First off, my little ones are 2 boys in a row age 4 and 2(almost 3~on Friday!!!), which in itself is a handful!!! and then there is my sweet lil' lady who is now 8 months old (uhm...how did THAT happen?!?).
A biggie is, for me at least, is to let go and allow them to get messy, be messy and let it be. That schedule that I was talking about HERE? That has been a tremendous help. At least now I know WHAT room they will mess up and WITH WHOM they will mess it up with! haaa haaa lol!
We have clean up times throughout the day in which we put the house back together (LOL!).
Teaching my littles to clean up after playing with a toy or making a mess with graham crackers takes time some time and sometimes I just wait till I have a few minutes free for that 'teachable moment', instead of reacting quickly right then and there and distracting my bigger kids away from schoolwork. It depends on what the mess is, I guess! If it can wait, then it waits.
I am a huge tag sale/yard sale/garage sale and thrift store junky! lol! :P
With shopping at those places for super dirt cheap prices for toys and items to keep them busy has helped with my sanity and getting alll the school work done for the day. Seriously :).
We have a "Toy of the Day" and I buy tons of that specific toy. Even if I see just one or two toys that would add to the amount, then I get it. Such things as farms, little people, play dough parts, big lego blocks etc... I put all of the same item in a big Rubbermaid container bin and only take out that bin on the morning of that specific day. That toy stays on the train table that adorns our beautiful living room (haaa haaa!). For example; today is matchbox cars day and the bin holds tons of cars and trucks, a car ramp with the handle on top,blue trak, a big dump truck and a big John Deer tractor. That's it for the toy of the day. I have to have enough items for ALL of my kids to play with. There are 7 of them!!!
I guess that saying "Less is More" is true.
Since my kids all LOVE to be near Momma, we rarely use our downstairs family room/den/play room. We do have toys down there but those toys usually stay down there most of the time. We school mostly at the dining room table for 3 of my kids and my 10 yr old does school in our 'guest room' or 'extra room' as we call it. It is the next room from us, so I can keep an eye on him if he runs out or gets distracted away from that room. It is a simple room of a desk and chair and that's it in hopes to minimize distractions for him.
I love having my kids all around me. I love the camaraderie that it brings. I love the closeness we are creating and the bond that we all have. Thank you God for this gift of schooling at home. They are all hard workers at school and we have to constantly teach them to focus and pay attention. Their intentions are so pure and desire is to do their school work and learn (well, most of the time!) There is constantly a whole lot going on and many distractions, but they are learning so many things!!!
This is God's Will for our family and we all know it,
no matter how many times we are tempted to think otherwise.
On our schedule, I have each of the 4 'bigger kids' assigned a 30 minute time block to play and read to "The Littles" (as we call them). That frees up 2 hours of wanting Momma "Mommy this and...Mommy that...." is not that apparent anymore. That is totally amazing, huh? 2 hours! That is A LOT of time!!! Lil' Lady still takes 2 naps-1 in the Am and 1 in the afternoon and sometimes a little quick dinner nap if she is cranky.
Those 'bigger kids' are pretty helpful. At times, they complain and don't want to play w/the littles but then, for the most part, they realize it's not so bad since they are PLAYING and NOT doing school work!!!
Also, for this school year, something that is very different is that I am not trying to squish in a WHOLE school day to end at that 2 or 3pm mark and then it's over. This year, I decided that I needed the 'bigger kids' help with the littles so much and that since we home school, we could just do those least intensive school subjects at other times that do not require full focus or major attention, such as handwriting, art, history and/or science. I have sort of made our whole day a learning day. I think this change has been great for our family. A good choice of rearranging our day, if I say so!!! :)
Hope that helps out.
Have a great day!