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A Heart For Home: Tri-Moms: Involving the Whole Family with Homeschooling

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Tri-Moms: Involving the Whole Family with Homeschooling

This week we're discussing how we involve the entire family in our homeschooling journeys. 

In our household there are two main homeschool "extras" who we try to involve.

The first is my husband, Tim. The second group of "extras" are our two youngest, Eliya (19 months) and Amelia (4 weeks).

Right now Tim is working nights. He leaves for work between 3:30 and 5:30 and returns home between 1 AM and 3 AM most mornings. (Typically he comes to bed another 30 minutes later after unwinding a little. Then he wonderfully takes over taking care of the older three kids, of which the younger two still wake up throughout the night for bathroom breaks or from teething pain.) Needless to say, around 7 AM, when we all get up, he is still very tired. So after a night of working we try to let Daddy sleep in. Tim usually wakes up on his own around 10 AM.

Since we start school a little after breakfast, Tim usually sleeps through our school day, but there are lots of other ways he is involved.

~ He's my best supporter. Tim fully supports our decision to homeschool. He loves that our children will be with us throughout the day. On days when I feel like they didn't learn a thing and my patience is at it's end he reminds me that letters and numbers aren't the most important things that I'm teaching. He helps me to focus on teaching their hearts and simply enjoying being together.

~ He's my most realistic sounding board. While other people might think ideas sound good, Tim understands our family the best and knows whether my sometimes unrealistic ideas will actually work. I love being able to bounce ideas off of Tim.

~ He encourages the kids by being excited about what they are learning. Tim loves seeing what the kids have learned and boy do they love showing him. Sometimes they just "can't wait" for Daddy to get up so they can show him their work from that day's lessons.

~ He is also a teacher. Even though Tim isn't awake when we "do school" we have to remember that all of life is schooling. Tim takes the kids outside to play and teaches them how to climb a tree, kick a soccer ball, grow sugar snap peas, build a "farm fence" out of twigs...all things that would not fit into our morning lessons. On rainy days or just plain lazy days, he breaks out a fun game and the kids learn more about taking turns, practice counting, and learn how to be a good winner and a good loser.

The other people we involve in our homeschooling on a consistent basis are our two youngest children, Eliya and Amelia. Eliya joins us for school time every day and Amelia joins us when she is awake (about half the time).

While Eliya definitely isn't ready to learn a lot of what I'm teaching to Emahry, Jonathan isn't technically ready either. So my goal for this year at least is to focus my teaching on Emahry while finding ways to incorporate the younger children in meaningful ways.

For Eliya this typically means that she is sitting with us and helping by passing out materials or practicing fine motor skills with some of our materials.

I also find tons of activities she loves by searching for tot school ideas. Some of my favorite places for inspiration are 1+1+1=1, Counting Coconuts and The Activity Mom. A lot of these activities are also great practice for Jonathan and with a little tweaking are fun for Emahry as well. (I've pinned lots of great Tot Activities and Fine Motor Skills Practice.)

We also try to involve everyone with art activities (many found at Pink & Green Mama). I've also found lots of art ideas on Pinterest.

As for the baby, she simply sits with us or watching from close by when she is awake. She's even been known to nurse straight through a lesson without a hitch.

As homeschoolers, we also have to remember that we have a lot more resources to draw from than we often remember. Everyone you know has some sort of skill and their abilities are most likely different from your own. So we try to take advantage of the ways that God has made us all unique in order to teach our children things that they may never be able to learn from us alone.

Just last week, Tim took the three older kids to visit his dad at work. Grandpa works at the airport and is in charge of all of the airplane mechanics, so the kids were able to see inside of an airplane. They even got to sit in the pilot's seat and "fly" the plane! The kids are also excited to visit my brother's new coffee shop when it opens in a few weeks. Emahry says see want to see how doughnuts are made, which is something I don't have time to do right now, so instead Uncle Nate will be showing her how he makes doughnuts in a real coffee shop kitchen. 
Who do you involve in your homeschooling? What are some things your children have learned from other people in their lives?
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Visit my fellow Tri-Moms, Kristin @ Bits and Pieces From My Life and Christy @ A Living Homeschool and read how they involve their whole family in the education process. 

Up next: October 4
  The joys and fears of our children growing older

Fall Schedule of Topics
October 18: Traveling with children
November 1: Thanksgiving crafts and recipes
November 15: Teaching the meaning of Thanksgiving

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