We have 5 kids total and 4 of them are boys, ages 13, 11, 5 and 3. My daughter is 17 and this will be her last year of homeschooling. She does her work independently and is pretty much gone all the time, so it’s mostly just me and the boys at home.
Homeschooling my boys means that I must have it together every day. They are very active, curious about how things work and always ready to try something new. If I don’t have a plan of action and things to keep them busy, they will wander off, usually to the video games or outside and then it takes me at least an hour to get them focused again.
I have 2 boys that are extremely active and need to be moving constantly and 2 boys that are quiet and calm. It seems that God hard wired boys to be on the go, moving and thinking, preparing themselves to take on the role of leading their own families someday. As their mother, I feel led to train them to conserve that energy for things that are productive and motivate their natural curiosity.
So, I am going to share with you some tips I have picked up over the years on how to keep a house full of boys interested and focused on things other than video games!.
First and foremost, I teach them to love God – This instills compassion and morals in them that they will hopefully carry into adulthood. We read the Bible together each morning before starting school work, we attend church and are active in our community. My husband also reads the Bible with them at night.
Group Time – We have morning group time every day and I use this time to read the Bible, review our memory work, work on our character studies and just have good, quality fellowship time together.
Group Studies – I try to group many of our subjects and activities together. Doing group studies allows the boys more time together and obviously, makes it easier for me to teach them. We also do some fun, competitive games and I have the older boys read to the little ones occasionally.
Activities – I keep activities and projects ready to grab and go. I have Science Boxes, Activity Boxes, Busy Bags, lots of game boards and file folder games, and of course, we have the Legos, K’nex, blocks, race cars and battle zones, all those things boys love. I use a lot of these activities for down time during the school day.
Projects – To keep my boys entertained during school time, we do a lot of hands on projects. We try to do a history project, science project and some sort of art/nature/music activity each week. I try to make their learning as interactive as possible. Otherwise, I will lose them several times a day.
The Little Ones – For my little guys, I keep 2 bins of Busy Bags available for them to play with. I also have lots of coloring pages and art supplies for them, along with wooden puzzles, magnetic pieces and printables that I made. I keep these easily accessible so that they can grab something and play quietly while I work with the older kids.
Quiet Time – We have quiet time at 3pm every day. We started this about 3 years ago and it has worked really well for our family. The little guys take naps around 2-3pm so we have our quiet time then. My rules for this are simple. They must stay in their bed the entire hour and they are allowed to read, play quietly, listen to audios or music with headphones or catch up on school work, as long as it is done in their bed. The older boys have come to love this down time. It helps them to unwind after a long day of school work, arguing, baby crying, fighting for my attention…………….etc, etc.
Food – One thing my boys do a lot of is EAT! Especially my 13yo! He eats constantly and it’s not snack foods. He wants full meals 5 -6 times a day! It amazes me and scares me, because I have 3 more that will go through this stage! So I have found some ways to keep myself from cooking constantly and that is by making meals ahead and freezing them. I make things for breakfast that the boys can grab and go, like breakfast burritos, sausage, egg & cheese English muffins, pop tarts, waffles, pancakes and muffins. I also make a lunch bar with tacos, burritos, sandwiches, fried chicken, fruit and veggies. And in addition to this, I keep lots of snacks on hand. Most of my dinners are made ahead and frozen or I make Crockpot meals.
I do love raising my boys. They definitely keep me on my toes! I spend a lot of prayer time asking God to guide me in raising them, to show me the right way to train them up, and to be patient enough to instill compassion and kindness for others. Homeschooling gives me the chance to be a better mother and for me and their father to have a stronger influence in their lives. Don’t get me wrong, there are days when I just really want to give up and crawl in a hole somewhere. But it passes and after praying, I realize that I wouldn’t trade this life for anything!