Helpful Homeschool Habits for Multiple Ages

Welcome back to 10 Days of Lasagna Learning: Teaching Multiple Ages.

For over a dozen years we’ve turned to our habits as the ‘bones’ of our day. Our habits help us accomplish a basic school day and get food on the table. We leaned on one or two more heavily when all were age 10 and under. We’ve tweaked habits to meet our needs with growing children. For me, over the years with babies, toddlers, stacks of school books, hungry mouths and now towering teens, these are the basic routes I’ve discovered for seeing results.

For example, yes, I love our curriculum but how do I work that wonderful resource work our day? We can usually handle the basic reading, writing and arithmetic. But what about brushing teeth? What about the roaming toddler? How do we fit in science and history? 10 Days of Lasagna Learning will answer these questions as well.

These Things Must Be Done Before School – Before 8:45 Checklist

But you might be wondering how we get going in the mornings, what a typical day looks like in our homeschool. Little ones, middle ones and older ones. First off, we start with our Before 8:45. This handy checklist is now such a habit we don’t even look at it posted on our chalkboard. I discovered this guideline from HSLDA and Everyday Homemaking‘s Vicki Bentley. Bible and morning quiet time are included. As well as all the regular sorts of reminders like brushing teeth, making your bed, clearing your spot at the breakfast table and even getting dressed. Rest assured there are those days it is more like a Before 9:45.

What About the Little Ones?

One of the most asked questions I get is What About the Little Ones? Well, more these days the little ones are right there, part of the action. Sometimes leading us in learning (as you’ll see in our Lasagna Math).

I start teaching time with the little ones. Special math, phonics and a little fun Rod and Staff workbook time. The younger two use workboxes to help them visualize their learning time. We can move the workboxes from the school room shelf to wherever is best that day. Most often the kitchen table so I can finish my morning routine. But sometimes we find ourselves at the school room table or even outside on the patio on a nice day.

Morning Room Time

Next, we practice something I’ve written extensively about: Morning Room Time. This is when the two younger ones spent half an hour to 45 minutes of alone, play time while listening to a recording of mine and Hodgepodgedad’s voices. We share Bible verses, the ABCs, sing some hymns, practice learning our address and more. All of this is mixed up with fun Veggie Tale and Bible songs some hymns and some Laurie Berkner.

Morning Room Time is the habit that blesses all ages. It’s how I can be in two places at once! Both helping our littlest ones and helping the older ones with math or some other subject. Plus, little ones learn how to play quietly, by themselves for a short span of time. This is an important skill. Having some quiet, alone time allows your little one the opportunity to work on small motor skills, build attention span and learn the contentment of playing alone. Do you see how this is a gift in a busy household? As my children have grown, I see so many other skills they have that stem from the morning room time habit.

More how-tos of morning room time:

Now, lately, our youngest hasn’t been participating in morning room time as much. That’s because he wants to be around the learning and doing some ‘school’ himself. He is ready! But the blessing in it all is this: Because he is practiced in quietly playing by himself in morning room time, he now will quietly play nearby. Because we built the habit of just about half an hour of alone time in the middle of the morning, he can hop down from learning something, build a block tower all on his own and entertain himself while we accomplish one or more subjects.

Meanwhile, the older children are starting their basics: math, English, spelling, handwriting. I am able to help the older three get started, help with questions and more. All because of morning room time.

Tomorrow I’ll share more of the habits that bless our homeschool day. The lasagna learning that helps me teach the basic subjects to multiple ages. Our habits also speak to learning styles, as you’ll see later in this series.

More on Helpful Habits:

Topics in this series:

Help! I'm Homeschooling ebook by Tricia Hodges www.southernhodgepodge.com

 Help! I’m Homeschooling! Helpful Habits for the Heart of Homeschooling. All the best of the helpful homeschool habits here at Hodgepodge – compiled in one spot.

**Remember to subscribe to Hodgepodge, so you won’t miss any lasagna learning! You can have free Hodgepodge delivered to your email inbox by entering your email address in the top right hand corner.

The 10 Days Series is organized by iHomeschool Network, a collaboration of outstanding homeschool bloggers who connect with each other and with family-friendly companies in mutually beneficial projects. Visit us on Facebook, Pinterest, and Twitter. And of course, click the image below to visit all the 10 Days posts from these homeschool moms of the iHomeschool Network. You’ll be blessed with tips on how to handle bad days, cultivating curiosity, teaching with Legos, and much much more!

What habits help your homeschool day?

About Hodgepodgemom

Tricia faces a daily dose of chaos homeschooling five children – preschoolers to high schoolers. The biggest lesson she’s learned? At the end of the day – when the dishes are put away and the children are tucked in bed – truly what matters is each child’s relationship with the Lord. Raising children is a God-given privilege and, folks, the time is short.

Comments

  1. Tricia, I have been a little lacking in getting our older children out of bed. Dad’s late nights at work…have lead me to allowing them to stay up later, but that means a later start during the day…which has caused some not so peaceful and ‘rushed’ mornings….. I like your ideas and need to make some changes…that work for us! Thank you!

    • Rebecca – I’m so glad you’ve found something helpful. And I think what you have said is key, “…make some changes…that work for us!” Each of the habits that help us can be adapted to work in your family. Maybe not in exactly the way we use them but in another way to benefit a school day. The Lord made each family – and their needs – unique.

  2. Thank you for sharing this! I have, finally this year, just discovered some of these things that you mentioned and they are helping tremendously.
    I changed our “style” of homeschooling this year -so glad, love it! But I still need to do some tweaking with our routines until we have a better ratio of success in our day ;) I still feel like we often only get one or the other done in a day – school or household life.
    I am looking forward to poking around your site and following the links you mentioned in this article to learn more.

  3. Great ideas Tricia! I especially like the “things that need to get done before 8:45″ list. We used to have something like that but it has gone by the wayside. I need to implement it again!
    Maureen recently posted..Observing Worms with PreschoolersMy Profile

  4. I grew up in a large homeschooling family and now that I’m homeschooling my children I’ve learned that little tips and tricks work. I have found this post to be inspiring. I’ve got an 11-month-old who will before long be eliminating her 2nd nap. YIKES! I’ve been a little worried what that will do to our homeschool day, especially when I need to focus my attention to my older 2 children. I’m going to pin this post so I can use it later. Thanks for your post.

    • Ruthie, nice to meet a homeschool grad!! Yes, these little tips and tricks do help a homeschool day tremendously. Remember, each of these we added over the course of months. I suggest you pick one habit and gently fold it into your day. Working on it in short increments (I talk about this in each of the posts I link to). Also, later in the week I’ll be talking about Afternoon Quiet Time. That is what we implemented when toddlers started dropping naps. Because we all need just a little bit of quiet time each day (Mama included!) Here is a link to the first in that series that might help you: http://habitsforahappyhome.wordpress.com/2009/11/03/shhh-its-quiet-time/

  5. Thank you for sharing your super “juggling” abilities! We have spent the last 2 years at Classical Cooperative Tues-Thurs. each week. We will be returning home again, full time this summer and for next year (a homeschool family that may actually stay home again, weird), for many different reasons. Your insight is helpful as we prepare to return full-circle to where we began. I am looking forward to reading more in this series. God bless.

    • Oh! Being home all day is a huge blessing!! There are days for getting out and about. And, like you I’m sure, I try to group all the outside of the house activities together. And, your point of summer time – that is a perfect time to work on adding habits to the day. You don’t have the added ‘need to’ of the homeschool day and can just work on these basic habits. Thanks for stopping by Heather.

  6. Oh, my! This post is RICH! Going to be spending some time here :0) thank you for sharing.

  7. Good tips for those of us educating smaller families, too! I have to admit: I’ve fallen short in habit training (and also nature study, but that’s another story). Habits that were once in place have slowly fallen to the wayside, and I need to reinforce them yet again. I’m going to research your links, that’s for certain!

  8. Fantastic post! Love all of your ideas and especially the assertion that habits are the “bones” of our days. So true!!

  9. So many great ideas here, Tricia…. thank you (again!).

  10. I have to know where you bought your chair or fabric on your chair in the photo above. The blue and white with the teapots and teacups. I love the print! Thank you!! P.S. Love your blog!

Speak Your Mind

*

CommentLuv badge