5 Simple Solutions for Homeschooling Big Kids with Little Ones Underfoot

Homeschooling with little ones underfoot is challenging but not impossible. Here are five simple solutions to help you homeschool your big kids while loving on your little ones.

5 Simple Solutions for Homeschooling Big Kids with Little Ones Underfoot

Solution #1: Creating an Efficient Space for Homeschooling

A little story…

When I first started homeschooling in 2004, I had a 1st grader and a newborn. Two years later, I had a 3rd grader, a toddler and a newborn. It became increasingly difficult for me to teach my oldest child while keeping the toddler and baby from getting into our school supplies. I kept telling my husband that homeschooling would be so much easier if I had a separate room to homeschool in.

Within a year or so, we were in a home that had an office. I had scored myself a classroom and got busy setting it all up! It only took a few minutes on that first day back to school to realize that the classroom didn’t solve my problem. I now had a preschooler, a toddler and a baby to juggle while homeschooling my oldest. And all three of the little ones spent the first few minutes pulling books off the shelves, throwing around school supplies and whining about being bored in the classroom.

I wanted to cry…or scream…or just give up! I couldn’t send my little ones into the main living area where all their toys were because I wouldn’t be able to see them. Seriously! How was I suppose to get any homeschooling done with little ones underfoot?

The answer to my problem had nothing to do with having a classroom or not. It had everything to do with creating a safe space for my little ones close to our homeschooling area.

Creating a Safe Space for the Little Ones

As a homeschool mom, you have many hats to wear. During school time, you have to be both teacher and mom. While you educate your big kids you still need to care for your little ones. Since you can’t be two places at one time, you need to create two spaces in one area.

If you have a designated classroom, find an area that you can block off for the little ones to play. It doesn’t have to be a large area, just a safe space with fun toys and activities to keep them occupied.

An even better option might be moving your homeschooling space to where your little ones like to play. Do your kids spend a lot of time playing with toys in a living area off of the kitchen? Your older kids can do their school work at the kitchen table while the younger ones play close by. That makes it easier for you to help your big kids and care for your little ones at the same time.

Yes, it might be ideal to have a giant classroom right off of a large playroom but I’m guessing that floor plan doesn’t exist anywhere. Don’t get consumed with the home you don’t have and totally miss the possibilities available to you in the space you do have.

Look around your home, think outside the box and see what kind of space you can create for your little ones close to where you homeschool your big kids.

Solution #2: Special School-Time Toys and Supplies

Young children have short attention spans. They also get bored with toys and activities that are readily available to them. This means that you need an arsenal of special school-time toys and supplies at your disposal.

You don’t have to purchase brand new toys. Instead, sort through what you do have and pull some toys aside to keep in a tub or on a shelf just for school time. The biggest challenge is going to be saying “no” when your little one wants to play with a favorite toy outside of school hours. If you are consistent, though, your child will quickly learn what toys are only to be used during school time.

Sometimes one or two new toys can add some variety to your child’s day. Here is a list of educational toys for toddlers and preschoolers. I’d love to hear what toys your child enjoys playing with as well. Let me know in the comments.

Your child will enjoy having some of his or her own school supplies as well. At the start of each school year, I like to purchase new school supplies for my big and little kids. I have a basket of supplies for my little ones that only comes out during school time. It includes workbooks, stickers, markers, crayons, do-a-dot art paint sticks and a glue stick.

Gather up some school-time toys and supplies and see if the school day goes a little smoother.

Solution #3: Invest in the Little Ones First

My #1 tip for homeschooling big kids with little ones underfoot is to spend time with your little one first. Before you begin your school lessons with your older kids, take 10 to 15 minutes to invest in your toddler or preschooler.

Read a book, do a puzzle, build a tower or color a picture together. Find activities that your little one enjoys doing with you and then spend a few minutes each morning letting your youngest child know that you value time with them.

Spending time with your little one first will not only benefit your homeschool but your relationship with your child as well.

I believe this one tip is so important that I shared about it in more detail in this video.

Solution #4: Establish a Routine

Little ones thrive on routine. Knowing what to expect and what is expected of them provides a sense of security and stability. When toddlers and preschoolers are unsure of what is coming next, they often act out in fear and frustration.

Establishing a daily routine can be a powerful asset to your homeschool days. A well-thought-out routine can minimize chaos and keep things running even when you have to step away.

A routine is a sequence of events that are regularly followed. You don’t have to attach a time to each event. Rather, order your homeschool days in a way that works for your family and then try to stick to it as much as possible.

It takes a little getting use to and often needs a few adjustments as you and your kids find a good rhythm for your homeschool days. However, once everyone is use to the routine, your homeschool days should go a little smoother.

You can read more about my simple homeschool day schedules and routines in this blog post.

Solution #5: Pray for Patience and Compassion

Homeschooling big kids with little ones underfoot calls for patience and compassion but these aren’t usually the first things that well up in us when young ones throw our homeschool days off course.

That’s why it is important to take time to pray for each and every homeschool day. We need patience and compassion that only the Lord can supply.

I’ve often heard people say that the Lord won’t give you what you cannot handle but I’d disagree. I think the Lord gives us what we can’t handle so that we will be reminded of how needy we really are and how sufficient He is.

However, He doesn’t leave us to flounder through our homeschool days. He comes alongside and empowers us to do, through Him, what only He can do. He gets the glory and we get the blessing of seeing Him work.

Homeschooling with little ones underfoot can be challenging but it is also a blessing. As each new struggle arises, we are given the opportunity to demonstrate the work of the Holy Spirit in our lives as we extend patience and compassion that only the Lord can supply.

May the Lord fill you with the fruit of His Spirit as you homeschool your big kids and love on your little ones.

A Few More Resources

I also wanted to share a few more resources to assist you as you homeschool with little ones underfoot. Check out these links to blog posts I’ve written on this topic.

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