Some homeschool questions get asked of me… a lot. Over and over again… And I normally respond with a Se7en Questions about Homeschooling post… But I think some questions get asked so often that they deserve their own space. Probably my most frequently asked question and the thing most people take a trip to our “contact page” for is to ask:
How do I keep my little people busy, while the big one’s do school?
I have answered this question before, a while back and to be honest nothing has changed!!! If I had to answer in a sentence I would say: I am the mother person and not the entertainment… but I should probably elaborate and say:
Our schedule is pretty accommodating as soon as everyone is awake and we have had breakfast we get on with the book work part of school as quickly as we can… During that time my little ones are free spirits to roam and play as they please. They don’t have special packets of educational activities, they don’t have boxes just for school time, they don’t watch cartoons on tv or do any specific educational activities… They play, because that is the job of little people… to play and play and play… If our school were of the “school at home” type it would be tricky, with me trying to spread my attention thinly across everyone at once. But I think over time home schools tend to follow the rhythm of their home and we have times of day that are more intensely school interspersed with times when my scholars might be busy but I am not!!! And as my older kids get busy so I get to spend time reading stories and hanging out with the little ones and then the balance changes again…
I don’t feel bad that my kids don’t spend every moment being either educated or under my focused attention – because frankly I think any playing that they do is far more educational for their whole little being than anything I could conjure up!!! If we want our children to grow up to be wonderfully creative beings and the problem solvers of tomorrow then they will need lots of time playing and inventing and creating… and problem solving!!!
So what do they do… nothing that involves my undivided attention – so no baking, limited concoctions in the bathroom sink, and no dancing on computer keyboards – as far as I know!!! They usually have a theme going and play it through from start to finish – so for a week they will read books behind the couch and the next week they will make houses under the table… I think it isn’t so important that I have activities planned but that I have resources hanging about for them… the crayons and paper are available for arting, the cushions and blankets are available for making houses, the books are stacked and inviting – ready to read…
Let’s Meet The Players:
Let’s Play The Game:
- They dance:
- They read:
- They paint:
- They nap:
- They make music:
- They take trips in baskets, to the land of books:
- They take snacks:
And enough of the unpacking already!!! Though as you can see his unpacking is pretty localized and takes literally two seconds to return to it’s natural place!!!
To me it just looks like a regular day of living and playing. To them it defines their childhood… Because of that “school time” needs to be a happy time, a fun time and I think a time driven by them while they can still enjoy care free days without schedules and plotting and planning… I am there if they need me and they often do but I am also busy doing other things so the decisions to do what they do is pretty much theirs. They have lots of days full of surprises and spontaneity and that’s just how I think it should be!!!