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Tip of the Week

Tips on How to Keep a 3 Year Old Busy WHILE Home Schooling!

This question was recently asked on the AHEA Facebook Page:

Anyone have ideas for learning boxes for an extremely busy 3.5 year old? I have tried some learning box ideas but he's done playing in 10 minutes and isn't interested again.

Answers:

*I think 3.5 year olds are extremely busy and don't have a great concentration span. My best suggestion is to make a LOT of boxes for him, and to keep using new ones. It's best not to repeat them in under 10 days. When the boxes aren't used often, the kids enjoy them longer. (SORRY) I have a Pinterest Board w/ ideas for 3 - 5 year olds (and really believe the time spent making these IS worthwhile and makes Home Schooling easier.) I planned to have 8 to 10 different activities for each morning of Home Schooling. It does take a while to accumulate these activities - but is achievable and worthwhile.

*I also have a Pinterest Board - Home School ideas for Boys - many of the ideas are for young boys. Check that out, too.

*Sometimes it is thinking outside the box with what we already have - add an empty gift wrap tube or makeshift ramp for little cars to go down... Fill a shallow tub with water (on a couple of bath towels) and have a *car wash* or a *Duplo wash*. Yes, it is more work. Yes, it can make a mess BUT your little ones will love the time and attention. There are TONS of easy learning activities on both the links above. Many are quick and easy to make. I had /have a bookshelf for the best of those activities. OH, and the longer you use them, the more he will learn to *do* them for a set period of time. Put not so fun activities in between fun activities and say this is the next activity - try it for 5 minutes. I am always watching for fun activities to buy, too (on the garage sale Facebook page for our area). Just bought magnetic Fun Faces .

*The thing is you must find his interests. My first son was very smart, very busy and nothing calmed him down. Absolutely nothing. I bought him Jumpstart Fractions cause it was on sale. This was intended for use way in the future .....perhaps 11 years old (he was only 4 at the time). He saw it and begged me to put in in the computer. I did. He used this game for two years. I never, ever had a problem with him sitting still again. Listen to your son, you probably know what his interests are. Take those interests and be creative yourself. My second son -it was a car mat and dinky cars, the legos. Btw, those busy kids are usually quite gifted:)

*Thanks for the help! I made a large pile of learning "bags" and put them into one big plastic tub. He's been digging through them everyday and picking out something to do. I even found him coloring on his own for quite a long period of time. Before this week, he wasn't interested in colouring for extended periods of time.

*I have a nephew who is 3 and in a Montessori preschool and daycare. He, too, is a busy boy. His favorite activity is "shelf work" checking out some Montessori sites might give you some more ideas. I think having a rebounder is a good idea for all kids to burn off some energy. I got one at a garage sale with my 12 year old in mind.

What Things Would You Change if You Could Go Back and Start Home Schooling Over?

This was another question asked on the AHEA Facebook Page.
*I would have relaxed more (esp. with younger kids) and just enjoyed learning. It took me so long to realise hiking, baking, and even chores (!!) were learning experiences, too - we didn't have to be doing workbooks at the table to be learning....
*Well since I would have started earlier...lol. I would change the way we learned. I was so worried that I needed it to be just so. I also didn't realize that much of everyday life is where she learned the most.
*I wish I had spent more time on character building.... This blog says a lot of what I am thinking tonight: Beyond the Textbooks
*I would have to agree with both of you; I would definitely have been more relaxed with my firstborn (and first to be homeschooled). I've been way more relaxed with my second (of our two) child and its gone much, much better.
*I actually would have been more rigorous from the start, with more structure.
*I would have quit focusing on others expectations of what learning should look like and trusted my instinct sooner. Instead of worrying about content, I would have focused more on making the process of learning, fun, experiential, and interactive from the beginning. It's so much easier to homeschool when the child is excited about it.
*I wish I had been more patient and relaxed when we first started hs-ing (I was one stressed out mama), but there are also things I wish we had focused a little more on these past few years.
*I'm extremely thankful we started Home Schooling when our oldest started K.
*My biggest regret is not focusing more on character building in the beginning. Also, I wish that I had paid more attention to Charlotte Mason, although I do realize I wasn't ready to adopt her philosophy 5 years ago. Home Schoolng is definitely a journey that is different for everybody

A few good educational resources!

Well, it is hard to believe I haven't blogged for a while, but life has been extremely busy. I have kept busy home schooling, managed to visit our oldest daughter (and husband AND new baby!) in Germany a few weeks ago, and our 3rd daughter just had an emergency appendectomy that was pretty awful - hospital visits and recovery - as well, as keeping an eye on the new AHEA Facebook page. (The Facebook Page is hopping with links and comments, though!)

Life is kind of slowing down and I am back. smile

I was looking for a baby present and a preschooler / toddler birthday present yesterday and came across two great resources.

The first was a Leapfrog Frig Farm Animal Magnet Set. (I actually saw this on a Facebook Garage Sale Page for our area - that is another tip for the Facebookers! People not on Facebook, keep checking Kijiji and real life garage sales! BUT for those of us on Facebook, the Garage Sale pages for our areas are a great resource. I am loving ours and have found many great house items on great sales, as well as some educational items, too. I bought a used set for $5.) The new set for a baby gift was aroud $23 at the Bargain Shop.

The second resource that I saw and LOVE for little home schoolers was the Leapfrog Letter Factory Phonics. Again, it was at the Bargain Shop - around $27. I shop mostly in rural Alberta, so I had never seen this before other than online. Love it. I think it would be a great educational extra for a little home schooler to help learn the letters of the alphabet with - great as a workboxing extra OR to keep a little one busy while the big kids are homeschooling.

The last item is a KEVA Contraptions set. I saw this at one of the Home School Supply Stores and after a little consideration, I picked up for our household. Our kids are older - our youngest is 14, but I thought it would be a great building set to have in the house. I was right - I've had a few home school events in our house OR babysat for friends and had some kids LOVE building with it.

If you have a resource to share, why not check out the Facebook Page or email me at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it ? Happy Home Schooling AND Happy Summer Vacation!

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