Do you get the Above Rubies magazine? I got my copy in the mail on Saturday. If you have one, flip through to page 23 and you’ll find a familiar name. It’s under an wee little snippet of an article I wrote ages ago. It was in response to a question I’d gotten through an email list from a mama who wondered how to teach (homeschool) the older ones with toddlers underfoot.
Here’s my reply and the little bit they published (along with dozens of tips from other mamas):
I’m right there with you, girl! Things have gotten much easier since I was introduced to the assumption that 95% of what we teach is remembered. With that in mind, I make it a point each day to have our 9yo and 7yo teach our 4yo and 2yo so I can have time with the opposite (older) one. The Teacher of the Preschooler pulls out a drawer full of all sorts of preschool “teaching” objects like an abacus, flashcards (picture, number, and alphabet), blocks, and much more. I often purchase items for this drawer, to keep it interesting. There are also lots of writing utensils (markers, crayons, watercolor paints) and papers and child-safe scissors and glue available. The older children concentrate on “teaching school” to only the 4yo since our 2yo is at the copycat stage and will just do what they do (or she’ll hang out with me).
We’ve done this for a full year now, and it’s amazing how much the older children have taught our little guy. They’ve pretty much given him a full K4 education! The older ones have benefited not only in their own learning but also in good habits such as patience, perseverance and helping others.
When they do not need my help, the older children do their schoolwork independently (such as reading and copywork). This frees me up to do housework with my toddler following after. Our K4 child is well old enough to know how to respect the work of others, so I expect him to be quiet and read or write or else he needs to go play in his room while they work.