It’s back-to-school/homeschool time again! This will be our sixth year homeschooling (I can’t believe it!). As I start to plan what I’d like the children to learn this year, I’m thinking that I’ll be teaching some subjects to them at the same time, but with other subjects they’ll be learning separately. With any homeschool you need to give each child some personal attention while keeping the others occupied. I was thinking back to when the kids were younger, and I thought I’d share some educational kids and baby toys that fit the bill nicely.
For great ways to create a home environment that promotes math and literacy, Maya Thiagarajin is my main source of inspiration this year. As a world citizen, she nicely brings together East and West parenting and teaching experience and gives lots of advice on how to create bright children through everyday activities. Don’t miss out on my interview with her, coming up in a few days!
You don’t necessarily have to spend a lot of cash; just get creative with things you already have. Think about how you can re-purpose things. Do you have a deck of cards? Hide a few around the house and have your preschooler or toddler try to find one of each number. Kids love to go on scavenger hunts and this just might give you enough time to explain a new math concept to an older sister. Or do double-duty and an older child can find the cards that answer a math question (30/6=5 so they need to find the 5 card).
Speaking of math, equations aren’t the only way to learn! Tangrams, origami, jigsaw puzzles, and picture sudoku puzzles are great! The Wise Owl Factory has some beginner picture sudoku puzzles that my kids started out with. These are great as they don’t take up a lot of space in a small house, and can be done independently without a lot of noise (depending on the child, of course)!
Scrabble, of course, can be used for spelling with older kids, and for letter recognition for younger children (being careful to keep an eye on them with the small pieces). Boggle Slam has worked well for us as the kids learned to spell. Now they can play with more speed and they encourage each other along.
Busy books, colouring books, matching games, blocks, or a special toy that’s only out during school hours will help fill some time.
For something a little more lively, don’t forget that brain breaks are important for young children. Take a few minutes between subjects and have some fun together! Kids love Snot shot! Ring toss and basketball are also great ideas. I used one of these games in almost every class I taught in Japan; right from the ages of 2 up to 15 as an icebreaker! Getting the blood moving increases concentration and makes the day more fun. After all, we homeschool so our kids can spend time together, so let’s do it!
Ask The Expert
And don’t forget one very important thing; ask your children what they would like to do. Even young children can have a voice and you’ll find out a lot about them, just by asking! If you discover what they like to do, you’ll be able to incorporate it into your homeschool day and they’ll be more agreeable as you’ll be showing them that they’re important and they’ll feel they have more control. Desperate Homeschoolers did just that, and inspired me to do the same. Now that I’m heading into planning mode, I’m keeping these ideas in mind, and the kids will be helping to build their learning plans for the next few months.
How do you keep children of different ages happy and occupied while you homeschool or do homework with your kids? Share your ideas and wisdom in the comments below and let’s help each other, and those families who are just starting out.
Disclaimer: This has been a sponsored post by Diapers.com but has been written in its entirety by me.