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If I had to pinpoint one thing I have struggled with most in my 7 years of homeschooling, it would have to be how I keep my other children on task, while working individually with another child. It is incredibly distracting when you are knee deep in a language lesson with Child A and Child B is constantly interrupting you with questions of “What do I do know Mom?” Ugh! I know that distractions are inevitable, but I believe that the more we minimize them, the more easy, simple, and less chaotic our lives become! And lets just be honest, what homeschool mom doesn’t want easy, simple, and less chaotic? Sign me up please!
Over the years I have tried multiple different methods to accomplish this task. Some have worked better than others, but none have really seemed to stick, UNTIL… this one!
Here is what it looks like….
And here is how it works…
First I give each of my children a separate color of magnet. Then I wrote every subject each child needs to complete daily on each magnet.
Here is a close up…
Some of the subjects take longer than others, and some of them they need me in order to complete. The important thing though is that they are all there and visible.
How it works is rather simple. As each child completes the subject on the magnet, they then move the magnet to the “Done” sheet on the board. After that they simply move on to the next magnet of their choice. This gives them a little bit of freedom, while still keeping them on task. I believe that kids naturally want to be independent and feel like they are at least somewhat in charge. This teaches them that, but also still allows you to guide them as they go. The tasks for each of my kids varies, but for the most part they are relatively the same.
Some examples of what you might find on our magnets are math, language, science, history, reading, chores, and flashcards. The curriculum we use is called The Good and The Beautiful, and each of my kids has flash cards for various subjects. Each day they spend about 10 minutes reviewing their cards, and unless they want me to test them on these cards, they do not need me for this at all. They just need to do it, and mark it as done! The same would go for their reading. They all have their own chapter books that they are reading, and they know how much they need to read everyday, so the magnet just serves as a nice visual to remind them whether or not they have done their reading today.
My kids have also commented that they LOVE moving the magnets over, and seeing them pile up in the “Done” section! It is a GREAT visual for them to see what they have accomplished for the day! Sometimes I secretly wish I had my own set of magnets, although mine would need their own board and take up a lot more space!
Obviously if you have children who cannot read yet, this might be a little more challenging. However, you could improvise this by putting pictures instead of words.
There also comes a time, especially if you have children who vary in age and responsibility, that you need your older children to take charge and start to learn how to be a little more self-guided and responsible for their own learning. I mean, isn’t that really the goal in the end? To teach them how to be hard working, self-disciplined, responsible adults, who are capable waking up and taking charge of their day, without being told or nagged to get things done?
Why not start now? Lets not waste these short years we have with our children. Lets teach them these important things now, while we can! Even though my kids may grumble at some of their responsibilities now, I truly believe they will thank me for it later. We have to keep the end goal in sight. I have found that this is a good way to start!
If I have learned anything in my 7 years of homeschooling, it is that you really do learn as you go. You are constantly tweaking things, and if something is not working you keep tweaking until you find what works!
That is the beauty of homeschooling! The freedom to change and do as you please. I love it!
If you want to know how I made the board and where I bought my supplies click the link here How to Teach Your Kids Responsibility With These Easy Steps.
I hope this has helped you and inspired you in some way. Please feel free leave comments or share with anyone who may benefit! I would also love to hear what has worked for you and how you handle this in your house?
Happy Homeschooling Friends!