One thing that most large families have in common is that there’s almost always a lot of littles in the house. For the sake of this post, “littles” in this post will be kids that aren’t homeschooling yet while “bigs” are kids who are homeschooling. Going into this school year we’ll have two “bigs” and two “littles” and one preschooler who fits into both categories. To survive the school year, I’ll be using these 5 tips to keep the littles busy while you homeschool the bigs.
5 Tips to Keep Littles Busy While You Homeschool Bigs
When you have littles it can seem impossible to keep them occupied for more than five minutes at a time, but I promise it’s possible to keep them busy! You can get through a whole day of homeschooling with these tips. Use the ones that work best for you, and keep the others in mind for a different season.
Make Them a Part of School
Whenever possible, you want to make your littles feel like they’re “doing school” just like their big siblings. Whether that means giving them a simple activity book to work on at the school table or having them listen during read aloud time, you’re bound to have a more peaceful homeschool day if you include your little ones.
Mr. C is a confident reader, so we’ll pair him up with Cap’n M or Miss S for some reading time often. We also have a bunch of independent activities (that we’ll talk more about later!) for the littles to do. This year we’re going to get Cap’n M a few cheap activity workbooks that he can color, and Miss S is plenty happy to just play with crayons!
Use Every Bit of Nap Time Possible
One of the best things about littles? They still nap! Use every possible second of nap time that you can to squeeze in homeschool lessons. When Sweet C is here, we’ll probably center our homeschool schedule around her nap schedule. It’s just a heck of a lot easier to teach when you know the babies are safely sleeping.
Miss S and Cap’n M also take a consistent nap after lunch, and we’re going to use that for more in-depth lessons and projects that require more attention.
Keep Independent Activities On Hand
Independent activities are a miracle in any large family homeschool. When you can set the kiddos up with something they can do without any input from you, you’re given a solid twenty minutes to focus on homeschooling your big kids!
We love having sensory bins ready, and all of my kids take turns using our I Can Pound! Kit and the Muscle Mover Cards. We set our kids up with coloring, sensory bottles, cutting activities, and more.
Divide and Conquer
This is a bit easier for us than most families because Chris also works from home, but we take advantage of any time we can divide and conquer. Maybe it means me keeping the littles entertained in the living room while he’s doing a science project with the bigs. Maybe he’s getting the babies down for a nap while I supervise reading time. Two parents is better than one! Now, if you don’t have a husband that works from home like I do, don’t fret! Chris only came home this year, so we had to make it work with him working incredibly long hours before. Back then we would save intensive projects for his days off or do some last minute lessons after dinner!
Now, if you don’t have a husband that works from home like I do, don’t fret! Chris only came home this year, so we had to make it work with him working incredibly long hours before. Back then we would save intensive projects for his days off or do some last minute lessons after dinner!
When Needed, Use Screentime
Say it with me, “screens will not kill my children”. Did you say it? I sure hope so, because I want every mama in the world to hear it. Should we prop our kiddos in front of a screen all day every day? Absolutely not. But if we let them watch an episode of Super Why or Little Einsteins every once in a while when we really need them distracted, they’re going to be just fine.
Do not feel guilty for using screen time in a pinch, or even as a normal part of your day. Maybe all the kids get an episode or two to give you time to make lunch. Maybe you have a little transitioning out of his daily nap and you replace it with one movie so that he’s still occupied enough for you to do lessons. No judgment here, Mama, and I hope you can be gentle with yourself!
With these tips, used in different seasons, you can definitely keep your littles busy while you homeschool your bigs. It isn’t always easy, and you’ll still end up doing the occasional lesson with the toddler on your hip, but hopefully, these tips will help your large family homeschool run a little bit smoother!
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