Keeping the Kids Engaged

I realized today what a challenge I have ahead of me in keeping each of my children engaged throughout the day.

What do I mean by “engaged“?

Actively listening, learning, and responding in obedience through structured and unstructured play and instruction.

I’ve noticed that when the majority of my son’s day is dedicated to “free” or “unstructured” play, his behavior quickly deteriorates into tantrums, whining, and general mischief. However, when he is given a set routine, or series of tasks, or activities, he is pleasant tempered, curious, and eager to learn. My boy needs structure and planned activity.

This is great for me, because it mimics my own analytical learning style. But it does mean that I have to be more diligent in planning and preparing things for my son to do.

Today, we started a character study on obedience. We found the resources at Confessions of a Homeschooler

Kids making “Obedience” cards

I also started working on the Westminster shorter catechism with them. Obviously, my 3 year old is doing most of the learning. But I don’t underestimate my 20 month old daughter and what she understands, because she will also respond to the questions. So we’ve gotten through the first 3 questions and answers in Section 1 and that’s good progress so far.

My daughter is much more geared toward free-play and unstructured exploratory play at this point in her development. She is curious about what her brother is doing, so we include her, but we allow her to come and go as she is interested and we adapt the activity to her ability (coloring as opposed to writing, for example) and she plays until she cannot keep her eyes open anymore.

So far, it’s a challenge for me to be prepared each day, especially on mornings following nights of little sleep, but I’m working on a “Mom routine” that budgets me time to plan our “curriculum” for a week or two at a time.

I’m still in the planning phase of organizing and structuring our fall “school” schedule. I plan to begin pre-reader curriculum with the 3 year old, and letter and number recognition for my soon to be 2 year old. For Baby H, we’ll have busy bags/boxes and plenty of toys and story books for him.

I’ll share more of what that looks like for us as I get it developed.

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