Would you like to homeschool, but aren’t sure what to do with all the different ages?
If you don’t have access to daycare options (or a family that’s got the time!), then you may find yourself juggling little ones and the needs for the attention of the school-aged child. Of course, they can play with their toys, etc, but at some point, they’ll need another option! Every child and every family is different in dynamic, but for these first few pivotal years, it helps to have quick go-to ideas!
Here at Kardia Classical School, we are in the Pacific Northwest, so that means tons of rain! We have plenty of indoor activities for those indoor days—but don’t forget to take advantage of your sunny days when you have them!
They can play with the same toys at this age and not get too bored! Try taking them out in fresh air if you can—it works wonders, especially with babies. Soft music can be soothing, too. Flexibility is really key when you’ve got an infant in the house, and that applies in homeschooling, too! One of the best ways is to have things prepped in such a way that the school-aged sibling can do work independently. Also, sometimes your key school times for one-on-one interaction are going to be those precious nap times! Some babies do great in a bouncer if they can see the family working. Give yourself and your homeschooling grace in this season!
The older your baby gets, the bigger the range of options! At this age, they want a little more challenge and, thankfully, have slightly longer play periods. They also can play independently at these ages. One way to handle it is to have “stations” or perhaps boxes that you switch out one at a time.
- Sensory boxes
- Coloring pages or books
- Magnetic building blocks
- Cookie sheet with magnetic shapes, blocks, or letters
- Anything that involves putting things into containers. Recycle an oatmeal can, for instance, and put large objects or toys in and out of it.
- If you’re brave, chocolate pudding “finger paint”; it will get messy!
- High chair time with snacks or even an activity-if they’re the sitting type!
- Solid Tempera Paint Sticks for washable painting fun!
- Wagon wheel dry pasta with pipe cleaners for patterning, making shapes, and more
Once your littles reach the older ages, they can sit for longer periods of time-but, not usually the full amount of school time! They’ll get longer times for their “stations” (or however you plan it), but they still will wander quite a bit between activities. There are some great at-home preschool curriculum options, but you’ll want more for them to do! Here are some ideas:
- Foam or stacking blocks
- Magnetic blocks
- Dress-up sets or wooden dress-up dolls
- Coloring books
- Whiteboard + easy wash marker
- Dot paint
- Self-inking stamps +paper
- Stiff cardstock and glue sticks-purple will tell you where the glue is!
- Early scissors skills
- Kinetic sand with tools or small hard plastic animals in a tall-sided box!
- Linking blocks or similar
- Playdough and tools
- Shaving cream on the table or in a bag
- Books, especially simple look and finds
Most of the time, the younger siblings like to be involved and feel like they’re a part of it. We do Bible storytime on the couch; many homeschooling families have a “morning basket”. Also, we were able to have three desks, and although our youngest at the time wasn’t really of an age to sit at it, I knew the ownership of space would quickly come into play. If you have a shelf with desk “stations” you’ll want to quickly make space for the youngest kids!
One of the most helpful things we’ve found as a homeschooling family is having Kardia’s curriculum. They offer videos for the harder subjects, a daily schedule, and a suggested curriculum list! It’s been a lifesaver for time and energy—and, often, the older ones will watch a (short) video and then do their lesson while I’m getting the youngest settled, changed, cleaned up, or otherwise responded to. If you don’t live in the local area, they do offer a full online tuition option. Check it out here!
Also, feel free to download this fun and handy printable pdf below of younger sibling activity ideas, so that you’ve got something to have in hand! Enjoy! Let us know if you’ve got more suggestions for things for siblings to do!
For more great information from Joanna Bischoff, visit her blog at https://homelifepurpose.com/