Posts Tagged ‘family unity’

Homeschooling Multiple Ages

Wednesday, October 15th, 2014


How do you homeschool multiple ages? Here is a webinar that describes what you can do when you are homeschooling multiple ages:

Is it possible to teach children of all ages at the same time? How do you modify assignments for different ages?

With unit studies, you can easily teach your children of multiple ages. This applies to history, science, literature, geography, and even writing. One time my kids were making a homemade botany field guide. A young child who could barely form his letters wrote the name of the plant under the cut-out magazine picture for each page. A slightly older child wrote one sentence under each plant picture. An older child wrote a full paragraph about the plant, using botanical terms that we had learned. So each child was able to complete the writing assignment on his or her level, and yet we were all studying the same topic.

I did a series on my blog about unit studies, where I explain how to teach all of your students at the same time, cutting down on the amount of teaching time for you and fostering family unity. You can find the 5-day unit studies series here: Unit Studies 101.

How do you keep babies and toddlers busy while teaching older children?

You can keep younger children occupied with age-appropriate activities at the table where you are working with your other students. If you can give them something that can keep their hands busy and keep them from interrupting your teaching, this is what you want. Here are some open-ended ideas for preschoolers: wooden puzzles, lacing cards, Play Doh, paint-with-water, coloring books, interlocking beads, tangrams, etc.

Another method that worked for keeping preschoolers occupied while teaching older kids was a fenced area with a CD with either my voice or classical music, or an educational CD. Hearing the mother or father’s voices or familiar songs can be comforting to babies and toddlers, and they are more likely to be quiet and listen. My toddlers and preschoolers were able to play quietly on their own for longer periods of time using this method. I always put open-ended toys in the room so that my kids could play for a while, not just for five minutes. If you need more ideas on how to keep babies and toddlers occupied while teaching older kids, watch the free webinar  A Routine for Young Children.

How does organizing your time help you to get all your homeschooling done with children of different ages?

You do need to sit down and decide how you want to structure your day if you want to homeschool with success. At minimum you need some sort of routine where you begin the day with math, for example, and then move on to your unit study. If you are doing 4 or 5 subjects in your homeschool, it’s easier if you plan ahead of time which order you will be covering the subjects so that your students can develop a natural rhythm to their day. This makes the day run more smoothly and enables your students to get everything done.

If you need help with organizing your day, you can take a look at my articles and videos about Homeschool Organization. You can also sign up for a free Homeschool Room Makeover video workshop, which will help you to feel more organized in your homeschool.

Breakfast in Bed

Wednesday, July 24th, 2013


My kids made breakfast in bed for me and for my husband Alan last weekend. They handed us menus of the different breakfast foods that were in the house. The night before, my 11-year-old son asked his father to buy bacon for his breakfast in bed the next morning. I was surprised how eagerly Alan went to the store to buy this item.

Breakfast-in-Bed-4The children set up a CD player and asked where the classical music was. They put the CD into the player and made sure they knew how to work it the next morning, so that we could have classical music with our breakfast.

I’ve slowly taught my children to cook over the years. Cracking eggs was one of those messier things to learn. My son Stephen is now quite good at it, so I didn’t even need to get out of bed at all for a hearty breakfast to be served.

It didn’t matter that the toast was cold and that the eggs were overcooked—it was the thought that mattered. The kids did it by themselves for the first time ever. And they grinned from ear to ear as they brought in the trays and placed them on the bed.


Linked to Family Fun Friday

A Frame

Monday, July 26th, 2010

a-frameOur church goes camping once a year during the summer. During that time, we listen to speakers and spend some time talking with other believers at a nearby lake. One year our family was able to stay in an A frame. The cabin is in the shape of an “A,” which is why people call it an A frame. I have sweet memories of my own childhood, staying in an A frame for about a week while we were on furlough. It is one of my happiest memories of childhood.

a-frame-2When you walk through the front door, you see an area downstairs. Then you see a stairway that goes up to a bedroom in the loft area. You can look over the railing and see what people are doing downstairs. I don’t know of any other shape of house that can do this. Everything is made of wood: the walls, the ceiling, and the floor. So it feels like you are in a very fun cabin.

In the A frame where I stayed with my husband and children, the loft had exactly three beds for the three boys. The downstairs had two bedrooms. My husband and I slept in one room, and my baby girl slept in the other. It was nice to be able to give the baby a nap right after lunch in a darkened room that was away from everyone else. The A frame was also considera-frame-3ably cooler than a tent would have been in the middle of summer. (Forget taking a nap in a 90 degree bright, sunny tent. You feel like you are in an oven!)

I loved the fact that only our family was in the house, so the experience built our sense of family unity. There was a small kitchen downstairs, and I was glad to be able to have the lactaid milk not spoil for my two children who were lactose intolerant back then. Also, you could get a cold snack from the fridge, or a cold glass of water. In a regular cabin with other people, you can’t even go to the bathroom without people looking at you in your pajamas. So the feeling of privacy in the “A” fraa-frame-4me was also fun.

In the early morning when the children woke up, they could play quietly while my husband and I continued sleeping, because the boys were safely locked in. If we had stayed in a cabin with other families, after going to the communal bathroom, a toddler would have been tempted to walk out the unlocked front door, go to the pretty lake, walk onto the pier, and fall off and drown. I didn’t have to worry about such things when we were safely bolted in our A frame.

I still smile every time I look at these pictures of our time in the A frame.

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