It’s time again for the 4 Moms to answer some reader questions.
Maria wondered about potty training and how to prevent the process for dragging on for years.
Bella (22 months) is currently learning to use the potty, so we’re back in the trenches for the tenth time.
Here is a bit of our potty training history.
- All but one of our children have been potty trained by their second birthday. That one, Nicholas was trained by 25 months.
- Potty training generally takes less than a week of focused work (usually a few days).
- One of our children struggled with wetting when they were playing outside. I think this was more of an “I don’t want to be bothered to come in and use the potty” problem than a training problem. None of the others have had more than an occasional accident after they were trained.
- We have three children who are bed wetters. (This is a separate problem that they’ve struggled with well past 6-7 years old.) Most of our non-bed wetters were out of diapers at night within days to weeks of being trained during the day.
Here is a step-by-step of Nick’s first day potty training with links to more potty training answers at the bottom of the post.
Jamie asked, “What do your first few weeks with a new little one look like?”
Honestly it depends on the little one. And the goal here is survival.
Most of our newborns have been easy-breezy and for the most part we’ve continued on with a fairly normal schedule.
Most of the time we’ve taken the birth week off of school work and then started back up. For me, it’s easy to just keep the school work going while taking it easy with a new baby.
However, some babies require a lot more effort. After Isabella (our 10th) was born, I wondered if things would ever get back to normal. We just took our time and it eventually fell together again, but it took a lot longer than a couple of weeks.
Just do what you can do and eventually it will all fall back into place.
Rachel wondered, “What homeschooling looked like when your oldest was 5 and would have been starting Kindergarten if going to school?”
Since we knew we wanted to homeschool our kids before they even existed, we began homeschooling well before our oldest turned 5 and were really able to ease into things slowly.
We read aloud and had family worship from the time our children were born.
We began helping our children memorize Scripture (and other things) as soon as they began talking.
We taught them to read as soon as they showed an interest and ability.
By the time our oldest was 5 we had five children, so I had my hands full with a house full of little ones, but we’d already been conscientiously homeschooling for 5 years and our children already had a good basis of memorization and reading.
Homeschooling a 5 year old
What we did: Keep in mind that most or all of this was already part of our day-to-day schedule so there was not a big transition.
- Family worship
- Independent Bible reading – because Amber was already a proficient reader
- Read aloud
- Handwriting – We didn’t start handwriting because she was 5, we started because she showed signs of readiness.
- Introduced nature journals as desired.
- Listened to beautiful music
What we didn’t do:
- Preschool, work sheets or busy work
- Formal math
- Spelling, grammar or other language arts “programs”
- History program
- Science program
- Make school/learning any different from what we always do everyday.
Our schedule as we began officially homeschooling varied very little from the schedule we’d had since the birth of our 4th child.
If you didn’t start out as we did, no worries. We’ve been much slower with some of our younger children.
Beginning homeschooling is easy, simply add a time of memorizing around the breakfast table, a half hour to hour of school work during the day and quiet reading during rest time (if your child still naps, then skip this until they need less sleep).
The schedule for our current 5 and 4 year old looks like this:
- Get up and do before breakfast chores
- Breakfast, family worship and memorization work with the whole family
- Table chores
- Sometime during the morning the 5 year old reads aloud to me, does a handwriting page and, since he’s a brilliant speller, does some dictation work. This generally takes about half an hour. The 4 year old reads aloud to me (about 15 minutes).
- Listen to the big kids read aloud, whenever that happens.
- Play time
- Nap time (he still sleeps)
- Etc. until family worship in the evening
The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge
Everything else is icing on the cake.
Amanda said, “How do you keep a clean car? I can’t keep up!”
The short version is that we have one of our kids assigned to clean out the van once a week.
The longer version is that a few years ago Matthew (now 12) saved up his money to purchase a guinea pig, cage, etc. but realized he would have a hard time continuing to earn enough money for food and bedding for his pet. He and his father struck a deal. We pay for food and bedding for the guinea pig as long as both cars are cleaned out and vacuumed on a weekly basis. Otherwise Matthew pays for the pigs necessities.
Matthew loves having a guinea pig and our cars stay (fairly) clean.
You may also be interested in:
- Live blogging potty training
- Teaching reading
- Teaching handwriting
- Teaching grammar, spelling and other language arts naturally
- Family Worship: What and How
- Our day to day schedule with all littles (you can see how we fit homeschooling into our regular day from the time our kids were small).
Also visit the other moms of many to read their thoughts and ideas:
Smockity Frocks shares how moms of many do (or don’t do) it ALL.
Life in a Shoe talks about weaning, big family comments and more.
The Common Room shares about pop culture, cookbooks and what features she would want if she were building a house.
For more Moms of Many posts visit the 4 Moms page.