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In November, my daughter dropped her morning nap, which means she is now awake for the duration of our school time. Between that change and my utterly unrealistic expectations of homeschooling in December, we limped through the Christmas season. I knew something had to give in January.
I’ve started getting up around 6:15 or 6:30 so I can launch directly into school at 8:00. I know that sounds early, but if I allow my children to disperse after breakfast, corralling them back together again is a challenge.
At 8:00, everyone is seated at the table eating their breakfast. I prioritize eating my own breakfast before my kids are awake. While their mouths are occupied, I begin reading aloud the Bible, poetry, picture books, and a portion from a chapter book.
After they finish eating, I pass out coloring supplies to my almost 4 year old and my 19 month old. When that loses its luster, I start passing out snacks. Did we just eat? Yes. Do I care if it buys me a bit more time with my kindergartener? No. I have no shame.
We have an open concept layout in our main floor of the house. For math and phonics, I bring my kindergartener over to the couch. The younger kids are still within easy reach, but it gives him some space to focus on his tasks. He can handle doing handwriting with some background noise.
Eventually, the preschooler and toddler wander away from the table. This is when the true excitement begins.
The following is a list of what they should be doing:
Playing with toys
Rearranging the letter and number magnets on the refrigerator
Playing gently with each other
Now, they don’t always do something from that list, and I frequently have to stop what I’m doing and redirect them to a more appropriate activity.
There is no escaping the fact that there will be interruptions with littles ones underfoot. Instead of being frustrated, I strive to remember that the work I’m doing into teaching them how to behave is an investment in the future. I teach them that we need to be respectful of other people. Being respectful means sharing toys, not arguing, and being quiet when asked. It’s a work in progress.
It usually takes us about 1.5-2 hours to complete school. About 30 minutes of that is working with my preschooler on his tasks, and the rest is spent with my kindergartener. We could probably finish more quickly if we weren’t so often interrupted, but we rest in the knowledge that this is a season.
And besides, I wouldn’t want to miss the sweet moments in our day. My preschooler is trying to teach my toddler her colors. He’ll hold up an object, say what color it is, and then try to get his sister to repeat the name of the color. It’s adorable.
And whether the topic is colors, phonics, or patience, we are all learning together.