We took Jolly for a "real" haircut today. We usually do our own grooming here at Russell Homestead, but decided it would be fun to take her to a professional groomer. We took her to Goldner's Top Dog, and we were very pleased with the service we received from them. I felt very comfortable leaving Jolly in the care of Linda.
I wish I would have taken a "before" picture. She wasn't too cooperative with the "after" pictures I tried to take, but I wanted to give all of you on our waiting list or anyone considering puppies from Jolly a good look at her. She is a black miniature schnauzer, but has a lot of silver in coat. As a puppy, she was coal black and silvered over time. She has a very nice traditional schnauzer coat. Enjoy the pictures!
Please read the intro post before reading this post.
1. Have a schedule – As I mentioned in my intro post to this series, a schedule is must for me. I have my school days scheduled out in ½ increments. It feels a little scary to post my daily schedule online, but I’ll give you the basics. I get up an hour and half before the kiddos rise. This gives me time to spend with God, with my husband, and get my hair and hunger under control before the feet coming padding down the steps. Following breakfast, we have chore time (more about that if you make it to #7). Then school begins!
Note: The teacher in me wants to separate my munchkins by grade level, but the practical mom in me sees there are great benefits in teaching some subjects across the grade levels. I’ve compromised the two ideas by keeping each child on his/her own reading and math level while teaching subjects like Bible, science, and geography together. At this point in my homeschooling journey, the only subjects we have are Bible, reading, & math.
We begin our homeschool day with PRAYER. (One quick note-I schedule our school hour while 9 month old MJ takes her morning nap.) Next comes the calendar followed by a Bible lesson, which includes Bible memory, singing, Bible stories, simple crafts, etc. Not all in one day, of course. Bible, as I mentioned, is a subject I teach to all the children at once.
After Bible, it is time to part ways. I begin with one-on-one time with JJ (2.5 years). I like to fill his little love tank first. I do simple activities with him for about 10 minutes while AJ plays with his special set of “schoolroom” toys and CJ reads in our “reading chair” (more on that at #6).
After my time with JJ, I have my time with AJ, who is 5 and in preschool. His school time with me takes about 20-30 minutes. During this time, 2-year-old JJ is playing in their bedroom with the special “alone time” toys. Meanwhile, CJ finishes his “reading chair” time and plays with the “schoolroom” toys. Sometime during AJ’s lesson, I send CJ to switch with JJ.
After AJ’s lesson, he has a bit of seatwork before he can go to their bedroom for his “alone play” time. As soon as I’m done with AJ, I call CJ down from his alone play time and have my lesson with (a simple preschool lesson). By this time, JJ is in the “reading” chair or playing with “school toys” or sitting on my lap.
Now, if that confused you, let me simplify it. I have four stations I rotate my children through – teaching time with me, reading chair time, alone play time, and playtime with schoolroom toys. The order doesn’t really matter, but I like to stick with the same order so the kids learn what comes next.
2. Homeschool the whole kit-and-caboodle
As I said previously in this series, I only have one child officially in preschool, but I feel like I’m homeschooling 3, and I’m totally fine with that. Mostly because my boys LOVE school, and it special time with me. So, I suggest you include your preschoolers in as many lessons as you can – Bible, history, science, art, etc. I don’t plan to include my preschoolers on math, phonics, reading, and spelling. I like that one-on-one time with each child.
3. Separate the toy masses
Kids like toys, but when given toys in abundance, kids quickly become bored with them. I would say, by our American cultural standards, we don’t have many toys at our house. However, the few toys we do have are separated in three ways – “anytime” toys in the main area of the basement, “alone play” toys in a tote in their bedroom, and “school room” toys in bins in the school room. The “anytime” toys are for their free time. The “alone play” toys and “school room” toys are only used on school days when I’m working with another sibling. They also have another set of "anytime" toys that are strictly for outside play.
The challenge is keeping these toys fresh. I typically keep one tote of toys in storage to rotate back into the “alone play” and “school toys” just to keep them new and exciting.
So, I’m not advocating that you go buy more toys to homeschool! Simply divide up the toys you do have, and consider storing some for later use.
Well, you made it through the first few tips; there are 6 more to go!
I asked a veteran homeschooling mom to several born-very-close-together children, “How did you do it when you were homeschooling with preschoolers in the house?” She looked genuinely puzzled and said, “I don’t really remember.” And she didn’t. I thought, “It must have been so bad, her mind has blocked out that part of her memory!”
So, in order not to forget, I’m going to do some posts on how we are homeschooling with preschoolers in the house.
First, these posts wouldn’t be complete without giving credit to a book I read that has changed my life. Not many books, except the Bible, change my life. They may change my way of thinking, open my mind to different time in history, or teach me something, but few change what I do in my day-to-day life. This life-changing book was called Managers of their Home by Steve and Teri Maxwell.
In her book, Teri encourages scheduling every minute of your day and your children’s days in ½ an hour blocks. For my detail-oriented personality, this was a fabulous idea. (For those of you a bit more free-spirited, it will work for you to because you schedule in “free time” for you and the kiddos.) Teri also suggests ways to build your children’s schedules to allow you one-on-one time with each child. She gives many real examples of schedules as well. Two of the biggest scheduling tips I took from the book are – have a schedule for everyone and schedule “alone play” time for everyone with a special set of toys.
To help you understand the dynamics here at Russell Homestead, let me review with you the ages of our munchkins. (I refer to them on my blog using made-up initials.)
We have AJ leading the pack at 5 years old, followed closely by his brother CJ, who is 4. Next, comes our 2.5 year old boy JJ, and we finish up with the little 9 month old girl of the household, MJ. In the 2015-2016 school year, AJ is in preschool. CJ and JJ aren’t officially “in school” yet, but I’ve told many people that I feel like I’m homeschooling 3 children, not 1. And that’s okay.
In my next posts, I will explore topics such as our school schedule, how we handle chores, how I attempt to keep the house clean, etc. I hope you busy mamas out there – homeschooling or not – can pick up a tip or two to keep your household running smoothly. And I would love to hear from you as I do this series!
Read the next two posts in the series by clicking on Part 1 and Part 2.
Vanessa from Russell Homestead. Follower of the Lord Jesus, wife of my knight in shining armor, mother of 5 wonderful children, and joint-keeper of the Russell homestead. Thanks for stopping by!
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