Homeschooling households with multiple ages, especially young ages, inevitably arrive at one point in their journey and ask, "How in the world do I school my young ones informally without them disturbing the older formally schooled child?"
In this post, I hope to give you some insight as to how you can tackle that question and set yourself up for success!
Firstly, let me say that a younger student can actually enhance your classroom. The secret is to plan and have subjects ready to go when the younger classmate wants to join in.
We currently have a 6yr old (Yr 1), 4yr old (PreK 4), and a 23 month old. This post will be targeting the middle little who in a public school setting would be considered going into a Pre-Kinder 4 classroom. However in a Charlotte Mason approach he would be informally educated, predominantly child-led in his activities with lots of outdoor time and a heavy dose of habit training.
Our middle little, Mateo, was schooled previously in a Montessori School and is eager to join his sister in his schooling. So I've mirrored Chiara's Yr1 Ambleside Online / Mater Amabilis schedule and then opened it up quite a bit so that he can elect to sit some of the subjects out. Let me break it down for you:
Year 0 - PreK 4 Schedule
Subjects I invite my preschooler to join in with, but don't require him to:
What should I require my Preschooler or Yr 0 Student to do?
Traditionally the Charlotte Mason philosophy of home education doesn’t recommend that children under 6-7yrs old begin formal schoolwork. In our home, I have found that things run much more smoothly if I'm prepared to offer my preschooler "work" should he be inspired to do school that day. Here are some items you'll want to be sure to require of him or her during their "school" day:
There really are so many things preschoolers can do during the day that lay out a feast of good ideas for them to wrestle with during the day without having to rely on anything formal.
However, I personally get overwhelmed if he wants to jump in and do "school" and I'm not ready for him. That's why I created his own My Homeschool Checklist. I found that if I go through each of the subjects that I'm doing with my YR 1 student and translate what my Preschooler or YR 0 can do, then I won't be an overwhelmed mess trying to scrape something together for him last minute.
Preparing the Checklist
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Here's a play by play of what we're planning for our Yr0 (Pre-K 4 to be specific) this year. Again, please keep in mind, that I use this very loosely and only invite him to do everything we're doing for school, but don't require him to do anything formally. (Each highlighted book will take you to the exact book we use in our homeschool.)
Poetry: Favorite Nursery Rhymes by Mother Goose
Math: The Good and The Beautiful Math K, Life of Fred Apples
Copywork: Explode the Code, The Good and The Beautiful Pre-Writing Workbook: Doodles
Reading: The Good and The Beautiful Pre-K Language Arts, Teach Your Child to Read in 100 Easy Lessons, Montessori: Letter Work, Sand Paper Tactile Letters
Spanish: Speaking Spanish with Miss Mason & Francois, Spanish Flashcards
Physical Education: Calisthenics in the morning before breakfast, Martial Arts on some afternoons
Art: Creative Bug by Joanne Fabrics, Youtube Channels like Kids Art Hub, Crafts for Kids
Handcrafts: Wild & Free Handcrafts, The Useful Knots Book
Hymns / Folksongs Study: We're following the schedule for Hymns and Folksongs from the Ambleside Online Website
Artist / Composer Study: We're following the rotation schedule for Artist Study and Composer Study from the Ambleside Online Website.
Nature Study: Exploring Nature with Children, Handbook of Nature Study, Nature Anatomy
Here's a video that shows you how we organize all of the above. Hope it inspires and helps you as you prepare to homeschool your preschooler!
As promised here's a free printable of our My Homeschool Checklist. Within, you'll find two versions, one that has been filled out a bit with suggestions and another that is ready for you to fill out and add to your planner binder.
I hope this helps you and your family feel empowered to get your preschoolers learning and you, dear mama, feeling good that you have a plan to back you up during the day. Please leave me any comments below if you have any questions. I'd love to see a screenshot of how you're putting this into practice in your own homeschool.
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See ya soon!
Mom of three beautiful kids, married to my best friend, finding daily ways to bring joy!