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Tips for 3 cores!

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    Tips for 3 cores!

    I "only" have 3 children, and this year will be the "hardest" (I think) with no one really able to work by themselves. My kids ages will be 4.5, 6 and 8 when we start. We are doing Jr.k/SCC, MPK, and SC3. I have an idea of how things will work, but I would love to see hear what was helpful when you went from 2 - 3 cores.

    I do not really think my 4.5 year old needs a core, but she needs to be busy! She's a bit of a menace (3rd child and very "spirited"). She does not do well alone. As in, she either destroys the place or cries after 5 minutes. I do plan to work up to her at least playing in her room for 20-30 min, but that will be a work in progress! She does sit in with her brother's lessons quite often (much to his dismay).

    I am aware of all the tricks for combining these ages and selecting only 1 enrichment, but I think I plan to have my 8 year old work with my 4.5 year old on a few of the things in the Jr. K.

    My 8 year old is unable to read aloud to herself at this time for school work. She does it, but she still needs direct supervision when reading these materials (which is why we are doing SC3 and not MP2 or MP3!). My 6 year old is very bright, but is a typical boy. However, unlike a typical boy, his handwriting is actually quite remarkable! He just doesn't have the stamina for it always.

    We have odd scheduling as my husband has a rotating day off each week. So, for example, this week he is off on Tuesday. Next week it will be Wednesday, and the following Thursday, etc. Every 6 weeks he gets a Friday/Saturday off, but then the following week he is working Mon-Sat. It has taken 3 years to be at peace with this schedule. We are aiming for 4 days of school work with an optional 5 day week, when it works with our schedule. In other words, we can complete 4 days a week, but we have 6 days to work with. I know this change at some point, but for now it does and can work for us. We don't always take off if Daddy is off. It really just depends on the day off and what we have going on. I don't mind schooling on Saturday, because we have nothing else really to do!

    We do have busy weeks. Tuesday we watch a boy my son's age for a couple of hours after lunch. This is so good for him and it is not negotiable this year. (I could work with my oldest at this time though). They are good playmates for one another and even my younger daughter plays well with them. The little boy will be in K next year, so this is the last year for it. On Thursdays they all go to gym/swim across the street from our house from 12-2 and on Friday the oldest two attend a Parish religion program called "Atrium" from 1-2:30. That is a little further away so we have to budget time wise 12:30-3.

    I like the structure of having to go places most days, actually. Again, I know this will not go on forever, but we are going to take advantage while we can. This Mama needs friends! I generally start to feel the homeschool drag in late Nov, oddly. The gym/swim class ends, many people are busy with holiday activities (we are not) and my husband starts working insane hours (he delivers the mail!). We push through, but I always sort of hit some doldrum in November and late March. (I like Feb, actually! HA!)
    Last edited by howiecram; 07-25-2017, 09:55 AM.

    DD1 8/23/09 -Mix of MP 6/7
    DS2 9/1/11 - Mix of SC 7/8 and SC 9/10 (R&S 5, FFL)
    DD3 2/9/13 -SC 5/6

    Previous Years
    DD 1 (MPK, SC2 (with AAR), SC3, SC4, Mix of MP3/4, Mix MP5/6
    DS2 (SCB, SCC, MPK, AAR/Storytime Treasures), CLE Math, Mix of MP3/4, MP5 (literature mix of SC 7/8/MP5)
    DD3 (SCA, SCB, Jr. K workbooks, soaking up from the others, MPK, AAR), MP1, MP2

    Re: Tips for 3 cores!

    Hey Christine!

    Sounds like you guys WILL be really busy, but it also sounds like you are comfortable with that, which is great. For your actual school time, would it work if you all worked around a table together? Would anyone be too distracted by that? Because really, you would be "working" with two kids, while keeping the third one "busy."

    I would start out the day with the read aloud book, and any other sort of enrichment you want to do with them together for about 15-20 minutes. Then I would move everyone to the table. I would have things for the 4.5 year old to do, but then also round-robin with the two older ones. It would probably be an hour, to an an hour and half that you could work this way before I would expect the youngest to be tired of being at the table. I would send the younger two to go play while I finished up with the oldest one for a bit longer. Work until that child has had enough, and then take a longer break (usually for us, we are ready for lunch at this point). After lunch I would try to finish anything with the middle child that was not done, while letting the older one try to do some independent reading or work. Get the little two ready for a rest time, and then help the oldest finish up while they are quiet.

    It can take time for the 4.5 year old to get used to a longer stretch at the table, but we give a lot of different things to do...scribbling on blank paper with pen or pencil, actual coloring pages, scissor practice, lacing activities, puzzles, dry erase markers, look-and-find books, sticker books, matching games, card games that they like to lay out and look at, even small hand held toys that can be dressed and redressed. When necessary I even let the youngest ones pull out kitchen bowls, measuring spoons, etc. and play all over the kitchen floor while we are working. Or I have also had an easel nearby that could have paper or chalk for drawing. Oh, and fridge magnets. Anything so that they feel nearby and included, but that frees you up to work with the other two. Some days may be great table work days, others you get more of the nearby things out. It's always a challenge to keep them busy, but it can be done! I keep my dining room sideboard and one of my lower kitchen cabinets stocked with all these things so that they can pick themselves easily.

    We have had at least two people who need my direct help with younger ones running around for at least nine years now, so this has been our general routine for a long time

    Last edited by KF2000; 07-25-2017, 11:14 AM.
    16th Year HSing; 10th Year with MP
    DD, 19, Homeschool grad; college sophomore
    DS, 17
    DD, 15
    DD, 13
    DD, 11
    DD, 9
    DD, 7
    DS, 2


      Re: Tips for 3 cores!

      I found that with my children if I let the one school age sibling go play while I worked with the other, their concentration floundered. So I hopped aroud the table double time so as to keep everyone juggling consistently, and hoping they finished around the same time.

      I also felt that on the days where we did "a little work, a little play" all went well, the day seemed better with attitudes, self-motivation, diligence. By "a little work, a little play" I mean stopping for tea time where we all enjoy a little sip and snack together and then move on to the next school portion together. The kids thought the tea time was special and it was a good break for us all. Now that I'm thinking of it, I should build that into this years agenda.
      2021-2022 year: (all full cores)
      D13 - 8th
      S12 - 7th
      D10 - 5th
      S8 - 2nd
      S8 - 2nd
      S 5 - currently unaware of his MP destiny
      We have used MP exclusively for 7 years (with one sabbatical year in '18 for a breather). Glad we're on the road together!