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Homeschooling when your kids have a large age gap

Welcome to Day 2 of the Homeschool Review Crew 2017 Blog Hop! As I mentioned yesterday, I’m talking about homeschooling kids with a large age gap, and today my topic is time management tips. I may not be the best person in the world for this, but I’m going to give it the “old college try.”

One of the main problems I run into as a homeschool mom with big kids and little kids is figuring out how to work with the big kids (mine are 7th and 5th grade) while the little kids (in my case, ages 4 and 1) are also vying for your attention. This is a daily struggle, because the older kids need help with some of their subjects, but the youngers aren’t mature enough to just go play on their own for a few hours during the schoolday. Here’s how I handle this.

  • First, get up before all the kids so you have a little bit of time for yourself.
    • This is important so that you don’t end up feeling like you never get any time to yourself (a common thing for me). Making sure you have even just half an hour in the mornings can make a world of difference.
  • Prepare the school things in advance.
    • If you know what you expect the big kids to do in a given time frame (day, week, month, however you choose to break it down), then it’s easier to pass that on to them. When everyone’s on the same page, things tend to go a lot smoother. My ideal method is a daily to-do list for each of the kids, and a monthly calendar for myself.
  • Don’t neglect the little kids, even during school hours.
    • This one isn’t so much a time management tip as a “keeping your sanity” tip, but it’s important nonetheless. It can be very frustrating having a preschooler yammering in your ear while the baby cries, all while you’re just trying to read a chapter aloud to the big kids. (Ask me how I know!) Sometimes the little kids are truly just being noisy for no reason, but sometimes they actually need something. Learn your own kids and how to discern which is which. When it’s the latter, pay the little guys the attention they need.
  • Take advantage of help whenever you can get it.
    • I know a lot of families are facing this homeschooling adventure solo, but if you do have family or friends nearby, utilize them if they’re willing. In our case, this is my mom taking the little kids to Story Time at the library while I help the big kids with a research project each week. Sometimes it’s my husband taking the littles for a walk in the morning. Whatever it looks like in your family, do it!

What’s your best time management tip? Even if you don’t have kids with an age gap, I’m interested in hearing from you in the comments! And make sure to check out other blogs participating in the Blog Hop through the linky below. They’re all writing about fascinating topics this week.

Blessings,

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3 Comments

  1. Wendy, these tips are right on track. I have kids in 7th, 6th, 4th, Kindergarten, Preschool, and 1 1/2 year old twins. I find when I give specific ideas/things to my young ones I can get 20-30 minutes of teaching time, before I have to care for them again. My four year old is old enough to understand that if I’m teaching and he keeps interrupting he will have to quietly sit with us for the rest of the class with nothing to do, so he usually doesn’t interrupt. If I give the twins a pile of board books or put on a short musical type dvd then they are busy and they get back up from their pack and play in the living room when I am done teaching. I have 3-4 specific times during a day that are set aside for me to teach, so everyone has learned what to expect.
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