Several years into my Biblical Classical journey, I continue to be blessed with homeschooling and toddlers. I admit that the challenge is real. I’ll have our books out for any given subject and my baby will want to nurse, or my toddler will need attention, or diapers need changing, a young child will suddenly find a reason to grab my attention, or any number of emergent tasks young-people-related may arise.
So, how do I manage to teach with little ones? Step into Heatherland with me and discover what it’s like…
The Reality of Homeschooling
I wish I could say that I have it all figured out and that everything goes according to plan at least 95% of the time. Alas, that is not the case. In fact, in my own case studies of my own life, I can’t even give a percentage of how often things go according to plan because it fluctuates greatly day-by-day. Which makes things challenging for me because I happen to be a person who thrives on a schedule (and checklists). In the ideal world of Heather, I’d have a schedule that functions with precision. But Heatherland isn’t that way. No, in the reality of Heatherland, I have learned to survive on a routine and embrace the fact that emergent tasks arise (my Plan It Out Right Homeschool Planner helps me with routine). Which I’ve learned to accept as either adventures or challenges of growth.
Yes! Such as the time when I had only four children roughly at the ages of 7 years old, 6 years old, 4 years old, and 2 years old. I was going through our lessons at the dining room table in our 1,100 square foot home when I realized our 2 year old (this was Explorer) was creating a pool in our kitchen.
“What are you doing?!” I implored.
“I cleaning the floor,” he replied.
With a deep breath and patience, I hurriedly moved to soak up the water with towels and gently directed, “Go find something else to do.”
Something.else.to.do. Oh, he found something else to do alright!
We’re continuing our lesson when my oldest needed to go to the bathroom. He interrupted his trip to the bathroom to notify me that his brother had gotten into the meal worm container for the pet lizard! I darted to the boys’ bedroom and what did I see? My curious little boy was observing creepy, crawly, live meal worms spreading out in various directions across the rug. Ew! I still shudder at the thought!
Sometimes, it’s less exciting and more of the every day emergent tasks that make possible the opportunity for personal growth. Such as during a lesson when baby wants to nurse, toddler comes along and wants to have a hug or sit next to me and hold my arm with an iron grip, and then either of them need a diaper change. So, I’ll have to interrupt the lesson to latch baby on to nurse, try to turn pages in my book with my movement being somewhat limited by the toddler on my arm… these kinds of things naturally slow the lessons down. Stopping the lessons to change diapers delays the pace, too. Yes, sometimes it can be fRuStRaTiNg. But I’ll tell you, now that our oldest is almost graduated from High School, I treasure these years with little ones more and more.
It goes by so fast, guys. Too fast…
Little Ones Are the Lesson
So, if my preschoolers don’t want to sit quietly on my lap or next to me, color, play quietly with play dough, blocks, those neat little wax stick toys, or baby dolls, they’ll sometimes need me to rework my routine. This, I constantly need to remind myself, is okay and important because my older children need to see and my little ones need to feel that adults value little ones, too. Children of all ages are precious and I never want to make them feel that they are an inconvenience. The lessons get taught and my children do their part in their learning. We homeschooling parents recognize that education is about life… whether it’s involving printed paper bound in books or our own lives being living books.
I’m far from perfect at this. I have my days… my moments. If I add it up, I could say my months and my years. Haha!
Examining What It Means to Manage
I used to be hard on myself about my plans not carrying out exactly… or even near how I wanted them to. I didn’t feel like I was managing well at all. Often times I still don’t! Ideals die hard. I suspect you may be experiencing this for yourself, or have concern that you will, or already have. I’m bound to hit the nail on the head with one of those three, so let’s take a look at the definition of manage together and set the record straight:
MAN’AGE, verb transitive
1. To conduct; to carry on; to direct the concerns of; as, to manage a farm; to manage the affairs of a family. 2. To train or govern. 4. To wield; to move or use in the manner desired; to have under command.
MAN’AGE, verb intransitive To direct or conduct affairs; to carry on concerns or business.
MAN’AGE, noun Conduct; administration; as the manage of the state or kingdom.
1. Government; control, as of a horse, or the exercise of riding him.
2. Discipline; governance; direction.
–Webster’s 1828 Dictionary
We Need to Reflect
We have to pause and ask ourselves:
- Am I carrying on with directing the concerns (affairs) of my family? These are often times emergent…
- Am I training my children? Am I governing myself by choosing to be self-governed under Christ Jesus?
- Am I moving in the manner desired at the moment when something is presented to me?
- Am I being faithful in conducting the management of God’s kingdom in my home to the best of my abilities?
- Am I following through with the discipline of our children? (See the definition below.)
“DISCIPLINE, noun [Latin , to learn.]1. Education; instruction; cultivation and improvement, comprehending instruction in arts, sciences, correct sentiments, morals and manners, and due subordination to authority.If yes, then I’m managing well. If not, then I have areas to work on.”
–Webster’s 1828 Dictionary
Each Homeschool Flow is Unique
It’s going to look different among our families for sure. Your personality and temperament… and that of your own children… it’s going to vary from mine in Heatherland. This is where we can come along side of each other and encourage each other in our own personal journeys and growth. We’re all human, we are all flawed, we all are in need of our Savior, and in need of relationship with each other.
Biblical Classical Resources and Online Community
I wish this group of us Biblical Classical families, spread across our country, could rally together in person to help each other. The best I can offer to you is this blog, e-mails, Biblical Classical Community to help in your homeschool (or even help you build a local like-minded homeschool group using the courses) , and prayerfully more support that you are looking for through our Biblical Classical Homeschool Experience™ membership (discipleship and mentoring in the Biblical Classical way of life and learning).
I hope you find this post edifying. Please be encouraged. You can do it!