We have been homeschooling for over twelve years now and I have learned to utilize all of my learners. From tots to teens we all pitch in to make our homeschool days flow more cohesively. My second oldest is now almost 15. When he was younger, his job for 30 minutes a day was to play with his youngest brother. This allowed me to have time to work with my middle son, and then rotate another one to play with the toddler.
Earlier on, I did not have him just playing though. The play was orchestrated learning and neither one knew it. Combing play time with learning made homeschooler easier with four boys. In addition to this, I also used my teenager to help with math, science and other schoolwork if I was busy with one of his brothers’. For awhile, I had a good rotation system working.
Likewise, I had all of my children help me with other homeschooling activities, printing, organizing and planning. Homeschooling is more than me being their teacher. Homeschooling from tots to teens.
Siblings Can Help With Activities
Older siblings can prepare activities for younger siblings. Puzzles, games, flashcards, blocks or toys are all good engagement activities from tots to teens. Older children can teach, make a game with puzzle pieces or educate the tots with stories and conversation.
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. I try to have days’ organized or labeled but that doesn’t always work out. If we have a late activity night, then I would generally have them grab puzzles. Books are always a great resource for all kids tots to teens. Therefore, I keep full bookshelves in our basement close to the homeschool room.
Siblings Can Help Get Materials Prepared
Older siblings can help during homeschool by reading a list and putting materials together. My to do list is overwhelming on some days. If there is a way to delegate the kids to help they all join in from tots to teens. Organizing goes much quicker when tackle the list together. Writing instructions on the board goes to the helper with the neatest handwriting. Be careful though, when you assign one to make copies don’t walk away. I have found copies of hands and faces in my printables.
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 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:
How to play
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. For more tips on homeschooling, homemaking, frugal living and life on a suburban homestead sign up for my newsletter!