What My 4-Year-Old Does While We Homeschool

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Stickers.  Mostly stickers.  More on that later.

We're still relatively new to homeschooling - my oldest daughter, Lena, is only in 1st grade.  There's a LOT that we still need to figure out, but overall I feel like I've got things under control with the homeschooling aspect of our home life.  What I REALLY struggle with, though, is keeping my 4-year-old, Maggie, happy and occupied during homeschool time.  I want for her to get as much attention as her big sister gets, and I want her to have a fun and exciting preschool experience that prepares her for kindergarten next year!

[Related Read: Our First / Second Grade Homeschool Curriculum Choices]


When Lena was younger, I able to do a lot with her for Home Preschool and Maggie participated as she got older.  Now though, it's just not possible for me to do first grade homeschool PLUS the same sort of activities of a full homeschool preschool program.  Luckily, there are lots of things that she enjoys doing that build necessary preschool skills, and that allow her to participate as much as possible in our homeschool routine.

What My Four-Year-Old Does While We Homeschool. Struggling to keep younger children occupied during homeschooling? Here's what works for us! Includes academic learning, creative resources, and free play!

Here's what Maggie does during our homeschool time.

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Participate


I try to have Maggie participate as much as possible!  She listens and participates in conversation when either Lena or I read aloud.  She likes to answer some of the questions from Lena's copywork and narration practice.  She enjoys memorizing and reciting some of the same poems as Lena.

What My Four-Year-Old Does While We Homeschool. Struggling to keep younger children occupied during homeschooling? Here's what works for us! Includes academic learning, creative resources, and free play!

Maggie also participates in our Expedition Earth geography lessons with us, and watches and participates in science.  She doesn't always want to do arts and crafts, but she does choose to join in for some of those projects as well.

Learning Activities


Maggie enjoys doing pencil and paper school work.  While I'm not crazy about a 4-year-old doing much "academic" learning I'm happy to provide her with however much she wants to do.  

What My Four-Year-Old Does While We Homeschool. Struggling to keep younger children occupied during homeschooling? Here's what works for us! Includes academic learning, creative resources, and free play!

One of her favorite books is the The Never-Bored Kid Book.  There's also a companion book,  The Never-Bored Kid Book 2.  There are loads of mazes, scissor skill pages, puppets to cut out and color, matching, gluing, and things to fold.  She grabs this book from the shelf most every day.  She can do many of the pages by herself, but does need help on some of the activities.

I also grab simple workbooks from the Target dollar section or the dollar store if I see something that I think she'd like.

What My Four-Year-Old Does While We Homeschool. Struggling to keep younger children occupied during homeschooling? Here's what works for us! Includes academic learning, creative resources, and free play!

Maggie is also anxious to learn how to read!  We used the Bob Books successfully with Lena, so we're working through them with Maggie as well.  When Lena is working independently, I work with Maggie on her reading.  (Not all 4-year-olds should be learning to read.  Maggie has expressed interest, goes through VERY SHORT lessons willingly, and has demonstrated many signs of reading readiness.) 

What My Four-Year-Old Does While We Homeschool. Struggling to keep younger children occupied during homeschooling? Here's what works for us! Includes academic learning, creative resources, and free play!

I've also made Maggie a daily notebook to use this year to give her a little bit of practice with calendars, forming her letters and numbers correctly, and basic weather and time.  I combined some of my favorite pages from the daily notebook printables from both Confessions Of A Homeschooler and 1+1+1=1.  We work though several pages of this while Lena is doing quiet work or reading.

By the way, we LOVE the Crayola Washable Dry Erase Markers.  I used to get nervous giving my girls regular (non-washable) dry erase markers, but these are great.  They also don't smell like other dry erase markers!

Stickers 


I wasn't kidding when I said, "stickers."  Maggie loves stickers like nothing else.  When we go to buy something with her allowance money, she picks stickers.  When she earns a prize or reward, she wants stickers.  When I ask her what she wants to take along to keep herself busy during big sister's lessons or activities, she chooses stickers.  There are ALWAYS stickers out around here.

What My Four-Year-Old Does While We Homeschool. Struggling to keep younger children occupied during homeschooling? Here's what works for us! Includes academic learning, creative resources, and free play!

Naturally, it's one of the things she chooses most often to do during homeschool time.  Most of her favorites are from Melissa & Doug.  These sticker pads are fairly inexpensive, nice quality, and they come in lots of different styles and scenarios.  Some of her favorites have been:
Lately she's been making little sticker scenes and then writing a story to go along with it.

Coloring


What My Four-Year-Old Does While We Homeschool. Struggling to keep younger children occupied during homeschooling? Here's what works for us! Includes academic learning, creative resources, and free play!

I love giving Maggie Dover Coloring Books to color in during homeschool time.  They are available in practically any theme that your child might be interested in, so that they can learn AND color.  I also like them because many of the areas to color are small, so they require more fine motor precision than many other coloring books. Her favorites have been  Ballet Class, Favorite Ballets, Unicorns, and Favorite Fairy Tales.

What My Four-Year-Old Does While We Homeschool. Struggling to keep younger children occupied during homeschooling? Here's what works for us! Includes academic learning, creative resources, and free play!

She mostly colors with good ole' Crayola crayons or colored pencils.

Favorite Toys


What My Four-Year-Old Does While We Homeschool. Struggling to keep younger children occupied during homeschooling? Here's what works for us! Includes academic learning, creative resources, and free play!

Maggie also has plenty of time for good old fashioned play.  Our favorite toys are open ended to allow for creativity.  

What My Four-Year-Old Does While We Homeschool. Struggling to keep younger children occupied during homeschooling? Here's what works for us! Includes academic learning, creative resources, and free play!

These wooden blocks get lots of use around here.  Maggie builds playgrounds and castles all over our living room floor.

What My Four-Year-Old Does While We Homeschool. Struggling to keep younger children occupied during homeschooling? Here's what works for us! Includes academic learning, creative resources, and free play!

She's also learning how to build with LEGO.  The "junior" sets are perfect for her.

What My Four-Year-Old Does While We Homeschool. Struggling to keep younger children occupied during homeschooling? Here's what works for us! Includes academic learning, creative resources, and free play!

We also have WAY too many wooden puzzles from Melissa & Doug (my fault- puzzle addict here!) and I often pull them out for Maggie to work on.

What My Four-Year-Old Does While We Homeschool. Struggling to keep younger children occupied during homeschooling? Here's what works for us! Includes academic learning, creative resources, and free play!

There you have it!  That is what my four-year-old does during homeschool time.  How do YOU keep your younger kids happy and occupied during your homeschooling?

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