A few years ago, we were trying to decide if it was a good idea to add another little person to our family. Among other considerations was the aspect of our homeschool. We had a nice routine going – the boys were 5, 5, and 4 then and academic life was very simple. How would it be to be pregnant while homeschooling…breastfeeding while homeschooling…chasing a toddler while homeschooling. How do people homeschool with little ones?
We took the leap and added that sweet family member and Little Miss is now three-years-old. Per Charlotte Mason’s advising, we are holding off on formal schooling until age six…or at least as long as Little Miss will let me. But she is still a part of our homeschool every day because, well, she lives here.
We have indeed had some challenges in our homeschool after Little Miss’ arrival. There have been plenty of days I’ve wanted to pull my hair out or sign her up for a mother’s day out class but we have survived. In fact, we’ve fallen into quite a nice new routine.
So how do you homeschool with little ones?
It’s all about mindset.
As the saying goes,
“Sow a thought, reap an action; sow an action, reap a habit; sow a habit, reap a character.”
More appropriate to the question of how to homeschool with little ones is how entrepreneur and CEO Paul Gravette said it,
Watch your thoughts: they become your words.
Watch your words: they becomes your actions.
Watch your actions: they become your habits.
Watch your habits: they become your character.
Watch your character: it becomes your destiny.
What you BELIEVE breeds your ultimate actions.
About now you might be thinking, “okay, but I didn’t sign up for a motivational class so about those little ones under foot…”.
However, here’s why this is so important – what you believe about your little ones will drive your responses so we have to start here.
Beliefs control your actions.
Let me ask you this: what do you believe about your little ones? Of course you love them and they are precious and you want to kiss their sticky little faces to bits but in regards to your homeschool, what do you believe about your little ones?
Let’s start with the most obvious and grow from there…
They’re in the way.
You’re trying to teach math to a 3rd grader and your toddler is climbing a shelf.
During your Shakespeare read-aloud to your 2nd and 4th grader, your three-year-old keeps saying “um, excuse me mama…” every 5 seconds because she wants to be a part of the story.
You’re trying to do a science experiment and your infant needs to nurse…again…
They. Keep. In. ter. Rupt. ing. All. Day. Long.
In this scenario, they are a problem.
How do you handle a problem?
You put it behind a baby gate.
You put it in front of the T.V.
You distract it with food.
Essentially, you keep trying to get rid of it. That’s what we do with problems.
Do you see where belief comes in so huge?
Now let’s look at this through a different pair of glasses…
They’re not in the way.
They’re a part of the family which means they are a part of your homeschool, too.
One of the reasons you love to homeschool probably has something to do with flexibility and to be able to educate your children from home.
Well, these are your children and this is your home, friend.
People talk about living well in the season you are in and that is just what this is – a season. This is the only time your little ones will be little. And just like the older children you are homeschooling right now had a chance to be three, it’s important for your little one to have a turn.
If you go at it from this perspective, the little ones are no longer problems to be solved; they are family members to include.
So how does it look to include your little ones in your homeschool?
“Fair” isn’t equal. It’s everyone getting their needs met. So just like you evaluate your 1st grader to decide what reading curriculum they need or what level of math your 4th grader is on, look to your littles and evaluate them.
What are their needs at this stage?
You can do a good bit of digging on the subject of childhood development or take entire college courses on it but here it is in a nutshell…
Infants need touch time
Toddlers need to explore
3-5 year olds need independence
…and everyone needs to feel included
Because this post is too long already for the attention span of our generation, you’ll have to come back next time when I break down real life suggestions on how to homeschool your big kids while giving your little ones what they need. Be sure to subscribe so you won’t miss part 2!