My homeschooling journey has changed through the years as I’ve adapted from homeschooling one child, to two, to two with an infant, to three with a toddler.
I know most everyone agrees that the level of difficulty of any particular homeschooling situation is kind of a perspective thing, but I will say that I’m not sure there’s much that’s harder than trying to homeschool children with preschoolers underfoot.
I had the privilege of hearing Kendra Fletcher share some wonderful words of wisdom from her life as a homeschooling mother of eight, back at the very first 2:1 Conference in 2012. I have since found myself routinely visiting her blog Preschoolers and Peace for information, resources, tips, and sometimes, in a desperate attempt to save my sanity!
When I heard that she’d compiled all of her valuable input into an eBook, I was eager to check it out!
The first thing I noticed about Preschoolers and Peace: Homeschooling Older Kids with Success While Loving the Little Ones at Your Feet was that it was not a super-long book. To me, that means I can get in, get what I need, and get on with my job!
Kendra has made that perfectly possible by generously dividing her topics among thirteen chapters. Her honest, heartfelt encouragement flows from the Introduction (“Homeschooling successfully with little ones underfoot is entirely possible…”) all the way through the book. You feel like you truly have a comrade down in the trenches with you who knows how to navigate this territory (“…there is no one else who will ever be the mother of these 8 children…”).
Kendra’s initial emphasis on prayer was such a welcome reminder to me for two reasons:
- It can be so easy while in the everyday routine to forget the prominent place that prayer really deserves in our lives as homeschooling moms.
- It is wonderfully relatable and comforting when Kendra shares that it was a realization she herself had to come to!
I realized at some point that I needed to get into a habit of praying, because all too often my first thought was ‘What do I need to do to fix this situation?’ rather than running to prayer.
With great ideas for being intentional about the inclusion of prayer in our everyday lives, I loved the way she led things off with this topic instead of giving it a later place in the book.
As I said before, Preschoolers and Peace can easily be read in one sitting. But, the meat of the eBook can be so much to chew on that I found myself referring back to the book several times over the course of the weeks that followed my initial reading.
I think that makes it perfect; it’s short enough to remember the chapter topics and rich enough to make you want to go back for more!
While I enjoyed reading the entirety of the book because there were wonderful reminders even in the midst of chapters I didn’t feel as drawn to, the chapters I garnered the most help from and found myself returning to were entitled, “How Do I Keep Them Busy,” “How Not to Just Kill Time,” and “Circle Time or How We Pull the Little Ones In.”
Each one of these chapters is chock full of great ideas for accomplishing much when preschoolers are in the mix. I’ll be totally honest, after starting out by jotting down several of the suggested activities in the “Busy” chapter, I finally just printed the pages and stuck them in my homeschool lesson planner!
Included in the eBook are a few lovely pictures of Kendra’s children engaging in some of the activities she found helpful while homeschooling with preschoolers around. The book is written in a wonderfully friendly style that makes it a whole lot less parenting-expert-barking-at-you and a whole lot more this-chick-has-been-where-I-am-and-this-worked-for-her.
Since getting my hands on this great little eBook, I have recommended it to several friends and will continue to do so. For those who are just getting into this stage of wrangling preschoolers and toddlers while trying to “do” homeschool, this book is an invaluable source of encouragement, support, ideas, and resources for getting through your days with a sense of accomplishment!