When the younger ones want to "do school"

A fellow blogger recently posted asking what she should do with her younger daughter while she was schooling her oldest. Her younger one, 4, wanted to "do school", but wasn't really old enough to do the type of school that she wanted to do.

Her question was how did she keep the younger one occupied without killing her desire to do school...or allowing her to attempt school work that was WAY too hard for her which left her frustrated and could lead to a bad taste in her mouth regarding school.

I thought I'd post what I did with mine when they were younger here. I had to get MUCH more creative with my son as he wasn't as content to play by himself in his room while we were schooling. He's a typical boy: He wanted to be where all the "action" was. LOL Please note that I still utilize some of these ideas with my youngest.

The bottom line with a child who WANTS to "do school" (even if they're really too young) is to make them FEEL like they're "doing school"...just like the big kids.

Here's what I did for the various subjects my kids were doing:

**For "LA", we did the vowel sheets that came with Sonlight K (I modified it so that he was studying the letter listed and practicing writing only THAT letter that week. You could do the same with Expode the Code (ETC). They both just serve as a guide for which letter to use that week.

**I had someone recommend Starfall. My son LOVES it to this day. (He started using it when he was 4.) It helps him with learning to read. This was HUGE as he REALLY wanted to learn to 3, but was NOT ready yet.)

**Although we now use a combo of Horizons & Math-U-See (MUS), we started out using Saxon. When I bought that, I got the manipulatives that went with it. My son LOVED using those for math. He sorted, practiced counting by 2's, 5's, & 10's as well as "regular" counting. He had help from Mama with the harder parts, but did the rest on his own.

**I got several dry-erase boards on clearance after the "Back-to-School" season. Those were a GREAT buy. I had no idea whether he'd like them or not, but he did. I got several, but his favorite was the ones with all of the upper & lower-case letters, numbers, basic adding (with pictures for counting), and a "doodle" space. When he was done doing whatever he wanted to practice with the other stuff, he'd doodle...and LOVED it!

**I got a folder and put blank sheets of paper in there. I told my son it was time for "art" and he'd draw. He loved this so much, that eventually we purcased Usborne's "I Can Draw Animals" & "I Can Draw People" as well as "How to Draw Cartoons". The entire series of "How to Draw" books is well-loved by budding artists. He wants to be a cartoonist when he grows up. (And a pilot, race car driver, radio guy like his daddy, a vet, and to open his own organic, gluten-free restaurant for his sister...but who's counting?) This "art" time started all that.

**My MIL gave us some "Signing Time" videos when my kids were younger. When I needed something for my son to do for foreign language, "Signing Time" came in handy. He watches that or I help him with some Spanish words...depending on how much time I have that day for helping him. (He still does this...and has a HUGE sign vocabulary.) They now play "Signing Time" locally on our PBS station. A friend records them for us on her DVR so he can watch them later.

**As part of our reading time with Sonlight, I always added in a Pre-K book for him. Now we add in K books. He LOVES reading time whether it's "his" book or his sisters'.

**I have a group of educational videos that he could choose from if he was just really restless. We don't do TV here, but these are allowed. Some are from Alpha Omega, we have Calvert's "Come Read With Me", and the Sonlight science DVDs (which he loves), and several various other educational videos. We got them all at the local thrift store, a used book sale, or on Ebay.

There's more, but those are the things that he liked best. I didn't have him do everything every day. It varied so he didn't get bored and stayed interested.

I also had the option of bringing a small bin of toys from his room into the school room to play with. That kept him busy for a bit just to find the toys and then he'd play with them.

I didn't use this when my son was younger, but I would think the Primer for MUS would be something she would like. It's totally appropriate for her age. The manipulatives are great! We started using Gamma when my daughter got stuck on division and LOVE it!

What are some of the things you've done with your youngest? Feel free to post your ideas here or write them on your own blog. We homeschooling moms can't get enough ideas. We glean great ideas for our own schools based on what others have done...good and bad!



Luke Holzmann said...

Fantastic ideas. Love 'em! And, depending on where my children are when I get them, I may have to start using these methods soon [smile].

I'm very glad I found your blog. I look forward to reading in the coming days.


Thoughts of THAT mom said...


Thanks for visiting my blog. I'm glad you found this one helpful.

I'd say let me know if you have any questions on your homeschooling journey, but I know your parents have a wealth of knowledge.

I pray that your adoption journey is a smooth one with no "roadblocks". If you've been on this journey long, you know how the red tape can sometimes lead to those.