Toddlers, Teens, Tweens, OH MY!

By Christine Bullock

Sunday as we left church I noticed yellowed leaves on the ground and a different hue on some of the trees.  There was no way I could deny the advent of fall after that.  Falling leaves means it is time for us to shift gears into a more rigorous school schedule and this year is especially daunting.

For a season our family has expanded by two toddlers.  My precious niece and nephew are delightful, but, added to the already burgeoning schedules of our two teens and a tween, they have made the timing tricky.  As mom I know that I need to be creative and intentional in planning our homeschool year for success.  Lions, tigers and bears have nothing on what chaos can erupt without a workable schedule to help us stay on track. 

To prepare for the year I pulled out an old battered friend from the bookshelves for yet another round of planning.  I was introduced to Managers of Their Homes by Teri Maxwell many years ago when our college-aged son was only seven and we had a 4, 2, and medically fragile newborn.  Life was intense, and I couldn’t see how to get everything done and maintain my sanity.  MOTH helped me realize that I was attempting to cram 27 hours worth of work into a 24 hour period, hardly realistic even for the most adept multi-tasker.  No wonder I was exhausted!  Learning to prioritize, simplify and organize my day in ways that were functional yet flexible was a gift that kept on giving. 

With toddlers clamoring for my attention while I teach spelling and higher math, I’m returning to the great suggestions Teri offers moms of many to spur me on for this year.  I love her suggestion of using simple activity bags numbered with the days of the month that come out just during school hours.  Brilliant!   Assigning play time rotations gives students a break and little ones new faces to engage with.  Securing teen spotlight hours scheduled during naptime for mom’s undivided attention really helps in keeping us moving along in our subjects.

The blessing of a functional schedule is that everyone knows what they should do next.  No more guessing or trying to catch up after a morning is ruined by overflowing toilets or puking babies.  You just pick up where you are in the day, and know that there will be another chance tomorrow to get it right. Lastly, Teri reminds us that home education is cumulative.  The schedule doesn’t rule me, I’m in charge.  If it isn’t working I give myself the right to tweak and adjust as needed.  For those of you still looking at this fall with trepidation, take heart.  Make a schedule and plan in some fun free time to make the bliss of summer last long on into the year.

Posted by Christine Bullock on Sep 12, 2012 at 12:55 PM | Categories: Review - Encouragement - Beginning the year -



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I'd love to make activity bags for toddlers. What kinds of things do you put in them?

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The possibilities are endless.Shoe strings and colored pasta make great threading activities. Try a few homemade race car tracks on a cereal boxes cut into puzzle shapes that your toddler boy can put together and then drive his special car on. Take an old diaper wipe box and fill it with small items they can reach in and take out of the rubberized slot that releases wipes one at a time. Toddlers love to stack and knock down just about anything. Check out the blog next week for more ideas!
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