Homeschooling one child is challenging enough at times, and now the prospect of adding my second child to the mix is certainly giving me some things to juggle around home. I also have baby Fergus who has just started to walk in the last couple of days and enjoying being up and about with a little speed.
We’re a long way from doing anything formal with Annabel, perhaps another year or so, but now that she has just turned 3, she’s eager to join her sister at the table and feel like a big girl. It’s at that stage where crayons and dolls all day doesn’t quite satisfy.
At the moment, I’m keeping it simple and easing in some extra activities that I can help her with, while still checking in with Rosie (7) while she’s working her way through her morning’s work. Rosie is generally fine with understanding her work and staying focused, as long as I take regular moments to sit with her and encourage her. It took me a while to realise that she needs that, as her love language is quality time. More on that another time.
So I thought I’d share a day in the life of Annabel which might give you some idea’s of what to do with your younger ones.
1. This week we’ve been learning colours, which has involved cutting up old magazines and making a collage page for each. For some time now, her words for her colours have been strawberry, lemon, avocado, blueberry, and chocolate. This is a girl who thinks outside the box! I love that about her. She loves to see her ‘schoolwork’ displayed on the wall, and we love to share this joy with her.
I love to see what Annabel comes up with when she plays with them. In the photo to the right she decided to line them up and arrange them as ‘foods’. Usually she builds towers and is learning how the different pieces can be placed together. If you type in ‘Wedgits demonstration’ on YouTube, you can see lots of ways these blocks can be used.
3. We have some flashcards that slide open with the word inside. Today Annabel spent some time at the table looking through them and saying the body parts. She’s played with these before and previously lost interest, so I wasn’t expecting them to rise to prominence again.
4. Our favourite thing to do is to simply sit and all read together, although Annabel does not always last too long sitting in one place, much different from how Rosie was at the same age. She might wander off and play with some toys in the same room, although she is often still enjoying the story. She likes to chose the book and managed to sit through a 10m Winnie-the-Pooh story today.
Besides the above activities, today Annabel also played outside, and did all the usual colouring, cutting and pasting, as well as various costume changes from the dress-up box and her own drawers. We love her! I find that short bursts of structured activity, followed by some ‘organised’ free play is as serious as we’re getting around here with her learning. By organised free play, I simply mean having a couple of things out at time, rather than the contents of every toy box spilled into the middle of every room.
We also have some large threading beads, tons of wooden blocks, worship CDs that she loves to dance to, flashcards, board games, and most importantly… us. My best tip: try not to get carried away with ‘stuff’ when really the most important thing is spending time with your little one, entering and engaging in his/her world, and enjoying simply being together. Purposeful play is great, but not if it overtakes the highest priority of connection.
Here is a site that we’re going to use in future that has some great ideas for activities for little ones: 1plus1plus1equals1
More on Multi-Level Homeschooling in the future, as I attempt to navigate my way through these unchartered waters.
How do you manage your multi-level homeschool with younger ones? I’d love to hear your tips!