Thursday, September 26, 2013

Homeschooling With a Toddler? By Jove, I Think I've Got it!

He looks so peaceful when he's asleep. You'd never suspect the chaos he's responsible for when he's awake.

It's been over two and a half years since he started affecting our homeschooling, first with the pregnancy, then with his wonderful self and it's been a battle to find our homeschooling groove. More so this year because he's more mobile then ever. Add in a Grade 10 student with the extra work that demands and a boy in Grade 6 that's prone to focus problems and I've been on the edge of crazy for far too long.

How to make it work?

Well, after some talking with the kids we think we've found a solution.

We dispensed with scheduling and replaced it with routine. I had been using Scholaric (an excellent planning site for homeschoolers) to schedule the kids' work. Once I started doing that I started micromanaging my daughter's workload. Where she used to just do the next thing, I was dividing up her work into specific blocks, adding videos and assignments to be done on specific days and taking away all her discretion. I also began to control subjects that had previously been led by her interest. She prefers days spent with school work but she does not like that work when it's dictated by someone else and turned into a joyless grind.

So although I still use Scholaric, it's much looser. Some subjects are back to being led by her interest and any assignments, like papers, flow out of the discussions we have about those subjects. What this has meant is that she has a little more time in the day that I can add into our larger daily routine.

Once that time was freed up we came up with the following plan:

7am to 8am - breakfast and chores.
8am to 9am - Harry plays with Lauchie. I do housework and prepare. Catherine practices fiddle and does her Latin.
9am to 10am - Catherine looks after Harry while I work with Harry.
10 am to 12pm - Catherine does her math, Harry does all his independent work and Lauchie has some time with me and then goes down for a nap. I get time to myself and am available if either child needs help.

The afternoon stills remains to be sorted but so far Catherine has retreated to her room after lunch to work until supper and Harry and I hold down the fort, maybe do the odd activity together when Lauchie is occupied with blocks or Mary Poppins.

I think this is probably a strategy that requires older kids but it's been wonderful for us. Hope it's helpful to someone else out there.

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