Homeschool Question from a New Homeschool Mom

Schooling at home

Here’s a question from one of our readers who has just become a homeschool mom because of the coronavirus pandemic:

I understand that children in Grade 1, 3, and 6 (twins) will have different material, but how does one effectively manage different attention spans? My youngest boy was a good sport for about 30 minutes, and then he wanted to play but not alone, with me or his siblings. They had work, and I needed to help my daughter with music theory. I tried to redirect with a book and LEGOS and was successful, but I can see this becoming an issue day to day. A mom

This is where a schedule really helps. What about figuring out activities to keep the first-grader occupied? You could have each of the older children spend 1/2 hour playing with him. That gives him a playmate for 1.5 hours of academic time. They lose a 1/2 hour of school time but gain an hour of uninterrupted work time, and so do you. 

You could schedule him for play alone time. While it might not be his favorite time of the day, doing it consistently each day should eliminate his grumbling about a playtime alone because it soon is habitual—simply what he does every day. You won’t have him pestering you to play with him at that time and you feeling guilty because you can’t. I expect that he would soon be creative and able to occupy himself for whatever amount of time you scheduled for him, perhaps 1/2 hour.

If you spent 1/2 hour with him each morning and if he had another 1/2 hour of book time, you would have filled a three hour time block for him each morning if his play alone time was 1/2 hour. 

When each piece of the schedule happens at the same time every day and becomes habitual, it is easy—just like brushing your teeth. You aren’t having to tell every one what to do or telling them “no” when they ask to do something but should do school. Simplify your new homeschooling life with a schedule.

Trusting in Jesus,

Blog reader son home from school

“Blessed are the peacemakers: for they shall
be called the children of God.” Matthew 5:9 

4 thoughts on “Homeschool Question from a New Homeschool Mom”

  1. I suppose I would be considered a seasoned homeschooling Mom with my only in High School now, however I must say that I would most likely not have been as successful if not for the help of your Managers books. I re-read those each year for several years and now every other because they were so packed with helpful tips and ideas. Things that made life so much easier. Things that were easy to implement and made such a huge difference. We are to the point now that my girl makes her own schedule for the most part but I still love telling those coming after me what I learned from you. Thank you Mrs. Maxwell for all of the hard work you do for those of us out here struggling.

    1. Very encouraging to hear your experience with the Managers books’ information. Thank you for sharing and perhaps encouraging others to try them as well!

  2. Yes, I totally agree! When my kids were little, some years I eased into our new schedule, which worked well. For example, have the 6yo play alone for just 15 minutes (I would set a timer and tell him when the timer went off, he could come out of his room.). The next day I would set it for 20, then 25, then finally 30. The same could be said for homeschooling if you’re not used to it. “You only have to do math for 15 minutes (or 15 problems, or whatever).” Then increase every day or two. Just an idea since your kids aren’t used to a schedule. 🙂

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