Welcome to our practical Saturday post for large family living!
This is when and where we share some practical things
that have helped us along the way of raising our large family.
These are things I wish I would have known when we were struggling to adjust to a larger family,
or at about child #5.
Today I want to answer some questions from families new to homeschooling,
not that we have all the answers,
but we have been schooling for 13 years,
and therefore have had to work though some of the regular challenges that come up.
Q: What do you do when you get up late?
A: This happens frequently at this time in my life. (smile)
I am not a morning person, and when I do not feel good, I am extra slow.
From the time the children were all small, they would get up and play or read, even if mama was not up. Often this happens on my bed or in my room, especially with the small ones.
The way I deal with slow mornings, morning sickness, interruptions, or whatever the circumstance,
is to just go about the morning as if time did not matter.
If breakfast is at 10 am, then chores and Proverbs is next,
and we do the next thing until school is done, even if it isn’t until late afternoon.
I like to begin school between 8 am and 9 am, this has always worked best for us,
but sometimes you just need to be flexible.
I have learned over the years to persist on, instead of giving up school for the day,
since schooling is a priority.
Q: What do you do when you are too sick to function as a teacher?
A: Besides taking the day off, which I do not like to do,
other options are to dig out a video and watch it, then have the children write
(or draw if they are too little to write) about it.
I have had the children write letters and draw pictures to grandparents
on days when I was too ill for school.
Often, you CAN get something educational done, even from your bed.
Once I had the influenza and was so miserable I just wanted to sit in the bathtub.
The children were small, the oldest about 6. I put on some light weight clothes, ran a hot bath,
had the children gather some toys and coloring,
I nabbed a “Little House on the Prairie” book, and we all headed into the bathroom,
where I soaked in the hot tub and the children made nests in the floor and colored and played
while I read to them for hours.
As I kept reheating the bath water, I kept reading aloud, and mercifully, we got through the day.
Other ideas: A quiet basket comes in handy for days of illness for mama.
One could also call a friend and ask them to bring over some educational videos while mama is sick.
Now that I have older children, they are capable of running school in my absence, ah but that is nice!
After having had a baby, my husband runs school for the first week.
Q: What age do you begin schooling? My 4 yr. old is just not ready to sit for long and do preschool work.
A: All the children sit at the table first thing, regardless of age.
The little ones can sit in my lap or color, the three, fours and fives color and write letters for a little while, listening to our Proverbs.
When they are ready to get down and play, that is fine, as long as they are not too distracting.
At about 6 I get a bit more serious and begin phonics along with writing letters and words.
After a few months of this, I add math.
I really like the Rod and Staff preschool curriculum packet, which is suitable for most 5 and 6 year olds.
Some of our children just were not developed enough to read until they were 8,
that is fine, we read aloud a lot and did other activities that were more hands on.
Boys seem to be particularly less ready to read at the younger ages.
I understand that usually, a child catches up by the time they are 9 or 10,
regardless of whether they started school at 4 or 8.
Earlier is not usually the better choice.
Look at the attention span and interest of each child individually.
Resist peer pressure to have your 4 yr old reading.
When we had a child who was slow to read, we dropped out of all church programs,
because it drew attention to the non-reader in the class.
That child caught up and eventually excelled, it just took longer to get going.
Once you do begin schooling a child, consistency is vital.
It has never worked for us to be hit and miss with a first year student.
I hope that was helpful to someone out there.
I am not an authority on homeschooling,
just an experienced mama who desires to help others along if at all possible.
May God bless you as you train up your children!