Monday, January 16, 2017

More on Transitions with Multi-Age Children: FILL THEIR CUPS FIRST!

In my last homeschooling post I had an epiphany in which I decided that the answer to keeping my four year-old happy while homeschooling my kindergartner was to make sure that his "cup was filled" prior to homeschooling her. Was my epiphany correct? For now, I think that it was! I am not so naive as to believe that I have found the fix-all forever (I'm learning that homeschooling requires absolute flexibility and the willingness to evaluate every situation and change it if necessary) but for now, I believe that I have a handle on things. Phew.

One would think that after ten years of teaching up to thirty-four children in my classroom with no adult help would prepare me for keeping my two young children appropriately busy/content/productive during school time, but apparently not. Ugh.

On this particular day, I began by setting up our homeschooling materials. I set up Tiny B's kinder stuff (I am given her curriculum by her charter school) and I set up our Mother Goose Time (MGT) materials for the day. Tiny B always wants to do MGT with Strong B and Strong B sometimes wants to do Tiny B's kinder material with her. So I set up all of the materials for both while I had Strong B work on his MGT coloring pages for the book that I simply printed off of their website. This month's theme is baby animals. So stinking cute.

Then we played the MGT game for the day which was awesome because I was able to totally differentiate it for the kids. Strong B was focusing on learning beginning sounds and letters and Tiny B was actually reading the words. There was a lot of interaction and laughing and even a little bit of arguing. (Learning how to argue kindly is a skill!)

At this point I felt that Strong B's cup was almost full, so I was able to introduce him to his next activity that he could do independently while I worked with Tiny B on her kindergarten stuff. It was a Made to Create activity which involved making a log cabin from noodles. I had saved this lesson from last month because I knew that this was right up Strong B's alley as he just loooves to create and build. 

He worked on it for approximately fifteen minutes (I gave him extra pipe cleaners to use) and Jack the Standard Poodle worked on it as well. I was able to give Tiny B my full attention and when Strong B was done building his log house, he went back to coloring his MGT baby animals coloring book.

I truly felt that this was a successful day. My original plan of focusing on MGT with Strong B on the days while Tiny B is at kindergarten (she attends an actual school two full days per week) and focusing only on her while she is home and giving him interesting toys to play with during this time...simply did NOT work for him.

I need to fill his cup first. 

Then he is able to move on to playing on his own. He so desperately wants to learn and be like his big sister. Taking this away from him is doing a disservice. And she LOVES Mother Goose Time and is still so engaged by it and learns so much from it still, that only doing it with him while she is gone is a disservice to her.

I love home education for so many reasons, but one of the biggest is that I can fully focus on teaching them in the ways that truly work for them, and not only "work" for them, but help them to flourish. 

*I  receive Mother Goose Time curriculum in exchange for my honest sharing of experiences, resulting from our personal use. All opinions/thoughts are my own and are in no way influenced by others.


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