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Older kids can greatly help with teaching younger kids. “Older” is obviously a relative term, but even my six year old has done an amazing job at helping younger siblings.
Kids often love learning from other kids, just make sure that you as the mom head any battles off right at the start. Even when the older kids are teaching the younger ones, they are not an authority figure. Sometimes the status of being the teacher can cause these lines to be blurred a bit. There are times that you will have to step in and police a situation when you have children assuming the teacher and student roles.
Here are some of our frequent every day training exercises that can take place among siblings:
- Even before they can read, older siblings can play simple games with their siblings.
- They can do things like lacing cards, shape, color, and letter recognition and even “read” books just by looking at pictures while remembering what they can about the story.
- They can go over opposites or sequencing and even basic story prediction skills, and don’t forget about things like playing Simon Says, singing nursery rhymes, and practicing counting and learning the alphabet.
- Basic skills like tying shoes, doing buttons and zippers, brushing teeth, making bed, putting laundry away, and even picking up are things that older kids can teach younger ones.
These are all the things that we as moms had more time to teach to our older kids, but with a houseful there seems to be less time to go around for these kinds of things. At least around here.
Some more of our favorite activities for siblings to help with include:
- patterning. The older sibling makes a basic color pattern with beads or whatever you have on hand for the younger sibling to continue
- lego mimicking. The older sibling makes a basic lego creation using the larger, Duplo type legos with as few as four or five for the younger sibling to copy
- lincoln log building in the same way as the above legos
- playing store with basic money, teaching basic money skills
- scavenger hunts using clues that involve some age appropriate effort to figure out
- basic domino trains matching up the same number from one domino to the next
Once the older siblings can read, a whole new world opens up. Then they can
- read books
- this book Slow and Steady Get Me Ready or this book Language and Thinking for Young Children are great for older kids to use with younger ones
- activity books. Older siblings can help the younger ones complete books like this Everything for Early Learning, Grade Preschool
- online computer games including sites like PBS Kids are fun for all involved
- we love this http://allinonehomeschool.com for the younger ages. Not sure about the older grades, like above 5th so much, but this is a great website for younger ages for sure
- my older kids are older, in their teen years, and they do step in to teach the more formal school from time to time. Just be sure to refrain from having your children teach subjects that are frustrating subjects for the learner.
I hope these ideas have given you some things to get you thinking of how your older kids can help with the younger ones. I simply keep a laminated list of these kinds of ideas posted right where we keep the school supplies for younger kids that I mentioned in earlier posts this week. The older sibling can just come and read the list, deciding on what they want to teach that day. Sometimes I will assign things that I want done, but most times I let them pick.
In every homeschooling family I know, it really is a group effort. Here are some ways to enlist the help of your older kids. Pick a few and try them out!
For the first post in this series, go to Homeschooling a Series Day One
Second post: Homeschooling a Series Day Two
Third post: Homeschooling a Series Day Three
The final post in this series tomorrow will be on organizing your homeschool things.
Looking for more on how to get started? You may like Why We Prefer Year-Round Homeschool, 5 Steps to Follow When Choosing a Homeschool Curriculum, or Balancing the Home in Homeschool.