We have a unique challenge in our homeschool with all my kids spread apart by four grade levels. Homeschooling multiple ages can be challenging at times. This school year we have a middle schooler, an elementary student and a preschooler. I was recently sent a copy of Preschoolers and Peace: Homeschooling older kids with success while loving the little ones at your feet by Kendra Fletcher for review. In this book you will find advice on setting up routines and schedules for your preschoolers. Kendra Fletcher has been author of the website, Preschoolers and Peace, since 2006 and this book is a culmination of the best ideas and advice found on her blog. She is the homeschool mother of 8 children and has been homeschooling for the past sixteen years, so she has lots of experience to share. She is also the author of another e-book which I reviewed last year entitled, Circle Time.
Preschoolers and Peace: Homeschooling Older Kids with Success While Loving the Little Ones at your Feet is a 47-page e-book, which includes 13 short chapters. It is available in Kindle e-book format for $2.99. It is an easy read with hyperlinks for further reading. The chapters include ideas and advice for the following topics:
- Mom’s identity
- Preparation to homeschool
- Planning around preschoolers
- Keeping toddlers busy
- Sample schedules
- Homeschooling boys
- Chores for little ones
- Help for the mom who has only preschoolers
- Preschool chores
- and more……….
There is a four-page resource list at the end of the book which consists of a link to a free preschool e-book (requires email subscription) and links to articles from the Preschoolers and Peace blog. The resources are organized by chapter, which makes it very easy to navigate directly to the topic of choice. I perused the links and gleaned some new ideas especially geared to my preschooler.
My Thoughts about this Book
What a timely book this was for me! The first few pages gripped my heart with the brief discussion of finding our identity in Christ. Most home school moms devote so much time and energy into their homes, kids and homeschools that they begin to find their identity in these things. Your jobs begin to define who you are and can become a stumbling block in your life. Kendra exhorts us to make sure that our identity is in Christ and that we are not making “idols” of the good things in our lives. I was challenged to let Christ be my ultimate identity and out of that heart to seek God. When my identity is in Christ, I will be equipped to share the most important thing with my kids, the Gospel of Jesus Christ. If you are not a Christian homeschooler, this book may not be for you as she unashamedly shares that the Gospel of Jesus Christ is the foundation of her homeschool at the outset.
After focusing on mom’s identity in Christ, the book moves to preparation for schooling through prayer. I loved the idea of creating a prayer box using Christmas cards that you receive to pray for families throughout the year. I am planning to do this for our second semester in January after our holiday cards arrive. We already spend daily time in prayer as we are praying for the countries in the 10/40 window this year, but I think we could use index cards to add prayer needs to the box and draw from them each day as a part of prayer time. I am looking for ways to go beyond rote prayers with my kids.
The planning chapter was especially helpful to me as I have tended to approach my school planning with the oldest kids in mind. I feel like the content that they are studying is somehow more important, so I have generally just wedged the youngest one into the daily schedule wherever time allowed. I have devoted most of my time to planning for my older two as they have taken on more challenging curricula. After reading this, I realized that I need to spend more time planning activities to keep my youngest (aged 4) constructively occupied during school hours. When she is left to her own devices, it seems that chaos inevitably ensues shortly thereafter, which sometimes derails the older kids school day. There are lists of practical activities that you can have your preschool engage in during preschool hours. I was inspired to come up with a couple of new ideas after reading her list. One of the ideas I came up with was having our read aloud time outside and letting my 4-year old draw with sidewalk chalk while we were reading. Everyone benefited from the sunshine and change of environment. I tried the idea of having table play time by having her sit at the table with us during school and occupying her with activities such as playdough, workbooks and other small toys. We are working on sitting still for small amounts of time. I have added a new toy she suggested to my Amazon wishlist. Have any of you ever heard of Wedgits?
I also love the idea of gathering everyone together first thing in the morning for some group or circle time. We have done this off and on with success. I am finding myself praying about the individual needs of my children more since reading this e-book and realizing that I need to embrace my children and their needs each morning with a heart of love. I need to be mom first, schoolteacher second. As I learn to love the little ones at my feet and tend to their needs along the way, keeping my focus on Christ, I will have the strength to homeschool the older ones with success. This ebook has ideas for moms with preschool-aged kids but there are nuggets regarding scheduling and routines that can apply to most any school-aged kid. If you would like to read more opinions of this little e-book gem, click on the graphic below.
Connect with Kendra Fletcher and Preschoolers and Peace on social media at these links:
You Tube: https://www.youtube.com/user/preschoolersandpeace