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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Make mealtimes easier with freezer cooking

Written by contributor Jessica Fisher of Life as Mom and Good Cheap Eats

One of the unique, albeit obvious, characteristics of homeschooling is that it takes place at home. Oh sure, there are co-ops and field trips and class days and carschooling, but often our educational style is home-based. Homebody that I am, I love that!

As such, there are distractions present that might not occur in a traditional classroom setting: barking dogs, poopy diapers, and ringing doorbells, to name a few. How often have my children rushed to the front door from all corners of the house to greet the delivery man?! You would think it was Santa Claus, but no, it’s just a guy bringing a replacement refrigerator part.

I, like my children, am prone to distraction, making teaching at home challenging amid the laundry and the cleaning that could be done.

And the cooking? Don’t even get me started. I begin to make lunch but remember that I have all these apples to deal with. Before I know it, I’m knee deep in pies and applesauce and apple butter. It’s like giving a mouse a cookie.

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4 Ways to Simplify (Home) School Meals

Written by contributor Jessica Fisher of Life as Mom and Good Cheap Eats

Over the last six weeks, I’ve been reevaluating our homeschool. At the turn of the year, I found myself more than ready for a do over. So, I set my sights on an extreme homeschool makeover.

We’ve made some great progress. It took a little while to iron out the wrinkles and get my bearings. I purchased some new curriculum, spent every waking moment for a month reading about homeschooling, and generally put family stuff as top priority. You should have seen my inbox! I ignored everything until I knew we were on a better track.

(And it felt really good to make sure that my day job got the best of me.)

One of the best things I’ve figured out was that I’m not very good at multi-tasking during the school day. If I try to do anything else, I’m liable to get distracted (at best) or completely derailed (at worst). So I developed a time budget for our school days that is really helping me feel a little more on top of my game.

A little.

I’ve got a set block of time in each day devoted to each child. It’s a wonderful time for me to reconnect with each of these sweet people without distractions. And the days are flowing so much more smoothly! Everyone is productive and feeling good about their accomplishments.

One of the things that seems to come up every single day, however, the one thing that has the potential to derail our days is, well, that thing about eating. Ya just gotta eat, dontcha?
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Teaching Young Kids to Clean

Teaching young kids to clean
Written by Jamie Martin, editor of Simple Homeschool and founder of Steady Mom

A few weeks ago I confessed that the once-a-month cleaning system I had used for a while was no longer working for me. I mentioned that I wanted to find and implement a method that would allow my children (ages six, seven, & eight) to help with more in-depth chores.

Before I share the exact how-to’s of our new system, let’s discuss some good criteria for developing a plan to get your young kids involved in home care.

I wanted the cleaning strategy I came up with to adhere to the following four ideas.
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How to Feed The Kids (and Still Have A Life)

Contributor Amida writes for Journey Into Unschooling.

One of my biggest challenges when it comes to homeschooling is not the schooling itself but the fact that we are always home — and hungry.  Because we are home the majority of the day, mealtime — and hence meal prep — takes up a huge amount of time for me.

Being the sole cook in the house, some days it feels as if I am a permanent fixture in the kitchen, making breakfast, cleaning up, prepping for lunch, and brainstorming for dinner. By the middle  of the week, I am usually clear out of ideas or tired of cooking. On the days the children have multiple classes outside the house, it becomes even more challenging as I figure out how to feed them quickly and healthily.

It would be awesome if the children could cook for themselves, but that is just not always practical, especially for the younger crowd who still require supervision and a parent helper. To help move things along, there are a few short cuts and techniques that I’ve found helpful in the daily struggle to feed everyone (and still have time left over for life outside the kitchen!).

In the same boat and need ideas to get you started? Read on!
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