by Maiya Drennen
One of my passions, as a young woman preparing for her future home and family, is learning all I can about homeschooling. This is something that I have known I want to do for my future family for a long time now. I know there are other young ladies like me who wish to prepare themselves for this as well. Those of you who, like me, have younger siblings still in school, have a wonderful opportunity to not only serve your family, but also to get some hands-on experience with homeschooling.
My family has eight (almost nine) children, so we have just about all of the age groups covered.
These are some of the things I have done to get involved with my family’s homeschooling:
I try to keep my little brother occupied, out of the way, and quiet while the older ones do their assignments. When first writing this, I thought, “How is this helping with homeschool?” But it really is. I am not going to start out with children who are doing biology or algebra; I will start out with a toddler whom I am going to have to invest in and care for. So this is the very first step in the homeschooling journey. Most of the time I just let him play on the floor with his toys, but I also read him some of the board books my mom has for babies. I have also found some great educational toddler activities on Pinterest. If you are on Pinterest, I encourage you to find some that you like and try them out.
Take Over Supervising When Mom Can’t
Every once in a while, when my mom has an out-of-the-house engagement, she will ask me to take care of the young school-aged kids’ school work. From personal experience, I can tell you this takes a lot of love and patience! They are just starting out and are new to all of this learning stuff. When helping with these guys, I have had some good days and some bad ones, which is what I know I’m going to get with my own children some day. If you have siblings in this age range, like me, you have a great opportunity to learn how to gently and kindly teach someone. There are so many situations in which your mom may need your help in getting the lessons done, whether it be morning sickness, a long-term illness, a mother who works outside of the home, or even if your family is going through a big transition like moving or a new baby. You won’t be a pro at it, but getting a taste of this will most likely be beneficial for teaching your future children.
Become the Primary Teacher for a Certain Subject
My mom has also let me teach some subjects to my siblings, which is great training experience. I have taught some geography and piano to them, and I have assisted in some co-op classes as well. This is something you are going to have to work out with your mom to see if she will allow it. If she does, that’s great preparation for planning out a curriculum into different weeks and sitting down with it to teach someone. I love doing this; it really is a lot of fun!
Wrangle the Wigglers
Sometimes something simple can be a huge help, like taking the younger siblings to a nearby park or just in the backyard to get some fresh air. That way the other kids who aren’t quite done with their assignments can finish up without little voices distracting them.
Offer Some Incentive
Another idea I have recently begun implementing is to buy a bag of candy and offer a piece out to any of my siblings who can come to me and recite a Bible verse. That’s a great way to encourage Bible memory to your younger siblings. As far as Bible memory goes, they will be eager and excited about it if they see that you are, so make sure you are memorizing, too. As an older sibling, I know I have the incredible opportunity to encourage them in their academic and Bible studies, but I have to show them that I am truly interested in helping them learn and grow.
Don’t have younger siblings? Look around you!
If you don’t have any younger siblings, this doesn’t have to exclude you altogether. Look around your church, or any kind of group you may be a part of. There could be a homeschool mom you know who would be willing to let you come over a couple times a week and assist or help her in a few of the ways I have written about already. This could be a huge blessing to her—especially if she has lots of little ones—and a good opportunity for you! Also, help different families at different times. The more families you are involved with, the more ideas and methods you will learn about. I am pretty sure no two families homeschool exactly the same. This way you can learn multiple different ways of doing things and figure out what does and doesn’t work for your family in the future.
These are a few of the things I have done to not only help my mom out, but also get some hands-on experience with homeschooling. You can be really creative with getting involved, and it is a great opportunity to build good relationships with your siblings—especially when you are willing to help them out with a tough history or English question they are stuck on. This fits in with one of the ways I encouraged older siblings to build a relationship with a younger sibling in my blog post, “5 Ways to Help Strengthen Sibling Relationships.” Also, don’t be afraid to tackle a subject you are less comfortable with once in a while. After all, you’ll have to teach it some day!
As I said at first, having younger siblings still doing school is a wonderful opportunity to learn some homeschooling skills, but I have learned from my mom that it is more than educating us in order to pass a test. She invested a love of learning—investing herself into us—and an understanding that God has given us a wonderful opportunity to learn about His world and, ultimately, about Him. She was so passionate about loving us and spending time with us, and that is why I want to follow in her footsteps and homeschool my own children someday.
Do you have younger siblings still in school? Do you like helping out with their studies? What are some ways you have helped out with your family’s homeschooling? I would love to hear from you!
Maiya is a homeschool graduate currently pursuing a life as a stay-at-home daughter. She enjoys her days teaching piano, volunteering at her local crisis pregnancy center, taking hold of opportunities to encourage and minister to younger girls, doing projects with her seven—soon to be eight—siblings, and writing her blog at Blessings, Bliss, and Bedlam! Follow her on Pinterest and “like” her page on Facebook.