Isn’t this the most darling photo?!! It’s my absolute favourite homeschool pic going back, oh, probably 12 years.
I’ve been reminiscing a good deal these days and have sat over photo boxes smiling at our young years of homeschooling and some days wishing them back. Though isn’t that easy to say now that I’m out of that three year old tantrum stage, the double whammy twin babies wailing their hearts out and bringing the house down, and I’m no longer post partum, or pregnant with another and trying to keep the little ones all busy?
But I did get to thinking about the things we needed to do to keep the little ones busy while trying to accomplish our homeschool lessons with the older one/s. So I thought I’d share one of the ways that helped us through those young years with y’all. And don’t get me wrong, it’s no sure fix to a crazy, busy household with little ones. We still experienced tears, a testy mama, and tirades in the mix of all the things I tried to come up with to keep those little hands busy. But maybe you’re able to glean a few ideas anyway.
A friend from my local homeschool group mentioned that making alphabet books were great fun for them and a great learning experience, all the while the children not even realizing they are actually “doing school.”
And such a simple task to lay out. The most work you’ll do is a quick write-up ahead of time to prep what you may want to make for each letter of the alphabet, and ensure you have lots of crafty items on hand to accomplish it. My mum always passed along her extra strips of fabric, her old Christmas cards, and balls of yarn etc… so we were always fully stocked with drawers full of tidbits of this and that to use creatively. I’m going to try and remember this when it’s my turn to be a grandma.
After colouring in (or cutting out the shape and gluing on to paper) the upper and lower case letters we were doing that day, we’d make something that started with that letter and then would either punch hole it for a space behind the letter in our alphabet books or we’d put the object made into a clear sheet protector and add it to the book.
It’s a great project for your 2+ year olds (or your beginner learners) as they sit alongside your other young ones who may be working at other projects around the table. I always found it difficult in those early years of homeschooling to manage the little ones while teaching the older. But projects like this are helpful little tools that encourage the young ones to be busy with something, and also makes them feel like they are just as important as their older siblings doing their school work. Funny how these little ones don’t want to be left out of the equation when they see the others doing lessons!
And keep it as simple as possible. We’re fortunate to have a resident artist in the house so hubby would sometimes quickly draw up a bee for them to rub a glue stick over and pour over shiny sprinkles as their part in decorating “Bb” for bee that day. But there are tons of other easy options like the cotton balls for ice-cream to stick on, or one we used a few times in the book was letting them stick mini stickers over your already hand-written letters.
And since we’re a family who live and breath the dyslexia challenges, I highly encourage the hands on letter making out of clay or plasticine and making a clay model of something that begins with that letter. Other hands on ideas are using a cookie sheet with flour on it to draw out letters with their fingers. But as the little show Hammy Hamster used to end with, “but that’s another story,” and in this case, “post.”