Tuesday, August 17, 2010

How will I homeschool with a toddler?

This year, when we start school my darling daughter will be 14 months old. Last year at this time she only weighed about 6 pounds. I just strapped her to my chest in the Moby Wrap and went about my day. Teaching the kids, going on hikes etc.

The good old days with a sleeping baby in a wrap!

So how am I going to focus on teaching when I have this adorable little rug rat getting into all of our school supplies?

Well, I have a few ideas. First, we use Workboxes, and love it! Some of the boxes the kids work on independently, but others have a "work with Mom" tag. When they have one of those boxes they bring the box to me so that we can work on it together, and I can give them some direct instruction. The "Mom" boxes have a "Mom" tag on them. So I decided to make a "sister" tag and put together workboxes that they will do with their little sister.

I basically copied the other work box tags that we have. I use the Circle Tags by Cassie that can be found and downloaded here: Schedule Cards and Numbers Printables

These workboxes will be really simple. Just something that the boys can do with the baby for 5-10 minutes. Here are a few ideas:

A ball so that they can play catch (she loves to play catch!)

A few books to read to little sister.

A special toy to play with together.

I figure if each boy has one "sister" box each day, there is at least some time set aside where she will get one on one attention from her busy brothers. It will also let me grab a minute here and there to get things done.

My big concern is when they have Mom boxes. Will we have to wait until nap time? I have stashed a couple of boxes of toys on our "work together" desk in the office where the boys will bring their Mom boxes. I will save these toys to get out for baby during this time. Hopefully some strategic rotating of toys will keep them new and interesting.

Here are the toys we will start with on the desk. Lets see if I can actually manage to keep some hidden and rotate them. Time will tell!

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Getting Ready for School to Start

We still have a couple of weeks left of summer (our official start date is August 30th), but I have been working to get things ready to go for when we start school again. I like to be organized but also find it hard to have the time to get and stay organized. With two active boys and a busy toddler, I know there is little chance of major organization once school begins.

We will be using all new curriculum this year. We are going to try an on-line charter school for the first time. The boys are enrolled in the California Virtual Academy (CAVA) which uses the K12 curriculum.

Here is some of what I have done in the last few weeks:

I set up the computer work stations for the boys. I found this great long desk top at Ikea for a good price. We had the one old Mac that the boys have been using, and K12 sent us a new desktop PC. This way both boys can do their on-line lessons at the same time. For now, they can both play games at the same time.

This is a kind of reference area. We have maps and globes, a microscope, science supplies and reference books such as dictionaries and atlases.

These are the shelves where I have all of the curriculum and my supplies. K12 sent us TONS of stuff. I'm pretty sure most of the worksheets will go unused, but there are great art supplies and hands on science equipment. The books for History, Science, Art, and Reading all look great. I like that they are not big text books, but collections of smaller books.

Each boy has a box of school supplies. There is a place to turn in completed work, and a place for me to keep assignments organized.

This is my work area. You can see that behind where I sit are the shelves that hold all of the books and supplies.

I have my computer to the right and will try to keep the desktop to the left of it clear so that the kids can come and sit there when they have work to do with me. We use the workbox system and they will each have "Mom" boxes that they will need to bring to me for us to do a lesson together. I am going to try out the rule that if I am sitting at my desk, I am available to do a "Mom" box.

This is about all I can do for now to get ready. Now we just need to take our trip to San Diego (Legoland, the Wild Animal Park, the beach) for our last bit of summer fun before school starts!