This year, I have a first grader, a kindergartner, a preschooler and a toddler. My preschooler is charming and sweet and affectionate, full of love and life and energy. And he is Trouble! A massive tornado sized force for destruction and noise and rowdiness. His little brother is working hard to follow in his footsteps. So I’ve been madly researching on the internet, attending Homeschool Conference seminars and brainstorming for ways to occupy my preschoolers so I can get some schoolwork squeezed into my day.
Here are a few tips I’ve picked up and intend to try this year:
1. Plan Ahead- Prepare activities for the little ones, gather the supplies needed and have them at hand. There are so many “Busy Bag” activity ideas on Pinterest, it boggles my mind. Also, have certain toys only taken out at school time so they remain special.
2. Start the Day with Preschool Time– When Mom is teaching, all of her attention is fixed on her school-aged children. The poor preschoolers have to hear all day “Go play,” which of course means, “Go away.” So, starting the day with quality time with the preschooler gives him that attention he needs. Books, games, puzzles, and play are perfect for this time.
3. Include Preschoolers in the Activities- Make an extra copy of the worksheet for the preschooler to scribble on when the older ones are working. On the first day of school, the preschooler should also receive new school supplies. When we time travel, he comes with us! When I stamp my Special Agent’s passports, you bet I’m stamping his. He can play on the floor with legos while I’m reading and join us for nature walks.
4. Utilize Naptime- This tip is the hardest one for me to tackle. Naptime is my time to unwind. However, today and yesterday, our mornings were so difficult with the little ones that I did use naptime for literature and phonics. It is nice to be able to focus with little to no interruption. Perhaps I will compromise. Half of nap can include school time and half of nap is mine. All mine!
5. Accept and Embrace the Season– I got this advice a lot. This time with small children is relatively brief (even though yes, it seems interminable) and I need to accept that I will not get as much done in this season of life. There will be interruptions and days when I will not accomplish what I wish to accomplish. I need to slow down and take the time to disciple the hearts of my children- all my children. This is really fine as we are only doing first grade and kindergarten- hardly time consuming years. In fact, the free time, the fun things we can do while the preschoolers are with us, and the relationships built with the younger siblings is probably better education for them than all the academics in the world.