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Homeschooling while sick…

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Life happens. Kids get sick. Parents get sick. It sucks, and it’s (mostly) unavoidable.

And it usually happens at the worst of times! The new term just started, or the exams are upon you, or you have just gotten into the swing of things (finally!)

Aaaaand then you get sick. And the kids get sick. And everyone feels horrible. And the work starts to suffer. And you start falling behind. And then the panic sets in…

Why does this happen?

Because you have to ‘keep up’? With who?

Because you can’t afford to let the kids ‘fall behind’? Behind who?

A very dear friend spoke to me about exactly this issue this last week, and I’m so thankful that she did…

She reminded me about WHY we decided to homeschool in the first place: for the freedom to CHOOSE.

To choose when we need to get the work done. To choose how we get the work done. To choose WHAT work to get done.

That means that we are FLEXIBLE. When we’re sick, we can take off. We are allowed to do that. We can always ‘catch up’ on the work we ‘lost’. We can shift our holidays around. We can do a bit of work over weekends. We can decide not to work for a day or two. We can choose to rest.

This week I learned a very important lesson: to give myself grace.

Not to be too hard on myself. To take the time needed to rest, gain strength and go at full throttle once I’m well again.

Because you know what? Losing out on a few days’ work isn’t the end of the world. Nobody died. The world didn’t end.

And next week we can just pick up where we left off.

And that’s okay…

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How to homeschool with a toddler

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Life is hectic. Especially when you have a toddler in the house! They have the attention span of a butterfly, and the energy to rival that of a small tornado!

This is all wonderful, overall. Not so much when the big kids are trying to ‘do school’!

I get asked quite frequently how I entertain the toddler while we are busy with schoolwork.

The big thing to remember here is that we follow a Charlotte Mason education, meaning the toddler can join in on her level with most activities. She sings with us, does art with us, appreciates paintings with us and loves ‘reading’ when we do. We also include books on her level with poetry teatime, like Winnie the Pooh and the Beatrix Potter series.

I try and schedule writing work (Math, Dictation, and Grammar) for when she’s asleep.

Sometimes things don’t go according to plan, though! She’s in a nap-skipping phase now, so we have to work around it!

So here are my top 10 go-to activities to keep her busy while we work:

  1. Water play: pouring activities, a water table, sprinklers, ‘bathing’ her dolls, ‘washing’ her bike, our car, basically anything, including rocks!
  2. Dirty play: letting her draw on the ground with sticks and decorate it with nature finds, a mud pit, ‘painting’ with mud or drawing with charcoal (from the fire pit!)
  3. Climbing: on the jungle gym, tree trunks, boxes, the couch. She loves obstacle courses! She also enjoys hanging on things. Especially the jungle gym and my legs!
  4. Nature walks: I usually send her to collect nature finds and come show me. She loves showing off seeds, flowers, leaves, bark and bugs.
  5. Books: Her current obsession is animals. So we have a huge selection (that I rotate) of books she can ‘read’ through.
  6. Play dough: She loves cutting out shapes, squishing it and having make-believe tea parties!
  7. Sidewalk Chalk Paint: I paint lines on the pavement for her to walk on (practice balancing). She also likes painting lines on the pavement and dipping rocks in the paint. She also paints herself, so we usually end up with some water play afterward anyway!
  8. Rice: She loves pouring and scooping it into various containers.
  9. Musical instruments: Homemade drums, shakers, and rattles are awesome!
  10. Finger paint: She loves the texture of cooked finger paint. The squishing is very therapeutic, even for adults!

I hope you find some inspiration here!

What do you normally do to keep your little ones busy while the big kids work?

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How can I help my child to focus on school work/homework?

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Each and every single child is unique. There’s no “one size fits all” box that you can put them all into.

Some kids find it easy to focus. Others don’t. Some enjoy studying with music on, while others prefer moving around. Some kids like taking short, frequent breaks, while others like “cramming”.

What works for my child, might not necessarily work for yours. Please keep that in mind. You need to find YOUR child’s path and follow that.

I was told my daughter struggles to focus in school. That she daydreams. That she doesn’t care enough about her schoolwork to do it properly. That she doesn’t grasp concepts easily.

And I knew this couldn’t possibly be the same child that I know so well. The girl I know is brilliant beyond description. She loves reading and math. She has a finely-tuned eye for art. And she definitely cares very much about her schoolwork!

So we made some changes (one of which was taking her out of a mainstream school and starting homeschooling).

This is what works for her! (But you can also apply these to your mainstream child)

When she has to sit down and work/study, I always make sure she’s eaten and has had something to drink. I find that, when her stomach is full, she’s less fidgety and she doesn’t have any excuses to get up (procrastinate)!

Food is also fuel for her brain and body. An empty tummy will more than likely result in a terrible case of “brain fog”!

Water helps “lubricate” your neurons, in turn helping with better memory. Headaches are also a sign of dehydration, so lots of water will help keep those at bay!

We take short, frequent breaks. Every hour, she gets a 10 minute break. I prefer that she runs around outside, or we’ll play a quick game of tag. I find that short bursts of physical activity helps her to focus better overall, but especially with “sit down and think” subjects like Math.

I also try and make the work as interesting as possible. Boring work makes for bored students (well, duh!).

I try and make it interesting by letting her move around (“do” whatever we’re learning about), clap words, sing songs, build things, doodle while I’m reading to her and act out the stories. The wackier, the better! Believe me, the crazier the activity, the better the kids will remember!

Kids like to fidget! I like giving her some clay to play with while I read too, as I find that when her hands are busy, she listens and remembers better.

I also give my daughter a few supplements:

I give her Omega 3 to help with focus and to boost brain power.

I give her Calmag (Calcium and Magnesium) to help her keep calm and focused (it also helps with growth pains, which is a plus!)

I also give her Liquivite or Vitasquares and Vitaguard (depending on what I have in the house. It’s a general multivitamin) to nourish all of her cells (especially brain cells!)

I prefer to give my kids only Neolife’s vitamins because I know they’re ultra-pure and of the highest quality. I also get Distributor discount, which is also a big plus!

I hope you found a few suggestions helpful!

What works well for your kids? Let me know in the comments!