Tips for Directing Your Little Ones During Homeschool Hours

Directing little ones is a challenge in every homeschool, especially when they are energetic. But with thoughtful planning your days can go much smoother.

Homeschooling definitely isn’t the easiest thing I’ve ever done! It’s hard enough trying to teach multiple grade levels, but throwing a few toddlers in the mix can make things downright crazy. Directing the little ones while trying to still be productive has probably been one of my biggest challenges over the years.

Each new season of homeschool brings a different dynamic and its own unique challenge. This year’s challenge for us: three kids in school, two that aren’t yet school age, and before the year is up we will add another little one to the mix.

Admit that you need help

We all need help! Its not a bad thing either, because its the best thing for us! The first thing I do when entering into any situation is admit my need for God. Directing little ones in what they should do is no different! Take a quick look at this passage from 2 Corinthians.

“…I was given a thorn in my flesh, a messenger of Satan, to torment me. Three times I pleaded with the Lord to take it away from me. But he said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.’ Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.”                                                                                                                                                  2 Corinthians 7-10

I’m not saying my toddlers are a messenger of Satan, but man oh man, of all the times in my life when I feel weak, parenting toddlers tops the charts! This Scripture is my lifeline because it reminds me not to even try to carry that difficulty on my own shoulders. Its a hope filled life giving verse that reminds me that we will all do better when I admit my weakness and let Christ carry us. Praise God that when we are weak, He is strong!Directing little ones is a challenge in every homeschool, especially when they are energetic. But with thoughtful planning your days can go much smoother.

How I plan our day

So, to keep things moving forward for us, I plan our school day in sessions to break it up. I do it mostly for the little ones, since they have such short attention spans. It helps keep their attention focused, but it has also shown to be beneficial for everyone else.

We start our day with breakfast and clean up time, then get ready for the day. We have our first big work session from 9-11 in the morning, followed by group PE time, a break, and then lunch. After another quick clean up, we put the littles down for their naps and get started on our second big session for the day, from 1-3.

Our youngest naps during both sessions, and our 3 year old usually naps during the afternoon session. (We didn’t just luck into that nap schedule by the way. It was very purposeful, and took a lot of discipline on my part to accomplish.) Doing school while the littles sleep is a HUGE help.Directing little ones is a challenge in every homeschool, especially when they are energetic. But with thoughtful planning your days can go much smoother.

How directing little ones during the wake time hours looks for us

  • It’s really helpful for us to break up our big sessions into smaller ones, with lots of singing, stories, and memorization that they can participate in.
  • Each kid, even the little ones, have their own backpack filled with crayons and construction paper that they can use whenever they please.
  • I keep lots of books in the schoolroom for them to quietly look at, and for us to read together when I have a few minutes of downtime from working with the other kids.
  • Every morning, when we come downstairs to begin school, the little ones get to pick one special toy to bring downstairs. (For the rest of the day, toys are only allowed upstairs.)
  • I keep a locked cabinet in the school room full of toddler friendly puzzles, games, and busy bags that I can easily grab when I need to.
  • And when all of the above fails, I don’t let myself feel guilty about turning on a kid friendly show in the next room! (Luckily, that hasn’t had to happen very often.)Directing little ones is a challenge in every homeschool, especially when they are energetic. But with thoughtful planning your days can go much smoother.

How will directing little ones help your homeschool days?

I hope you are getting lots of good ideas to help direct the liveliness of your youngsters. What are some new things you will do to help keep the peace in your house? Do you have anything to add that has worked well for your family?

Remember to keep lots of engaging things close by, be patient, and flexible. Then your little ones will enjoy school time, and best of all, so will you.

Blessings and love,
Tiffany
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How to Make Time for the Word When Your Life is Crazy Busy

Let a shift in perspective help you become unapologetic in prioritizing your time to put the reading of the Word above everything else in your life.

We recently moved across the country for my hubby’s job, something we’ve become rather accustomed to. Moving definitely has its challenges, but this time around I have been so grateful for the perspective shift that it brought with it.

How “busy”-ness slowly crept into our life

Our last season was really great for so many reasons. But it was also BUSY!

My husband was enrolled in school working on his Master’s Degree while working insane hours where we rarely saw him before 8pm. And that’s when he was actually home, and not out of town for work. We had 4 small kids, and also welcomed our 5th baby during that season. Two of our kids were school age, two younger. In addition to homeschooling the kids, I also started and operated a small business.

We served at our local church in the kids ministry every Sunday morning, at the info center on Sunday afternoons, Wednesday evenings with the youth, and in the kitchen on Thursday afternoons. Then there was our lifegroup which we led every Friday night in our home. Towards the end of that season we also took in a very sweet family who lost their home, and regularly babysat the youngest while her mommy was working. Add in a few kids activities every week and that made for a really exhausting schedule!

We didn’t set out to have so much on our plate, it just sort of happened. In hindsight, it was a season where we just didn’t know how to say “no”, even to the good things.Let a shift in perspective help you become unapologetic in prioritizing your time to put the reading of the Word above everything else in your life.

Getting a new perspective

By the time we moved, I was pregnant with #6 and knew it was time to slow down. As we geared up for a new season, I spent a lot of time in prayer, really asking God to help me prioritize my time. I realized that even though we were doing a lot of good things, we weren’t super effective at any of them because we were spread too thin.

Seeking God helped me to set the priorities for my new season. God first, homeschool second, good food third. And that was it! So, we moved and I started to focus on my three things and only these three things. I thought I would be missing something by focusing on so  little, but what I actually found was some long lost (and much needed) peace and contentment.Let a shift in perspective help you become unapologetic in prioritizing your time to put the reading of the Word above everything else in your life.

Being unapolagetically dedicated to the Word

Why is it that we can so easily shift our God time around to serve every one else’s schedules? I think its because we don’t always view God as being physically present, and we want to meet the needs and demands of everyone (or thing) calling for our physical attention. But you know what? God IS physically with us! Even more so than all of the other people and things in our lives. If we are spirit filled Christians then the Word says that His Spirit lives and moves and has his being in us. He’s ALWAYS there, PHYSICALLY. So, remind yourself of that!

Would you apologize for spending time playing with your kids? Or for spending a few hours watching a movie with your husband because he asked you to? Would you apologize for helping a stranger, or for grabbing coffee with a friend? Would you apologize for working hard to complete a project, or for making phone calls that move your business forward? NO! Of course you wouldn’t because its good to spend time with the things and people that are important to us. So don’t apologize for spending time in the Word, getting to know the best friend you’ll ever have. Instead, make it a priority, and protect that precious time, no matter what!Let a shift in perspective help you become unapologetic in prioritizing your time to put the reading of the Word above everything else in your life.

How I carve time for the Word out of my schedule

What I found out, is that you can’t “carve time out”, instead you make it the priority. I purposefully dedicate my evening time to reading God’s Word. That’s the time that works best for me, when I am focused, and can really commit to what I’m doing. I also use my early mornings before every one is up (or at least while they are still mostly quiet) to do a short devotional. These two times in my day have become non-negotiable. My family is not allowed to interrupt. It was a learning process for us all, but it has paid off. If you truly want to make time for something, you will make a way.

I had to re-shift my perspective so that reading the Word wasn’t something I “made time for” but instead, became the thing I lived for and shaped my life around. I don’t schedule things now that will interfere with this time. If my kids wake up early and want my attention, they have to wait. If my hubby gets home late and needs to talk, he has to wait. GOD COMES FIRST, and I am unapologetic in this priority now.Let a shift in perspective help you become unapologetic in prioritizing your time to put the reading of the Word above everything else in your life.

What time of day will you dedicate to the Word?

What do you need to move around in your schedule so that you can commit to a regular time to spend reading God’s Word? Can you move some things around, or do you need to eliminate something all together? Is it time to take a look at your priorities? Maybe its time to re-evaluate some things, so that you can give up what is good for what is BEST.

Blessings and love,
Tiffany
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