Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Tips for Homeschooling with an Infant

Our third child was born on August 17th by the grace of God. Luckily, I had begun our homeschooling year in the summer to ensure that I would have organized a schedule and activities so that we could just continue after taking maternity break. This plan worked out extremely well. After I had the baby I was able to take ample time off from schooling and once I was able and ready we got right back into somewhat of a routine. Although we don't manage to get through all our daily lessons every time I have come up with several tips to make this transition a bit easier for all of us.

1. When you know you will be busy with the baby, pull out some independent work for your child to complete.
This has worked really well for us in getting things done. Ameera who is now 6.5 is able to complete math worksheets, handwriting, foreign language, phonics and reading lessons on her own. That is a huge chunk of work. She also does Quran everyday via Skype with a tutor.

2. Use nap times to complete work that needs your attention and assistance.
When my baby is napping I will also usually put my toddler down at the same time for a nap. This gives me a good 1.5 hours to sit with my daughter and complete our history, science and literature lessons which are all done through read a-louds. We can also work on projects during this time.

3. Use weekends to catch up with school work.
The great thing about homeschooling is that everyday can be a weekend. This way I can utilize the weekends when my husband is home and I have some help to catch up on any subjects that have been neglected. This brings me to my next tip.

4. When possible have your spouse help with schooling.
If your spouse is good at something that you are not particularly strong in, have him help out in that subject over the weekend. For example, I am not strong in teaching math concepts, but my husband is so I will usually give him the task of explaining and teaching concepts to her that I am unable to do or do well.

5. Realize that every moment can be a teachable moment.
I will usually let my daughter prepare lunch for herself and her younger brother. Then she can clean up after herself by putting dishes in the sink. She is also able to change a diaper and quiet the baby by keeping her company. She can fold laundry, and perform loads of other household chores. This helps in character and confidence building and teaches her responsibility in the house and toward her siblings. She is also responsible for watching over her brother when they play in the garden and park.

6. No matter what make sure bedtimes are always consistent. (Same goes for naps)
Consistent bed times means energetic and fresh, focused children who are capable of very full days. Less tantrums and crankiness also come from well rested children. This also gives me time I need to recharge and have some much needed alone time. I can also do any planning I need for the following days.

7. Keep your schedule relatively free.
With a baby it is not a good idea to pack in so many activities or field trips through out the weeks. Pick one or two activities that you can manage to do consistently every week. Infants in their first few months thrive on routine and prefer being home to being shuffled along from one activity to the next and are more likely to have crying fits. At the moment Ameeras schedule includes 2 weekly activities, 1 biweekly activity and 2 monthly activities that require me to leave the house. I also sign up for filed trips that I feel are really beneficial and will be pleasant and easy for baby. Remember that educational field trips and activities can take the place of a days lesson. For example, a trip to the museum can be the days history lesson.

10 Grammar Rules Every Homeschooled Kid Should Know

1.       Beginning and Ending Punctuation

2.       Paragraphing

3.       The Parts of Speech

4.       The Sentence and the Fragment

5.       Subject, Verb, and Object Forms

6.       Verb Tense

7.       Punctuating Dialogue

8.       Rules and Uses for Commas

9.       The Apostrophe & The Dash

10.   The Semicolon and the Colon

Suggested Reading and Resources:

·         Eats, Shoots, and Leaves by Lynn Truss

·         The Power of Grammar by Mary Ehrenworth

·         The Elements of Style by E.B White and William Shrunk

·         Sentence Composing for Middle School by Don Killgallon

·         Discovering Voice by Nancy Dean

When it comes to writing kids need to care about what they are saying. They need to feel a sense of purpose that sharing their stories matters. Everyone has a story to tell, and everyone’s voice is important. The sooner they understand this, the sooner they will take pride in becoming writers. Grammar should be taught not as a list of rules, but as a means to make writing meaningful and powerful. Therefore, Grammar should be taught to children through Story-telling and Narrative. Explain to kids the “Why” of Grammar and then demonstrate its power in writing through examples.

Ex. Why is Harry Potter a World Favorite? How does the author use her writing? Explore the structure of writing in favorite novels.
You can have your child write a story and then teach grammar concepts through his own story, explaining how each rule enhances their work. Or make up a story of your own, thereby engaging the child in the plot, you can have teachable grammar moments.