Homeschooling has had a new dynamic this year. In the past nine months, we moved and added a new little one to the mix. Moving gave us a lot of new space and we now have options for where we do our schoolwork. It’s crazy to think that just last year, we were working in a bedroom transformed into our schoolroom.
A few months later, we moved to the “office/dining room” when we needed to make room for Sugar Plum.
Then we moved to a new house and now school takes place anywhere in the house, with the office being our storage area.
Using workboxes has allowed us to move them where ever it feels “right” that day. This method has been my favorite, I am loving the endless options and space to spread out.
But. the biggest change in our homeschool this year, was adding a little one to our lives. The homeschool dynamic changes quite a bit when there is a baby who needs mommy’s attention all day long. It’s definitely more difficult to spend one-on-one time with each kid and juggle it all, but we’ve made it work. Here’s a little on how it works around our house.
School starts at 9:00am during breakfast. While the kids eat, I read to the kids from our morning stories; Aesop, Shakespeare, Parables from Nature, Blue Fairy Book, or Just So Stories. They love this time! It’s a simple way to get the kids focused and a fun way to start the day. It’s multitasking at it’s best! Eating and listening just go together, and I can feed Sugar Plum while I read as well. She loves to sit and listen too. Hands and mouths are busy so they can focus on listening to me read. They then narrate what I read so I know they were paying attention.
After our morning readings and breakfast, the kids pull in their workboxes to begin their studies. I take a little while each night to prepare each box and stagger the subjects they will need me for, this way one can be doing something on their own (ex. copywork) while the other is working one on one with me (ex. math). This method has worked great. Workboxes have been one of the best purchases we made. They are slowly progressing to doing more on their own and our little task cards have helped to let them know what they need to do that day. (I’ll post more on our workbox system soon!)
When Sugar Plum was first born, we were doing schoolwork at the island in the kitchen, this allowed me to hold Sugar Plum while working with the other two. I am so thankful for my wraps and carriers those first few months. They allowed me to have both hands free while I held Sugar Plum. This was a lifesaver!
Now we spend more time in front of the fire in the hearth room. Both kids grab a tray and their work and lay on the floor to do their schoolwork. They are comfortable and I can put Sugar Plum on the floor with us as well. She loves sitting and playing with her toys and it provides an easy way to work with the kiddos while attending to Sugar Plum. Everyone is happy.
So far, school with a new baby has been pretty seamless. Yes, we’ve definitely made a few changes, but luckily Sugar Plum is very easy going, loves watching her sister and brother and is happy just about anywhere. She loves trying to take their work, and they think it’s a game as well. While sometimes there is a bit of distraction and it takes a minute to focus the kids on their work again, they are really pretty good about focusing and doing what needs to be done.
We work in 20 min intervals so whatever they can get done in 20 min is what they do at that time, then we move on to the next subject. If they have anything leftover, I have them complete it at the end of our school time and before they can go play. This has worked really well to get them focused and on task. They love playing outside or inside so it is a great incentive. They also take short breaks throughout the morning which is very helpful and can be worked in whenever we feel like it’s needed. This has helped Mister Man a lot as he needs to take a break and regroup throughout his morning.
So far our days are going very well and I feel like life with a new baby, a new move and all the craziness that comes along with it has gone very smoothly. I re-evaluate throughout the year and make changes as needed. Life changes and there is always something new to work around. I am sure the crawling, walking stage will change the dynamic yet again. But we will adjust. That’s the beauty of homeschooling!