Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Trying New Things Tuesday: Collaborative Homeschooling

Sammy is four and a half years old.  Sometimes I glance at him and am startled because I'm not prepared for him to be this big boy with long arms and legs, his dad's features spread across his face.

At four and a half, Wren started sight reading.   It was just a few minutes a day, slow going, but it built the foundation for her reading skills.  It hit me last week that Sammy could technically start now if he wanted to.  There's nothing to say that every kid learns the same or needs to do things at the same time, but I decided to float the idea his way, and he wanted to give it a go.

Here's the thing:  Two of my kids (I call them the bigs) are doing homeschool work and two of my kids (the twins or the littles) are toddlers.  I would love to wax poetic about how having seen the bigs through their toddler years I'm totally prepared to handle two two-years old.  But I'm not.  This is so new and I have not yet figured out the best approach.  Almost always, one of the twins is pissed.  They can't reach something, they aren't allowed to eat glue, they want chocolate chips for breakfast, not eggs.  When one calms down, the other gears up.  It is a phase, but I have to figure out how to manage the needs of all four when two currently attempt to dominate by screaming, planking (when you try to pick them up and fold them into the stroller but they go all rigid), or just generally refusing to follow any directions.  It will be trial and error.

This morning we managed by having Sam put together word puzzles, followed by Wren using the words to write sentences on the board.  Two birds, one stone, 15 minutes.  We are also utilizing parts of the twins' nap time to work on homeschool skills.  My goal this week is to figure out what works and get a schedule going that is more firm and consistent so everyone knows what to expect.

Of course, it's good to stay flexible with four kids.  Things will change, people will go in and out of phases.  Still, I'm hoping to find some kind of rough draft rhythm to the school days.  I'll let you know next week.

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