What to do with babies while homeschooling

With four kids who are school age and three littles who aren’t, one of the most frequent questions I get about homeschooling is “What do you do with the babies?”

My short answer? Have a plan. Everybody’s plan looks different, but in order to make it through the day, you need an easy routine that ensures all of the needs get met.

A few hints to help you plan:

1. Give your smallest children attention first.

I read this somewhere so I can’t claim credit for this thought, but it’s true. Of course, the baby’s needs have to be met before any of us can function in the morning. He makes sure of it.

But I also try and have a cuddle with my toddlers before school. Ten mintues to read a book makes them feel secure and attended to. This breeds contentment when I need to focus on their siblings.
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Lesson planning for Mac users

Written by contributor Lora Lynn Fanning of VitaFamiliae

As my children have grown, my needs in a homeschool planner have grown, too. Google Calendar is our family’s go-to for scheduling and I’ve used it successfully for several years for planning out our school work.

But when my boys were reading better and were beginning to work more independently, my needs changed a little.

  • I wanted to be able to print them an easy to understand assignment sheet.
  • I wanted to save the lessons plans I was creating and use them for future children.
  • I wanted something that was intended for homeschool plans, not something I adapted to “make it work.”

Because we are a family addicted to Apple and Mac products, my choices were limited.
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Using Pinterest for homeschool inspiration

Written by contributor Lora Lynn Fanning of Vitafamiliae

A note from Jamie: This post originally published on August 8, 2011. Pinterest has grown substantially since then, and has become a popular spot for keeping track of homeschool inspiration! You can find Lora Lynn’s boards here and follow mine here if you’re so inclined. Enjoy!

Pinterest is the latest darling of social websites. It allows you to “pin” or bookmark pictures and posts that inspire you. You can then organize them into categories, creating your own lovely online bulletin board.

For homeschool moms that crawl the internet looking for craft ideas or inspiration, it’s the perfect way to keep up with each new page without creating a million bookmarks in an already crowded folder.

You can create a board for art ideas, one for curriculum favorites, and another for schoolroom inspiration.

Pinterest boards

Once you’ve pinned an item, just click on it again to be taken to the website where it originated. (Important note: if you pin items from a website or blog, make sure you are pinning from the specific post and note the entire site. Otherwise, you may not be able to find the information you wanted to save.)

Pinterest is also searchable, which means if you are on the hunt for a specific thing, like valentine crafts, you can easily find a myriad of ideas to spark your own creativity.

With the new school year ahead, here are a few ideas gleaned from Pinterest that might help you decorate your school room:
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The challenges of being a work-at-home mom

Written by contributor Lora Lynn Fanning of Vitafamiliae

My in-laws are the best. Last week, they took my three young girls and left me with a baby and three school-age boys. Easy, peasey, lemon-squeezey. I made a lengthy list of all the things I was certain to accomplish after school without younguns underfoot. I assumed that with no little people, we’d fly through school in no time.

I was wrong.

I didn’t add anything to our schedule for the week and yet I would look up and the clock would say noon before I’d ticked anything off my “to-do” list. Toddlers didn’t appear to make any difference.

This revelation didn’t lead me to want to change our schooling. What we’re doing is working well and is just the right amount for my kids. And I don’t think my prep time is extraordinary. But what it did lead me to change was the way I viewed myself and our lifestyle.

Homeschooling is a full-time job.

As homeschool parents, we do the planning, we chauffeur the kids to co-op and outside lessons, we do the teaching, we do the record-keeping, grading, curriculum-buying, tutoring, testing, and, and, and… That’s a full-time job.
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What I learned from summer camp

Written by contributor Lora Lynn Fanning of Vitafamiliae

Our family has been in survival mode for a year. We managed to continue with schooling, but we didn’t get out much.

When we finally came up for air, my husband and I wanted to give our kids some bonus fun, a chance to get out of the house and be around other kids.

Fortunately, summer was on the horizon and there was a plethora of summer camp options to choose from.

Learning AND socialization? SIGN. US. UP. [Read more…]

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