Written by Kris Bales of Weird, Unsocialized Homeschoolers.
Do you sometimes daydream about cloning yourself? There would be one you to clean the house, one to prepare meals, and one to school each child. Meanwhile, you – the original you – could relax on the couch reading a good book or playing Words with Friends.
While you might as well give up on having an army of clones to help you homeschool, there are some things you can do to give each of your kids one-on-one attention without cloning yourself.
Download some kid-friendly, educational apps on your phone or tablet. Give one child screentime while you work with the other.
Some great apps to try include:
- Stack the States
- Reading Eggs
- DragonBox math games
Give each of your children some audiobook time each day. It’s an excellent way for them to experience books that may be above their reading level while another child enjoys your undivided attention.
I used to love having a daily silent reading time as a family. We’d each choose our own books (including me!) and spend 15-20 minutes in a blissfully silent house reading.
The quiet time is fantastic, but you may need to trade it for one-on-one time with your children. If you do, consider creating a little reading nook in or near the room where you do school. That gives your reader space to concentrate while you work with a sibling without the temptations lurking in their bedroom. You know: toys and screens.
Stagger your kids’ online gaming time. You can use this as skill-building time for things like typing or coding, or let your kids enjoy some downtime playing Minecraft or Fortnite.
Try live or self-paced online courses. Khan Academy is a free option, but there are a wide variety of paid classes (both core subjects and electives) such as:
Teaching Textbooks saved my sanity. One kid could do math on the computer while I worked on reading with the other, then, they’d swap. Check out Switched on Schoolhouse for a full line of computer-based homeschool curriculum.
When my kids were little, I’d pull out some fun, educational DVDs when I needed quiet, focused time with my oldest. We loved Leap Frog’s Letter Factory.
These days, there are tons of free options on YouTube. I like Crash Course for older kids. They also have a version for younger kids called Crash Course Kids. History with LEGO is pretty awesome, too.
And, of course, you can always take advantage of subscriptions such as Netflix and Amazon Prime.
Have one or two subjects that each of your kids can work on independently. Usually, this involves workbooks (or online and computer-based lessons). We started with Explode the Code. Because each book was set up in a familiar pattern, my kids quickly learned to do them on their own, freeing me up to work one-on-one with whoever needed help.
A couple of my friends with five or more kids swear by workbooks for every kid in every subject. This approach allowed them to set up one-on-one time with each child throughout the day.
Puzzles provide fantastic practice on critical-thinking and spatial-reasoning skills. And they’re fun!
We used to like to leave a puzzle set up on a spare table so that each family member could work on it as they had time, but pulling out puzzles at specific times during the school day is a great way to squeeze in one-on-one time.
You may not be able to clone yourself, but implementing a few of these strategies can help you gain a bit of extra quiet and learning time in your days without going crazy.
What are some of your tried-and-true tips for getting one-on-one time with your kids during the school day?