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Homeschooling when you're out numbered by babies!

posted Sep 01, 2011 19:52:20 by KayteMcCoy
I'm super excited that my oldest daughter is officially starting K next week. Our church does have a small academy but since we lack a K teacher (she went off and had 3 little girls and now can't be at school! {it was me!}) we keep the little ones home until 1st grade. So I'm looking at my morning routine and thinking that I will need to get up at 4am. =P Not realistic. Ideally, I would like to work with my oldest and while she completes some independent work, spend time with my 3 yr. old on leaning pre-school basics. And then of course is the 11 month old. Hmmmm.... I forsee chaos and frustration in my future.

Is using the ol' DVD/babysitter the only solution to homeschooling a K with two other lil' ones around? I'm getting nervous about this! =)
[Last edited Sep 01, 2011 19:53:18]
Blessed beyond measure wife, mommy, coffee addict, boo-boo kisser, toilet scrubber & lover of the life God has given me!
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9 replies
Mrs. Julie Fink said Sep 02, 2011 14:46:15
You will do great. The best learning is learning that takes place naturally and wholeheartedly anyway :). And I speak that from experience (I homeschooled my girls for six years).
ChristinaUlmerMeece said Sep 06, 2011 20:24:35
Hi, Kayte! I am NO expert on this...but I'm doing it, and we are all surviving (no kids locked in closets yet!) What curriculum are you using? The easiest thing for us is to start when the baby takes her morning nap. It goes against my grain to not start school until 10:30, but that's the only way it works around here. I usually take those morning hours while the kids are able to keep baby entertained to do some cleaning up and review my lesson plans.

We use the A Beka curriculum. I did preschool for my older two last year and through the summer since we took three months off after Harmony was born. When I started Lillian in preschool she was nearly five and Jaron was about 3 1/2. Amazingly, Jaron was keeping up with Lillian with all the lessons and phonics. I hadn't planned to start him yet, but Savannah was napping in the mornings, so I figured, why not? He just wasn't really coordinated enough to write the letters, but I realized that would come with time. As long as he was recognizing the letters and learning the sounds, I just let him sit there and eventually I ordered his books and let him work right along with his sister. Perhaps your three year-old can just sit and listen to big sisters lessons, as long as she isn't being a distraction. There are also tons of websites that have free pre-school print-outs.

The K5 program reviews everything from K4 so I've been combining two lessons a day. The lessons are actually very short and sweet (makes me wonder how in the world they fill up a whole day at school) and we really only spend a couple of hours of "school" each day. My husband always teaches them Bible in the evening and I have story time with them before nap/quiet time. So, two hours about does it for us!

Honestly its HARD keeping my 2 1/2 year old busy while I'm teaching the lessons. She loves play-do, so I give her a chunk to play with as we all sit around the table to do school. I also let her "do the dishes," or color.

As far as dvd babysitting, DO IT! I appease my conscience by playing something somewhat educational. We recently bought the entire Baby Einstein set (30+ dvd's) on ebay and I also discovered "Preschool Prep Co." I LOVE them!!! You can also find those cheaper on ebay. It's funny though, no matter what's playing on the lap-top in the other room, my 2 1/2 yr-old would rather be in with us doing school!

I really do feel out-numbered at times, and housework while homeschooling can get very overwhelming! Chaos happens! Frustration HAPPENS!! However, now that I'm no longer nursing and the baby is taking longer naps, things are going much smoother this year as opposed to last year! I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE homeschooling! If your interested, I began posting my homeschool journal on my blog:

I would love to hear how it is going with you! If I can do it, you could definitely do it! I'm sure you will do an amazing job and will be able to teach me a thing or two before long! Us homeschool moms need to stick together for encouragement! :)
ChristinaUlmerMeece said Sep 06, 2011 20:42:34
Here are a few blogs I enjoy; written by homeschool moms of larger than average families. They have some great ideas on how to involve toddlers and preschoolers in your homeschool experience. I WISH they were fundamental baptist, but they're not. As of yet, I cannot find many homeschool blogs by baptist ladies and I find that very sad! (LOVE her book!!! It has really helped me with scheduling!)
KayteMcCoy said Sep 12, 2011 15:09:28
Thank you Mrs. Fink for your encouragement.

Christina, you're my hero. Thanks for the resources too. I'll be checking those out.

Well, thus far, we're doing well. Like you mentioned, Christina, it actually doesn't take too long to get through our lessons. We're using a homemade take on Alpha Omega LifePacs for phonics(which next time, I am just going to order the books straight from the company because this copying business is too time consuming.) And I ordered Alpha Omega Horizons math. She's doing more than required and it's still only taking 1 hr. to 1 1/2 hrs. Sometimes we do her reading from the books at a different time in the day, just because I want reading to be FUN. So we look forward to it, cuddle on the couch, wait for the baby to nap, etc. so that it is a nice time for us, not a chore.

Eden (3 1/2) has been very good for the most part. Today was the first day she was distracting.... But Leila. Leila Leila Leila. This baby is slowing killing me. =) She is 11 months and wont take a bottle. I know, WHAT IN THE WORLD?!!! If I had a friend tell me their baby WOULD NOT take a bottle, I don't think I'd believe them. But with the older two, I made SURE they would switch back and forth at about 2 months old. They didn't have any issues so I got lazy with Leila and never made SURE she would take a bottle. Well... BIG MISTAKE. So. She would apparently like to be nursing when SHE is starting K. Not gonna happen!!!! Anyway, we still manage fine. The best thing I can do for making our mornings go well is get up early enough to have my coffee and quiet time with God before the munchkins get up. If I get in those two things, I can handle everything else much better. =)
Blessed beyond measure wife, mommy, coffee addict, boo-boo kisser, toilet scrubber & lover of the life God has given me!
ChristinaUlmerMeece said Sep 12, 2011 18:37:45
Poor Kayte! Nursing an older baby is NOT easy! Probably the one reason I haven't lost my sanity is because I weaned Harmony already. It was a hard decision to make but I had an opportunity to go away with my husband for a few days and I certainly didn't want to bother with pumping! I miss it, but I'm seeing some improvements in my health and energy levels so it has been worth it! Do you ever give her juice? My oldest absolutely hated the bottle until I put apple juice in it one day. She loved it! I gave her juice a couple of times and then snuck in a bottle of formula.

Does your school use Alpha Omega too? I've been looking at their catalog and I love the variety of different programs. I'm drooling over the Switched-On-Schoolhouse which starts in 3rd grade. I think that would be a life-saver for me to have the older kids do that when I begin teaching the younger ones! I'd love to know what you think about Alpha Omega!

KayteMcCoy said Sep 12, 2011 23:26:48
I've tried juice, expressed breast milk, formula, water. I've pruchased one of every kind of bottle/soft sippy on the shelf. She just gnaws at it. Doesn't drink a drop. One day, I got really determined about it and offered the bottle every time she would have normally nursed. I figured, she's GOT to figure it out if she's hungry enough. She didn't drink ALL day. By the end of the day, I was uncomfortable, worried, sad, discouraged, etc etc. She never did drink out of it, just cried her little self to sleep in Seth's arms. I still give her a bottle every day but she has yet to drink from it. I'm not sure what I'm gonig to do, but with only a month until her first birthday, her nursing days are number whether she knows it or not!

About Alpha Omega: our school does primarily use that. We use the LifePacs. This is their most ecomonical option. I plan to get some Horizon stuff for later on (like penmanship) since we don't cover that at the school. The way our school is set up is basically to ASSIST parents homeschool their kids. We have no paid staff; just pastor, my husband and volunteers (parents). The 5 basic subjects (L.A., science, math, history and Bible) are covered in the schhol day (7:45 am - noon). So (ideally; hopefully) parents are filling in the gaps (art, penmanship, creative writing, oral reading, domestic skills/arts, etc) at home. Senior highers do have some elective choices. The school has always used A.O. I really don't know much about other cirriculums, other than ACE, which I used for my last 2 years of high school, and I also used ACE Speedy Reader to teach some children to read. I for sure perfer A.O., esp. for the phonics. My sister in law uses Abeka video and likes it a lot. It is quite expensive but she buys what she can second hand. I watched a 1stgrade video with my nephew once and was so impressed with the teacher. She was awesome. My sister in law also pays extra for accreditation. It's "easy" as far as daily teaching though; not very "hands on" for the parent. Which in a way may be a begative since I like sitting down with the kid and actually teaching but I imagine once you have more than one student it would get pretty hairy! =)
Blessed beyond measure wife, mommy, coffee addict, boo-boo kisser, toilet scrubber & lover of the life God has given me!
ChristinaUlmerMeece said Sep 15, 2011 00:28:51
Good luck with the weaning process! I weaned Harmony very quickly and it was a VERY painful experience! I hope it goes easy for you.

Thanks for the info on AO! What is the difference between LifePacs and Horizons? I like the abeka video idea, but they only rent the videos to you! That would cost us way too much money for all our children. The thing I like about Switched on Schoolhouse is that you pay once and keep it. They expect you to use it for your younger children. We'll just take things one year at a time! :)
NoraBergstrom said Sep 15, 2011 14:29:26
We are using Switched on Schoolhouse for the first time this year and so far we love it. Just the fact that everything is graded for you, with the exception of essay answers, is such a HUGE help!! We chose it over others because we can reuse it for each of the kids and they offer King James Version which is a priority to us. It doesn't start until 3rd grade, though. They have to be able to read. I like how you can see as the "teacher" how many tries it takes them to get the right answer. If they do poorly on a test you can clear it and have them redo it. There are some great features on this program and it really makes your time a lot easier.

Hang in there - we started homeschooling 23 years ago and are now down to the last two kids. When I had all 5 doing school at the same time I had to choose priorities in the house. Keeping it "perfect" wasn't something I was able to do. The seven of us lived in a small single wide, rundown trailer. There were bad days in the midst of all the many, many wonderful days. That's life. I always tried to keep neat and tidy any area that I knew was important to my husband. His laundry done was important to him - his shirts ironed and always ready. I worked hard at keeping our bedroom neat and orderly. A haven. At the end of the day it really made a difference to both of us. Having a pot of coffee on for him when he was getting home. Little things like that make a big difference. The areas that didn't always stay neat were not such a big deal if these other things were kept up. As the kids got older and trained in more and more areas those other areas improved quickly. Training them to help is good for them. Makes them feel important to be contributing to things. AND... I was constantly working at dejunking!! We all keep too much stuff, don't we?

It is all worth the work!
ChristinaUlmerMeece said Sep 15, 2011 16:54:06
Mrs. Bergstrom, your post was a real encouragement to me! I am so glad to hear a first-hand account on the Switched-on-Schoolhouse! It does seem to have a lot of good qualities. Twenty-three years of homeschooling! Amazing! Any advice you can give us "newbies" is GREATLY appreciated! Thank you so much!
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