easy adoptions- he he he he- they don't exist either. he he he

So some tips to homeschooling younger children (because that is my experience):
1) Don't try to shove tooo much for too long. Have a schedule with plenty of breaks! We NEVER have any "sessions" that last more than 20-30 minutes without at least a 5-15 minute break.

2) We love being together that is one of the best parts of homeschooling. So we do a lot together- like Bible history & study, science, learning about presidents, states, how things work, English, some math, handwriting, spelling, geography, vocabulary, cleaning, etc. When we do this together our oldest 5 are expected to sit at the table listen, and participate. They may not understand it all, but they must try.

3) Jonathan who just turned 3, and Elizabeth who is 4 1/2 both take turns sitting on a blanket with toys and sitting at the end of the table on a chair with quiet toys. This way they are within earshot. We practice with them- sitting and having self control within a certain area. Being quiet (not like mouse quiet, but just respectful quiet so I am not yelling over them). This is a great way to teach self control. Besides that you would be surprised at how much even a 2 year old - because they have been sitting since they were 2 and younger- will pick up while you are teaching other children.

4) We then have times when I do individual lessons or in pairs. Like for reading, math, & sometimes spelling for the oldest ones. Sometimes we do this at the dining table, sometimes in our "home office"/"Homeschooling room". Either way- if we have problems with anyone interrupting with poor behavior they are invited to sit with us for a while until they can have control. It does actually work. I never do individual learning or pair learning times for more than 20-30 minutes either. They gain so much more in our home anyway by giving frequent breaks.

5) Plenty of exercise!!! In a world where sooo many people are not exercising enough including children- this is really really important! It helps them learn better when they have had energy run off. They really need that time to be free to be crazy and have fun. It is sooo important for health reasons. We love taking walks mostly 2 miles or more, going to our playground, jumping up and down, having silly races, competitions with each other, and just enjoying being in God's creation. Now what do you do if it is raining (or snowing for those of you up north). We move the furniture aside. Do plenty of games that involve movement, but sometimes a little more controlled. Simon says, duck duck goose, jumping jacks, big moose, down by the riverside, singing/praising- which is one of my favorites!!!

6) Don't expect perfection. Many of us feel like in order to be a great homeschooling parent your home school has to be top notch, and your children have to be better than everyone else's. May I ask why? I am not saying we shouldn't want our children to do their best, require that they try hard, and expect that we do our best.....but there is a line that is often crossed. We should also be creating an atmosphere of fun. If in the middle of the day you can't "play around" with your children because you are very serious......then it is time to reevaluate in my opinion of why you are doing this?

There is a lot more floating in my head, but I will save it for another time :)
Pray you are all enjoying your summer.
Please pray for this family- they recently like in the last couple of weeks brought their precious Jeremiah home. He has severe sepsis and just had surgery, etc. It has been pretty hard the last couple of weeks. We know God is working because the hospital is just amazed he made it back to the States.

Have fun and be Blessed!!


  1. What cute pictures!

    We are debating on whether to home school again or not. I am not happy sending my kids to school. I don't feel it fits our family. We are trying to seek the Lord's will for our children's education, although we are at a stand still at this point in time. And it doesn't help that Nick and I aren't in agreement as to schooling decisions.
    Did both you and Jason always know that you wanted to home school?

  2. Good post....

    #5- we do the same to get the wiggles out!

    #6... THANK YOU!

    Right now I'm dealing with a huge pride issue with my oldest. She feels if she's not perfect (in this case- it's Math)- she gives up. This is what I LOVE about homeschooling- working through these issues. It's an awesome experience to walk this journey with her while God works on both of us.


  3. Thank you for sharing this.
    Isn't little Jeremiah a prince? Praying for his healing too!

  4. Great post! But ... how do you know we don't have a "smooth running perfect homeschool"? Is it that obvious???

    Just kidding! After 20 years of homeschooling, we still don't have it all together. Mama isn't perfect and mama's dozen kids aren't perfect. But, we serve an amazing and perfect God, who helps us to strive to do our best each and every day. (That's the goal, at least.)

    I started homeschooling when I had 6 kids 6 and under. Now ... those are all grown and I still have six kids around the dining table every day.

    Just want to shout it out ... we used Sonlight Curriculum this year and LOVED it!!! I've wanted to use it for 20 years, but was never able to. So glad I still have 6 kids at home to use it with. :)

    Hugs! Can't wait to meet that precious little one that keeps stealing the bloggy spotlight.

    Laurel :)

  5. You are an amazing Mom. I'll admit that I would not be able to do all that you do.

    I love all the pictures of your sweetie pie!

  6. Wow, you must be a ball of energy, praise God!
    Your system sounds great! This is something I for one am very interested in.

    I don't have any children yet, but when I do I will homeschool. My husband and I are in agreement. I have a teaching degree just waiting to be put to great use. But most importantly I know that God will help me to do a good job.

    Great pictures!!!!

  7. Hi! You left me a comment on our blog about a month ago. I am just figuring out all this I got to your blog and what beautiful kiddos you have!! Love this post, b/c we ARE the "smooth running perfect homeschool" family!!!!heehee We do homeschool and I love that my children are together all day. I can't imagine the older boys being gone for 6+ hrs.! Thanks for this encouraging prohomeschooling post!! I am looking forward to following your blog (now that I know how!!) Take care!

  8. Love the pictures, of course! ;) You are a brave woman taking on 8 kids AND homeschooling! I have to admit, that even though I have no desire to homeschool, I have become a LOT more open minded to it since really talking to moms who have done it. Personally though, I don't think I am organized enough. And I am enough of a perfectionist that it would drive me CRAZY. I don't THINK I'm cut out for teaching, but we'll see what God has in store for us when that time comes...

  9. Again...I would love your energy. :)

    What curriculum(s) do you use, Dawn? I am trying to find something easier on me. I pulled from several different things last year and doing the lesson planning was so much more work than I had time for (you're right, it's HARD just like adoption but worth it). Now that I am expecting #7 in the middle of this year, I am really hoping for something that's still solid but more open and go for me. I highly doubt you take shortcuts, but I know few people who homeschool such a big crowd and wanted to ask. :)

  10. We want to home school. I really like your list. Especially the bit about it never being perfect.

  11. Just ordered the first "batch" (ha.. read what we can afford) of our new curriculum last night and reorganized the loft/schoolroom yesterday.
    Flexibility :)