By guest author Renee Ellison
Do you wonder what to do with wiggle worms while you’re schooling the others? Here’s the overall principle: busy children are happy children!
This means you have to stay ahead of your little guy with projects—even if those projects are only just busy work. For much more on this topic, read our booklet/e-book/Kindle book, Training Terrific Tots: 50 ideas to use with a little one who can’t read! It is loaded with ideas.
Meanwhile, here are two possible approaches to homeschooling children while you also have a child who is too young to do academics. One approach moms use is to let the little guys “hang from the chandeliers” and just concentrate on the academics with the older children—you’ll get to those younger guys later. The other method is to corral all of your youngsters into your school area: no one can go out beyond this line during school time—here is YOUR part of the table to work on—or, you must work on this large beach towel on the floor with your puzzle, trucks, or whatever.
The secret for the mom is to stay ahead of the little guy with attention-focusing activities that he can do with little or no input from you. Toward that end, here are some ideas:
1. Athletics of various sorts: three laps around the living room; ten reps with an unopened can of soup in each can; four push-ups in each corner of the school room—etc.
2. Chores: dream up endless little jobs to do that really don’t matter but that will occupy him. For example, he can use a washrag to wipe all of the door handles throughout the whole house, or sort books or papers by size. He can empty all the trash cans, sort the silverware drawer, wipe down the front of all of the cupboards and the lower realms of the walls near the floor, wipe the bathroom floor with a damp paper towel, wipe out the bathroom sink, wipe down the inside of the front window, sweep the front steps, shake rugs, dust the window sills, etc.—whatever he or she is physically up to. You get the idea. If you don’t use soap for any of these projects there is no danger that they will do anything wrong or make your life more miserable.
3. Creative activities in place:
• you draw large squares on a piece of paper, and then the little guy colors each square with a different color
• he plays with ice cubes on a tray
• he plays with a tubful of water on the kitchen floor, using measuring cups and funnels on a towel on the floor right here at your feet
The overall accomplishment goal for the mother is to focus on just one child at a time, deeply—shifting your focus from child to child until you have covered them ALL and then you get back at it with the first ones again, no matter what you are doing during the day—laundry, fixing a meal, etc. You get one child fully into that activity with you, so that you are double-whamming your time—building relationship, character qualities, bonding, securing obedience, laughter, enjoyment, letting them know that you cherishing them, etc.
Focus, but then shift your focus—that’s the name of the game. Cycle through your children over and over and over and over. Smile warmly at the other three—while going deep with the one.
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