Monday, November 2, 2009

homeschooling after baby walks

Wondering how to manage homeschooling after baby learns to walk (or crawl)?  Here is our solution.  We are blessed to have a family room and a large living room, so we decided to create, in the living room, an inviting and safe place for Anna Grace to play.  It is close to the dining room, where most of the schooling takes place.  From a certain chair at the dining room table, I can see what Anna is doing, and sing to her or play with her when I don't need to be directly involved with the schooling.

I should add that Anna's love language is physical touch, rather than quality time.  This may not work so well for a quality time baby, who is only happy when Momma or Daddy is with her.  Emily Rose and Daniel and Don are quality time people, and they rarely desire to be alone.  Timothy and Anna take after me more.

The older children play in the family room, which we made into a playroom as soon as we moved to this house.  We bought a jean couch, which has proven to be a good buy for a playroom (dark colored, easy to clean).

Anyhow, back to Anna's area.  We arranged storage boxes to keep her out of dangerous corners, and out of the rest of the house.  Furniture is arranged in a circle, so that there are only two exits--on either side of the couch.

I have always found, as a parent and earlier as a teacher, that toys and books need to be displayed in order to be utilized heavily.  Tucking them away in crowded toy boxes doesn't entice kids.  Likewise, books crowded into a bookshelf don't get used as often as those put in tubs and arranged around the room.

These storage boxes are the perfect height for Anna to manipulate the displayed toys and books.  We change the toys and books every week to keep interest level high.

The floor quickly becomes a mess, over which baby can trip.  We often jump in here and rearrange or pick up.

Putting noise-maker or push-button toys up on a couch or chair makes it easier for baby to use them.

This area is behind the couch, and not accessible to baby.  I try to arrange books in tubs in every room, to entice Emily Rose and the boys to pick one up frequently.  The magazine rack on the right-hand side has nature magazines in it.  The bulk of the children's books are in shelves in the playroom, due to lack of space.  I've been buying books--lately at thrift stores, earlier through Scholastic--for many years!

I didn't become an avid reader until the fourth grade, when I got hooked on Nancy Drew books.  Don't despair if your elementary reader still loves being read to more than reading alone.  It just might happen in upper elementary, when a certain chapter book series begins to float his boat.  Start reading chapter books when they'll sit for them.  This gives them a sampling of what's out there.