The First 5 Things I Learned as a Homeschool Mom


first five

Our preschool year started out a little bedraggled. 

I planned to start on Tuesday, September 3rd.  That did not happen. 

Revamp. We planned to start Tuesday, Sept. 10th.

Indeed we did (score one for mom)!

It was a disaster (score one for…not sure who earned that point? The devil?).

I arranged Max’s workbooks and he was ALL about it; however, dear Cal revolted and even though I had supplied him with his own coloring book and special crayons, he INSISTED on getting his hands on whatever Max had. Two minutes in and he was grabbing for Max’s crayons, trying to color his worksheets, and ultimately just sat right on top of Max’s book! Ultimately, I removed him from the situation (or I suppose I removed THE situation) and put him into his crib with a couple books and toys. At this point, however, he was in no mood to sit alone and play quietly because he was obviously removed from the fun. So, instead of completing all of sheets Max and I had planned, we simply finished the task at hand before rescuing Cal from his lonesome crib prison. DAY ONE ruffled my feathers! Regardless, I learned a few things:

1.)    SCHOOL WORK AT THE SCHOOL TABLE – We had a tent set up in the living room and Max wanted to listen to the reading and complete his work inside. I would be one hundred percent fine with changing up work spaces; however, we have to take everyone into account. Max working on the floor is too distracting and tempting for Cal. He can do other things, in other places as we figure this out, but for now these specific school books need to be done up high, at the table.

2.)    SITUATE THE SIBLING – Cal (at 19 months) needs to be already situated and entertained by something. Either I need to play with him and get him started, so he is totally distracted from what Max and I are working on (which is highly unlikely because Cal has two things on his radar 1.) whatever Max is doing and  2.) food :) Therefore, the option might be quiet time busy bins for Cal to play with in his crib; and to put him in there before anything gets started so he feels like THIS IS what we’re doing.

3.)    PICK ONE FOCUS – Everything is new. Schedule, use of space, the work itself, etc. I need to focus on ONE element each day and allow that to be the focus until we nail it. For example, right now, I am more focused on Morning Memory Verse Work and our Calendar Time, I suppose that is two things, but the point is, I want to make sure we’re consistently forming morning routines and completing each task we begin.

4.)    MY ‘GRACE PERIOD’ HAS NO TIMELINE – I’ve been a mom for three and a half years. I’ve been a mom to two kids for 19 months. I’ve never formally taught three year old preschool. And I’ve never taught three year old preschool with other ages in the mix. When you call the first day of preschool quits at 15 minutes, it is a little discouraging. However, I decided that this will be the first few weeks, months or year(s) of figuring out our time together and working through some of the most obvious kinks; making it is a lot easier to role with the punches (and extending the same grace to them)!

5.)    I CANNOT HOMESCHOOL WITHOUT GOD’S HELP! This may sound trite, but as children were bounding, rolling, crying, and generally trying to sabotage my romantic image of us learning together, the only thing holding me together was prayers for patience. There are one hundred reasons I want to intentionally teach and learn alongside my children, but they can be easily forgotten in the midst of chaotic moments. I cannot do this without the Lord’s help, as I realized with motherhood in general! I want to foster in them a heart of flesh, not lose my cool and squash their spirit.

After our first day on Tuesday, Max got really sick so we halted once more. Yesterday we jumped into what just might be our first “full” week (which means, memory verse work, calendar time, and tons of reading “every” day and our school books on Tuesday and Thursday mornings). Maybe I should get around to taking that “First Day of Preschool” Picture :)

What are your best tricks for occupying little ones?

Sharing this post with: The Better MomCornerstone ConfessionsTime-Warp WifeGrowing HomeRaising Arrows, Women Living WellA Wise Woman Builds Her HomeWalking RedeemedServing JoyfullyRaising Mighty Arrows, & Christian Mommy Blogger

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12 Responses to The First 5 Things I Learned as a Homeschool Mom
  1. Stacy
    September 19, 2013 | 1:39 am

    Remember that you are also training your youngest. What a great opportunity to hear God’s word and even memorize along with the oldest. Although you are best to know if this can happen. Another thing I’ve,earned along this road is that your expectations might be more than your boys can handle. If you have 10 minutes of school that is huge for little boys. My son is now 11 and this is our 5th year homeschooling (public school for two years). Several reasons that I think this year is good is that I have a veteran H.S. mom that has kids with master’s and phd’s encouraging and guiding me as to what is “enough”. I’ve learned what is enough as far as what I can do and how much I can push my son.

    God bless!

    • Becca V
      September 19, 2013 | 6:27 pm

      Absolutely, Stacy! It is so amazing to have a mentor mom a little further down the road to put expectations in perspective. I am thankful to have a local friend who can offer that same guidance, but as you point it out, I probably need to be more intentional about seeking it out! We do Bible Verses all together, so thankfully those will be washed over the little whether he knows it or not, and then I’ll just get him situated before we dive into the heavier stuff. Thanks for the insight and encouragement.

  2. Katy
    September 19, 2013 | 2:08 am

    This is my 6th year homeschooling, but my first year teaching more than 1 child. I just started my 4 and 5-year-old in kindergarten. I was so anxious about teaching and having adequate time and attention for all of them, but by far the biggest struggle has been keeping my 2-year-old entertained and contained while we’re doing school. She is into EVERYTHING!! Getting into the knife drawer, coloring on the walls and her sisters’ papers, playing in the dog food, you name it. I’ve finally figured out 2 things that seem to keep her occupied for any amount of time: sitting her in her bed with the iPad and a Netflix movie, or putting her in her highchair at the table with us (out of arms’ reach of everything!) with a snack or a coloring page. Sometimes you just have to do the best you can with what you’re given that day! Good luck mama!!

    • Becca V
      September 19, 2013 | 6:30 pm

      Haha, Katy! Yes, I’m not sure why it was shocking that Cal was such a distraction, probably because he is usually so taken care of and entertained…by Max! An excellent reminder – do the best I can on any given day!

  3. Angela
    September 27, 2013 | 3:02 am

    Oh, schooling with a toddler. I too have a 19 month old and she is BUSY. There are few things I can do that will distract her long enough for us to have a “peaceful” school day. We have really streamlined how much work we can get done during naptime though :)

    • Becca V
      September 27, 2013 | 3:34 am

      I have thought this so many times now! Max still naps most days; maybe that is why schooling should start after they outgrow naps :) seems like an appropriate time line for numerous reasons!

  4. alana
    September 27, 2013 | 10:47 am

    I have a two year old who also needs constant distraction from destroying her siblings school work or distracting them! Its hard! We started when she was 18 months and as the time has gone by it has gotten a lot easier. Now i just need to give her some toys, or a coloring sheet of her own and she will happily play for awhile…although I swear as soon as I say ‘school time’ she needs everything at once (attention, food, drinks, nappy change etc hehe) Those early days with a toddler are hard tho…hope you can find a way to distract him!

    • Becca V
      September 27, 2013 | 2:49 pm

      Thanks, Alana – so true, he was fine. fine. fine; school started and he’s crying and NEEDS to be held immediately! It is so strange :)

  5. Heidi Weaver
    October 1, 2013 | 2:16 am

    These insights are SOOO great and helpful! Thank you, I have started thinking about how to begin teaching my 3 1/2 year old with my 18 mo. old. And I think I’ve been hesitating with all the details teaching would mean – with coordinating around meals (my 18 mo. old is a messy eater, my 3 1/2 year old is slow…) and getting ready for the days activities and somewhere fitting in ‘class time’ amidst a pregnant and very tired mommy! Thank you for the tips and insights! They are very very helpful!

    • Becca V
      October 1, 2013 | 3:13 am

      Heidi, our kids eat exactly the same – messy and slow – respectively, haha! Congratulations on another one joining the fun; I’m glad you found these helpful. We are still trudging along finding the balance, which I suppose is the blessing of doing it at home together :)

  6. Ashley
    October 4, 2013 | 6:33 pm

    So good to see you pouring into your children this way! You are BRAVE! I don’t think I could even attempt home schooling for fear of failing! (or just never getting anything done). You go girl! What an inspiration to other moms doing the same, and to other moms contemplating! You are an amazing mother, those boys are so blessed. Keep up the great work!

    • Becca V
      October 5, 2013 | 9:50 pm

      Thank you, Ashley! There are days I doubt myself completely so I appreciate the encouragement; I am 100% inadequate, which my mother-in-law reminds me is a good thing because I need to rely entirely on the Lord because I am totally going to screw this up on my own, haha!