Teaching the older kids, while keeping everyone entertained. A few activities and tweaks can help turning a stressful homeschool day, into a “I got this, I can manage all the kids at once type day.”
Being at home is an absolute adjustment. I recently found a journal entry that I wrote about my experience when we first started homeschooling. I definitely stormed out of the room a few times full of frustration. I started homeschooling a year ago out of choice, but it was still hard. As a child I would play teacher all the time. Funny thing is, I would sometimes lose my patience with my imaginary students just like our teachers would from time to time at school. I always thought that my kids would NEVER make me lose my cool. But yet they do. And sometimes they make me cry.
But I remember that when I first started and I would leave and cry for a few minutes, I would say a prayer in my heart, take a second to compose myself, then go back to my duty, apologize and we would try again. I would also remind my kids how important it was for them to help me out to raise them to be super smart. I want them to be smart, rich, successful, and happy when they are older. But I need their help. I would turn those moments into a LET ME HELP YOU type of teaching moment.
Things did get better. Eventually some days we made it without someone having a melt down. Then the kids learned not to expect me to answer everything for them, but to be willing to go back and reread things when they didn’t know an answer right away. After all they need to become self sufficient.
Teach them how to fish and they will be set, don’t constantly fish for them.
Now, how about moms that have multiple kids of different ages? How about having some fun too while at home? Here I have provided a few tips including my absolute favorite activities. They are just a few, but man do I love them and man do they work.
Two tips for dealing with the day to day
1. Be Flexible with Schedules
The beauty of teaching your children at home is that you are allowed to have more flexibility. As long as everyone understands that the work needs to get done at some point, don’t be afraid to change up the schedule. Some days you may need to get the schooling done in the afternoon. Be willing to let go of expectations and to teach your children at a later time in the day rather than trying to fulfill what the rest of society expects.
Sometimes the best teaching moments come during bed time. Our kids love to read before bed so that is when we get our daily reading done. Be ok with optimizing learning when is the best time for your family.
2. Your kids can handle more than you think
Sometimes the only obstacle to our children’s growth is our own compassion and limited beliefs. As parents we are so compassionate. Plus society doesn’t do us a favor by portraying. an ideal mom or dad as one who is quick to solve everything for their children and to run to take care of everything. But unfortunately as kind as that parent is, he also will end up with a child at home at the age of 35, who is incapable of doing even his own laundry. Now, I am being just sarcastic here. Believe me though, when I tell you that behind children’s complaints there is an inner child looking for guidance and looking for someone to remind them that they can do it. A child who is begging to be pushed to grow. HARD WORK ethics will make your children RUN THIS WORLD. Remember also that even if what they are doing was hard for you as a child, it doesn’t mean that we should give them a break and teach them not to work extra hard to master that skill. We want our children to be smarter and better than us. We want their best interest.
NOW ONTO THE FUN STUFF:
Here is my list of all the items that I love to use to keep kids entertained and do constructive or educational activities. These activities help children sit still at the table and be close by, while other kids may need a parent’s attention with homework. They also allows kids to keep their minds busy and sit down so they can be more easily supervised.
2. Home Made Play Doh
This one is a favorite of mine for little kids. So easy to make. Plus home made dough lasts for seriously months and months. Refrigerate it after making it and store it in ziplocs.
Here is my favorite Play Doh Recipe which you can print as well to save it.
Home Made Play Doh
- 1 cup Flour
- 2 tsp Cream of Tartar
- 1/2 cup salt
- 1 Tbsp cooking oil we use vegetable
- 1 cup water
- food coloring your choice
- In a large bowl, combine all of your dry ingredients (flour, salt, cream of tartar) and mix well.Add the dry ingredients to your pot and mix well.Cook over low to medium heat until the dough starts to form and becomes dry.Once it starts to form a ball together and looks fully cooked, take off the heat. Let the dough cool first before touching.Once cool, knead the dough for 5 minutes to make the dough soft.Recipe courtesy ofhttps://www.thebestideasforkids.com/playdough-recipe/
3. Magnetic Sand
If outside beaches are not an option, magnetic sand is such a fun sensory activity for little ones. Also a bit more forgiving when it comes to make big messes. Set the little ones on a high chair and let them explore with magnetic sand. They will be entertained for quite a while.
If you haven’t tried this program, is very entertaining and educational. From kindergarten to regular grade schoolers, you can find books, math activities, and educational games for your little ones.
5. Educational Shows
Yes, sometimes TV can be educational and the perfect entertainment for your child. My advice, keep track with a timer to check how long your kids are spending time in front of the TV. The best way is to keep truck of time. Set a timer or base it on how long each show is. Maybe 2 twenty minute shows is great and enough for you to spend some time helping your other kids.
Some shows that can be very educational for your child and worth spending time in front of the screen are:
Wild Kratts, The Magic School Bus. The National Geographic has amazing documentaries on the world, history, and animals. Myth Busters has a version of their show for kids as well with actual kids conducting scientific experiments.
For little ones, how about YouTube videos where they can learn colors, phonics, sounds, and nursery rhymes. Let them watch them while they play with sand or play doh. You can cook up a meal in the mean time or help the older kids during school time.
I also like shoes that teach numbers, and letters.
I cannot reiterate enough how much I love this program. There are many free activities including a weekly news letter with 5 minutes lessons. THIS WEBSITE offers many helpful tool for kids to learn not only science,, but to love to discover new things in the world and be curious.
Happy Homeschooling and home activties everyone. I hope this helps!