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Brainstorming for a Large Family with Just Two Children in Mind

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Dear Carrie

Brainstorming for a Large Family with Just Two Children in Mind

I’m a mom of 6 children. One is married with children of his own now! My 19 year-old son is in special education in high school. I use Heart of Dakota with the rest. My 12 and 14 yo are in Revival to Revolution.  My question is about my other two children. One is in Unit 13 of Bigger Hearts for His Glory. The other is in Unit 20 of Beyond Little Hearts for His Glory.  So, it won’t be long until there are two in Bigger Hearts at different places, and then one in Preparing Hearts and one in Bigger. There is no way I can combine – I wouldn’t want to anyway. As we have a large family and these are somewhat teacher-intensive guides, I’d sure be interested in brainstorming about these two children. The rest – I have quite happily figured out. Thanks!

“Ms. Brainstorming for a Large Family with Just Two Children in Mind”

Dear “Ms. Brainstorming for a Large Family with Just Two Children in Mind,”

Brainstorming sounds like a great idea! As far as your situation goes, I would encourage you to choose one set of storytime books to read aloud to the Beyond/Bigger kiddos. I’d follow the plans for the younger guide, so you can keep this pattern going as they head into the next guide too. I would also work toward getting the kiddos who are the most ready to read from their guide to do so as soon and as much as they are able. This doesn’t always mean this will be the older child either!

Brainstorming About Reading: Whoever can read first, should!

Reading can take real time, so it’s worth brainstorming about! If your child eventually heading into Preparing is able to read his/her own history, I would encourage you to let that child do so. Or, perhaps your first Bigger student might be able to read the science (or possibly even the history). I did allow my second son to do this as he was ready in Bigger. My next little ones in Bigger could not do that though, so I read everything aloud to them.

Brainstorming About the Emerging Reader’s Set 

If you have a child in the Emerging Reader Set, I have one brainstorming tip. I find it oh-so-helpful to have that child practice his day’s pages alone first before coming to read to me. This allows the child time to peruse the pictures, figure out difficult words, and ruminate on the story. Then, by the time he/she comes to read to you the reading clips along more quickly. He/she can also answer the follow-up questions more easily. Plus, while the child is practicing on his/her own, you can work with someone else.

Brainstorming That Includes Recognizing Your Self-Starters 

If you have kiddos who are organized or self-starters, I have another brainstorming tip about them! Why not have them get out their own books and do the things they can do? My child in Bigger sang his own hymn in the morning (and we all loved hearing it fill the house). He also did his own copywork in the morning and got out his needed books by checking the guide. Of course, he didn’t do these things when beginning Bigger, but as he progressed further into the guide, he wanted to do more on his own! All of these are time savers and pay big dividends to the parent! Plus, the child is happy to be moving along rather than waiting on mama!

Brainstorming That Includes the Help of An Older Child

Here’s one more brainstorming tip! If you have an older child who is finished ahead of time and is waiting on you, have him/her jump in and help teach one box from a little one’s guide for 5-10 minutes. We do this at times with our older boys, and it helps keep things moving along (and helps me get to the older child faster).

Brainstorming That Takes Advantage of A Morning Recess Break

If you give your kiddos a morning recess break all together, here’s one more brainstorming tip. Why not use that time to check the older children’s work? This will help you make sure they are staying on track. It also keeps you on top of how the more independent kiddos are progressing (and saves derailment later in the day). Once the kiddos’ work is checked, have them clear those books away, as clutter is a joy-stealer! (At least it is for me!)

Brainstorming That Puts “Piles” to Good Use

Here’s a brainstorming tip we use that involved putting ‘piles’ to good use. We have our boys place their books/notebooks/completed work in their own pile on our kitchen counter next to our stove. Each child has his own space for his pile. That way, as time allows, we can check their work. Then, when we have checked it, we move it to the other side of the stove (in a pile). This way, the kiddos can see the work has been checked and put it away. Anything that has been corrected but needs attention, we don’t move to the other side (as a reminder for us to go back and help the child redo that subject). For our littles in the teacher-led younger guides, we check and put away as they go (not allowing them to put anything away until its been checked).

Brainstorming Ideas with the Family Working As a Team in Mind

Anyway, those are just some brainstorming ideas that may help or get you thinking of things that could help. I’m sure you already have discovered many of these things, and probably more that I haven’t listed. We try to think of our family as a team, where everyone must be willing to help one another out to get our day accomplished. If we have appointments or places to go, we will warn the kiddos the night before so they can plan accordingly and are not taken by surprise. Often, our olders might work ahead that evening or get up earlier in the morning then, so as not to be behind. We do not, however, let our littles get up any earlier on those days, as once they’re up the day is officially underway for us all.


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