The School Bus Approach to Homeschooling

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At the last homeschool convention I went to, Heidi St. John was one of the speakers. She’s kind of awesome. 

One of the tips she threw out there really stuck with me. We have recently begun employing it as we rise to the challenge of homeschooling multiple ages. 

It goes something like this:

  • It’s school time! Everyone get on the bus! Every day we’re going to start by reviewing our memory verse, reciting catechism, and doing a Bible lesson and/or unit studies. Crafts and/or coloring may occur.   
  • Oh look! Time for the toddler to get off the bus and go play with grandma – ours lives with us 🙂  
  • Now the older kids can do some table work – workbooks, color by number, math, critical thinking exercises, etc. Let’s squeeze in piano lesson review too, mkay?  
  • Oh look! Time for the preschooler to get off the bus and go play with grandma and the toddler.   
  • Now the oldest can work on his math book and reading lesson for the day.  
  • Everybody off the bus! Mom passes out.


Thus goes our “formal” school time, although we’re learning things all day. 

Tips:

  • Sing “wheels on the bus.” It’s fun.
  • If you don’t have a grandma to entertain the kids, try busy bags or other quiet activities. It may take some practice, but soon they’ll know to play quietly with those activities while you finish up school. (Check out my “busy bag” Pinterest board.)
  • Be prepared for those times when the toddler demands to get back on the bus. I employ snacks, coloring sheets, stickers, etc. 
  • Have a kid that doesn’t want on the bus? Consider bribing with a sticker or treat reward chart. 

How do you manage homeshooling multiple ages? 

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Linking up with:
Monday – Raising Arrows, The Better Mom
Tuesday – Growing Home, Time-Warp Wife, Hip Homeschool Hop
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Friday – Womanhood With Purpose, Hope in Every Season
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This Post Has 13 Comments

  1. I like the school bus idea. Cute!

    We do “school” a few days a week (when I get motivated and organized :)), and it’s a challenge because the toddler wants to do whatever the preschooler is doing. I give her opportunity to participate but it always ends up in a big mess. I need to look into making a busy box or something for her to do while big sister works and baby sleeps. That is my biggest hang-up about homeschooling (and needing time to recharge alone): keeping everyone occupied and learning. Most of the time it’s just such a headache it seems.

    1. I totally get that! It’s the same way with me. Training the littler ones in “blanket time” and then graduating them to busy box time really helps for us. Then they learn to stay in the same area with the same toys quietly. Most days. 😉

  2. Great ideas! I just followed your Busy Bag board. I have a kindergartner and a preschooler (5 1/2 and almost 3 1/2). The little one usually wants to do everything the big one is doing. Sometimes I just give her coloring sheets or let her watch a video. Busy bags are a much better idea!

    1. I just started using them and really love them! And there are so many creative mamas out there who I can glean ideas from.

    1. Thank you! You too! It’s never “just” one. 🙂 They’re AAALLL a blessing and a challenge!

  3. I really enjoyed the humor in doing something like this 🙂 Thank you for linking up at Tending The Home Tuesdays! I’m a new follower!

  4. LOL! I love your “mom passes out”. I only homeschool one but still it’s nice to know this stuff.

  5. We do a group time to start, like it says in the article and then my toddler and 1st grader get “off the bus” together for a bit. I assigned my 1st grader to be our almost 2 yr old’s buddy. She is in charge of getting him pre-prepped snacks and drinks, playing with him or watching a show. I use that 30-ish minutes to do preschool with my other daughter. Then we have more group time and then my preschooler gets to be the little guy’s buddy while my oldest does Math and finishes up.

  6. We do a group time to start, like it says in the article and then my toddler and 1st grader get “off the bus” together for a bit. I assigned my 1st grader to be our almost 2 yr old’s buddy. She is in charge of getting him pre-prepped snacks and drinks, playing with him or watching a show. I use that 30-ish minutes to do preschool with my other daughter. Then we have more group time and then my preschooler gets to be the little guy’s buddy while my oldest does Math and finishes up.

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