Thursday, January 31, 2013

Day in the life of a 5, 3 1/2, 2, and 8 month old

I am starting to put my thoughts together for this blog and I really don't have a "typical" day.  Bible study, gymnastics, MOPS, play dates, doctors appointments, sick kids, who knows what we will get.  However, I do have what needs to be done on a daily basis and around what time that is, so here goes.  Keep in mind this is how things flow if we are home all day.  If we have to be somewhere in the morning, we crunch our morning activities together.

6:00-6:30 Ella wakes up and I feed her and we head downstairs (If she is up earlier than this, my loving husband takes her and I catch a few more minutes of shut eye.)

Max also wakes around this time and he has his morning time with daddy.

7:00-Addison and Laney come downstairs.  They are up before 7, but I ask them to stay in their room until 7.  I try and lay out their clothes the night before so if they are up and looking for something to do, they can get dressed and make their beds while they wait.

No time is wasted once everyone is awake.  Once the girls walk downstairs, everyone is up at the counter for breakfast.  This is when we do their memory Bible verse for the week, a Bible story, nursery rhyme and maybe another story.  We also talk about what we are going to do that day and what order things need to be done. 

7:30-The 3 big kids go in the basement for free play while I get the kitchen cleaned and eat breakfast while my diner of an 8 month old is finishing up hers

8:00-I put Ella down for her morning nap.

8:00-8:15 BREATHE

8:15 -9:00 I call each kid up individually for reading time.  Addison and Laney do their daily readings to me and I read a couple of books to Max.  While I have them one at a time, we will finish getting dressed, do hair, etc.

9:00-9:30 Craft time.  We will try and do a craft, play dough, painting, or just coloring and cutting.  Something creative and usually a little messy while Ella is still asleep.

9:30 Ella wakes up and I start a morning video (They get 2 a day.  One in the morning, but their readings must be done first and one in the afternoon after their math lessons are done) for the older kids while I feed Ella and spend a few minutes alone with her.  Time permitting, I will get ready for the day, whatever that means.

10:00 Snack time

I usually read another story here, do flash cards, or some sort of verbal learning game. 

10:30-11:30 We all go in the basement and play as a family.  We will sing songs, read books, do tricks, hide and seek, whatever they are in the mood for really.

11:30 Lunch (I am very blessed to have a proud Papa, who loves to spend time with his grand kids.  He tries to give me a break in the day and will bring over lunch and help get the kids down for their naps.  Thank you, thank you, thank you!)

12:30 NAP TIME!!!!!

All 4 kids will go to their separate rooms and have rest/nap time.

1:30 Ella's awake.  Nurse her while everyone else is still quiet

2:00 Addison wakes up from her rest.  We sit and read or do puzzles for about 30 minutes while Ella crawls around us

2:30 Addison does her math lesson

3:00 Laney and Max wake up. Laney does her math lesson.

3:30 Afternoon video

4:00 We will sit down and do worksheets or work on handwriting while the younger ones do their thing

5:00 Hubby comes home and I feed Ella and finish up dinner

5:30 Dinner time

6:30 Ella goes to bed and the other 3 hop in the bath.

7:00 Play a game or cuddle up and read books before bed.

7:30 Take the kids upstairs for bed

8:00-9:00 My husband and I get cleaned up, reorganized for the next day.

9:00  Time for me to have a glass of wine and plop on the couch and relax with my husband =)

There you have it, my day in a nut shell.  And, yes, I do most things in 30 minute increments!

Thursday, January 24, 2013

"What do you do with the younger kids while trying to homeschool?!?"

This is a question I have been asked many, many times.  I know I don't have THE answer, but I do have the answer for what works for our family. 

Although none of my kids are technically "school-aged", I do have them split off into 3 groups.  My 4 and 3 year old I teach our core together. Then they both do different levels in reading and math.  My 2 year old is usually around listening to some of the stories, but I don't do any formal teaching with him.  And there is my baby who hangs out or is sleeping while I teach.  That all being said, the person who I have to keep most occupied while teaching is my 2 year old son, and that is a task in itself. 

1. Give them your attention first.

Max is always the first to wake up and the only thing he wants to do when he wakes up is read books with his daddy.  He gets about an hour of one on one time before everyone else wakes up. This works out great for me because he gets his attention first thing in the morning, plus he gets some educational time with all his books.

As for Ella, she requires the most attention after her afternoon nap.  If I am able to just spend 10 minutes holding, laughing and playing with her, she is usually good to go!

2. Include them in your teaching

-During breakfast and snacks is when I try and do our core readings.  Max loves to be a part of everything and this is an easy way for him to be included.

-When we do crafts, I either have Max do the same craft or something similar.  I know it's not going to turn out like it is supposed to, but again, he gets to do what his sisters are doing.

-During worksheets, Max always has the option to get up in his chair and color in a workbook or he can just have free play.

-Just last week we were working on measurements so  I gave Max his own measuring cups in the bathtub.


3. Have planned activities

Even when Max doesn't want to sit in his chair, I still try to incorporate some sort of "teaching" activities while I am working with the girls.

-I have given him a baggie full of crayons and ask him to pick out the color we need.
-I put out our number mat and ask him for find the right number and then jump that many times.

-I give him a pair of scissors and a bunch of paper and let him have at it to work on his fine motor skills.

- Use educational toys.  These stacking cups are a family favorite.  In between working with the the older kids, I ask him to stack, count, and name colors. 

4.  Let them explore 

The fun in being a kid is being able to explore, right?  My house is very baby proof, so chances of him getting hurt or getting into something I don't want him in are pretty slim.  The odds they are going to make a mess, probably!!

Max pulled out all of the craft supplies

Ella got into all the puzzles

 Plus, you never know what he will find to do. I love when I look over and he is sitting quietly reading a book, or playing nicely by himself.  Max is really pretty good at just toddling around while the rest of us are busy.


5. Have the older kids "entertain" the little ones

While this may work better when you have bigger kids, my kids do pretty good at it.  It can usually get me by for 5 or 10 minutes if I am trying to wrap things up.  They actually feel pretty special when it is their turn to "take care" of Max or Ella.  They do anything from finding a game to play, read stories, or just make funny faces at Ella.  These are actually some of my favorite memories when I look over and see them playing so sweetly together.
Addison reading a book to Max
Laney took both Max and Ella downstairs to play legos

Max keeping Ella entertained while I finish math lessons with the older girls
Addison Reading to Ella

6. Don't forget the sling

My sling is a lifesaver!  Late afternoon while I am trying to finish thing up and try to get dinner started, Ella will just snuggle up and I have both hands free!
She fell asleep on one of our afternoon walks.