In our homeschool, I am utilizing the ages of my middle two sons. My oldest who is 19 currently goes to college and his time is limited. That bumps my second and third sons into my new helper position.
When my hands need to be helping my first grader, the fourth grader can help the preschooler with his less detailed activities.
Siblings Can Help With Activities
Older siblings can prepare activities for younger siblings.
We are currently using the “A Year of Playing Skillfully” by the Homegrown preschooler. I cannot recommend this program enough. The preschool setup is easy for my fourth grader to put together. My part is to have the supplies in his workbox labeled “Monday” or whatever day of the week we are on.
All of them are my children, so they are “helping”, not doing the actual teaching or care for their siblings.
The old saying “many hands make light work” is very true.
Siblings Can Help Get Materials Prepared
Older siblings can help during homeschool by reading a list and putting materials together.
My biggest problem is organizing the homeschool materials. I prepare the lesson, teach the lesson and then grade. Organizing prior to the day always falls short.
Perfection is not what I am looking for, but I try to hit some kind of organization in our homeschool.
Readers can help by putting together a supply list, and non readers can help by assembling schoolwork or manipulatives into workboxes for everyone. Color labels work well for non readers to distinguish which child’s workbox they are organizing.
Here is one way that I get materials prepared:
Older Siblings Can Help With Puzzles or Flashcards or Games
Younger siblings love to have the attention of older ones, utilize it with flashcards games, Math games for preschoolers, puzzles, or pictures of shapes.
In our homeschool, I have two work on an abacus and addition flashcards. Easy ones. It teaches them to work together. Not long periods of time, usually only 3-5 minutes.
Example that we used in our home because kids can make a game out of anything was hide and seek. My preschooler was working on learning the number 7. Counting and identifying, before and after numbers. I gave a set of number cards to my first grader and told him to play hide and seek to teach his younger brother the concepts.
They had a lot of fun with this and some learning.
Here is a few ideas of how I do fun learning:
Older Siblings Can Read to Younger Siblings
This is my favorite part because my fourth grader reads to my preschooler and first grader. It keeps them busy and out of mischief while I am cooking or cleaning. Setting aside 3-4 easy books for the older child to read will develop a bond of trust, respect and help with reading skills.
I also have a separate time each day that I take about 10-15 minutes to read one book and discuss it with each one.
We read a lot in the winter. Here is some ideas for surviving the doldrums of winter:
Older siblings can get snacks or drinks for younger siblings
Now that they are older and can reach the cabinets, I don’t always have to stop school to get a snack or drink for them. I created snack jars in the basement, and they run over and get whatever they want. For drinks, an older sibling can grab one out of the fridge.
It helps a lot to limit interruptions and distractions if I am teaching.
Many families have their own ways that older help with younger children and it really depends on what is needed to keep the homeschool scheduled time in place with as few of distractions as possible.
Trying to get all of the work in that is necessary to progress through particular curriculums is challenging with multiple ages. Challenging, but doable.
Please leave anything new to add to the list in the comments if your family has an older sibling help with something different.
“Do not keep children to their studies by compulsion but by play.” – Plato