Tips for Homeschooling while you have Littles

Homeschooling, no matter the ages, is challenging.  And right now it seems incredibly so! Currently I'm teaching 4th grade, 2nd grade, doing a  little bit of Montessori style preschool with my 3 year old and chasing around Miss Lucy, who is crawling at lightening speed.

I'm not going to pretend to be "super mom" for a second and make you believe that this is all a piece of cake!  It's NOT.  And I won't pretend either that I know everything there is to know about educating my children at home...in my mind, I'm a newbie!  

We are heading into our 5th year of homeschooling though and I'm constantly learning and tweaking things to make our days go smoother. I'm not going to launch into an exhaustive dissertation on how to run your "homeschooling days", but I thought it may be helpful to share five things that have made a huge difference in our school days.

1.  Organization is a must.

Sometimes you will look at all of those school books for multiple children and think, "How in the world are we going to do all of that?"  For our homeschool, we use the workbox system.  It forces me to be organized (even when I don't feel like it!), and allows my children to work more independently.  I used to feel so stressed trying to remember "what was next" as well as answering the endless questions of "When are we going to be finished?"  I still can't believe what a difference it has made in our homeschool!

2.  Stick to a time schedule.

When you have a toddler and/or a baby, this is crucial.  In prior years, we moved on from subject to subject as we finished them, not on a particular "time" schedule.  However, the conflicts that arose were quite frustrating.  It usually looked something like this...Lydia would be taking a looooong time on her copywork, but Caleb was already done with his work and was waiting around to begin science together.  So, I would let him move on to his next box, but wait, he needs to be taught that new concept, but now it was time to feed the baby, and Levi was hungry and cranky because it was nearing lunch and naptime, etc., etc., etc!!  =(  It wasn't working so well. 

Now that I'm a bit wiser, I stick to a "time" schedule that fits everyone.  Here's an example of how it works...we begin school at 8:30.  While Lucy and Levi are still in happy moods since it's morning, they play happily while I teach any new concepts and give instruction.  Then while Lydia and Caleb finish their lessons, I play with Lucy and Levi.  At 9:05, math time is over.  If they are diligent, this is plenty of time for them to finish.  However if they do not, they have to finish it later, when school is over. (Homework basically!) At 9:05, we move onto grammar and we continue like that through the day.  

I am amazed at how much better our days are going!  We do the more "intense" subjects, like Math, Language Arts, Grammar and Spelling while Lucy takes her morning nap. Now if they don't finish in the allotted time, it doesn't throw off the rest of the day!  Yay!

3.  Recess and Snack are non-negotiable.

I often used to fudge on snack and recess and just try to push through to the end and just get DONE. It's not smart.  If you have littles, take a break!  They need it and you definitely need it!  At 10:00 each morning we have snack and recess until 10:30.  I also use this time to nurse Lucy.  Snack doesn't have to be a big ordeal, just keep it simple...and healthy.  A sugar laden snack will not help concentration levels! =)

4.  Captivity is a wonderful thing. 
Sounds terrible, right? =)  If you have baby, get them used to playtime in their pen everyday.  All of my children actually liked it since I started doing it when they were pretty young.  I usually only use it twice a day...first when we are cleaning up from breakfast and trying to get school started, and then later on after snack time when we are doing science together in the living room/kitchen area.  It will free you to concentrate on teaching something since you know your baby is safe.  Also, all babies need "downtime" and will benefit from a short period of quiet playtime alone. 

5.  Don't slave in the kitchen everyday.

Seriously.  Do you have a crockpot?  Let it cook for you!  Or take one afteroon a week while your little people are napping and make some "freezer" meals to stash away. (Jessica at Life as Mom has some great posts about this, as well as Renee, who makes all her dinners for the week in one hour.)  I'm pretty sure crockpot meals and freezer meals are the secret weapons of sane homeschooling mamas, lol! =)  

Okay, calling all homeschooling moms...what advice can you give to help me and other momma's in the same boat?  Come on, speak up! =)

Sometimes I link up to:  Serenity NowRaising 4 Princesses5 days 5 waysToday's Creative BlogSkip to My LouHome Stories A to ZHouse of Hepworths, 36th AvenueKitchen Fun, DIY Dreamer{Primp}Sassafras SalvationShabby Creek CottageSomewhat SimpleCreation CornerThe Shabby NestFinding FabulousCSI ProjectTrendy Treehouse, Uncommon DesignHappy Home, Imparting GraceMetamorphosis Monday, 


  1. thanks for the great tips, Laine! not that I'm homeschooling now, but it's helpful to have for the future if I DO homeschool. I love how your first tip is organization. I am learning how much time that saves in every.single.step.of.life!!!! Now on to the organizing part! :D

  2. I loved reading this tips, Laine! I'm not a homeschool Mom, but I feel that I can still benefit from all that you shared and you never know what the future holds so it's good to tuck away helpful tidbits such as these--THANKS for sharing! =)

  3. These were great! Same lessons I learned and tried hard to stick to. Not so easy some days while others were better.

    It's nice to hear that other Moms do struggle at times and it's even better to hear that some of the things I've tried to do were steps in the right direction!!! Always edifying!

  4. Thanks for the post! I just started homeschooling and need to implement all of these tips. It is encouraging to know I am not alone! Lord bless you!

  5. great post, Laine! I am sure I would want to forget the recess part too. Hoping to implement some of these tips as I work with my nieces on "school" while keeping a 1 year old. Sure wish he liked the playpen (or that I had started younger with that.) He can't stand it ;(

  6. I appreciate these ideas! I was homeschooled myself and plan to homeschool my kids. Although I'm several years from homeschooling (18 month old and one due in November), I'm already trying to read up on ideas so I'll be ready to give my kids the best education. Yay homeschooling! Found you through Serenity Now.

  7. One of my friends home schools with 6 kids (the youngest is a baby still). As a teacher I take my hat off to her. As a mother I am in awe. Your tips aren't just good for home schooling parets - they are good for parents with little kids who have kids starting school too. Thanks. :)

  8. Thank you soooo much for stressing how the old system wasn't working & so you had to develop a new system that did! Like you, I have moved from subject to subject without a time-schedule while schooling my 6th & 3rd grader... all the while also trying to look fter my constantly-into-things 12 month old! With all the day-to-day interupptions, we were literally doing schoolwork from 8am until 6pm! I am going to take to heart your time-scheduling techniques as well as implement a snack and recess break. My mom forwarded your blog to me... to whom I am also grateful :)

  9. Absolutely fantastic tips, Laine!

    I'll be sharing these for Feature Friday FREE-FOR-ALL tomorrow!

  10. Great tips!!! Thanks for the shout out too! Love the first pic of Lucy's cutie pie patooty. :)

  11. thanks for your insight into the world of homeschooling! i have a 7, 5, 2, and 9mo.. so i can identify.. i am also married to a pastor:)... we are also learning everyday what works best for us.. your tips gave me some great ideas and much needed inspiration..rebekah harris


I love to hear from my readers! Thanks for taking the time to comment!

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...