Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Review of Preschoolers and Peace

Preschoolers and Peace Review

I guess I have to start this review by asserting that I never thought that I would see the words Preschoolers and Peace juxtaposed! There's something not quite right about that! Given that I had three of them at once (I know, I know, writing in this crowd there's not really much that's impressive about that statement!), I can honestly say that I didn't experience much peace with my preschoolers - and it had nothing to do with homeschooling! However, Kendra Fletcher of Preschoolers and Peace has had different experiences, as she so aptly chronicles in her $2.99 book Preschoolers and Peace: Homeschooling older kids with success while loving the little ones at your feet (ebook). 

Preschoolers and Peace Review

Consisting of 59 pages, this book explores the conundrum of managing the bigs with the littles in the following chapters:
  1. What a Homeschooling Mom Needs
  2. Preparing Yourself to Homeschool Older Kids With Little Ones Underfoot
  3. Planning Around Preschoolers
  4. How Do I Keep Them Busy?
  5. What Does a 2-Year-Old's Day Look Like?
  6. How Do I Get Any Preschooling Done?
  7. How Not to Just Kill Time
  8. Circle Time: Or How We Pull the Little Ones In
  9. Preschool Boys
  10. When All of Your Kiddos Are Preschoolers
  11. Preschool Chores
  12. Planning for Preschool
  13. When Mama is Worn Out (or Pregnant)
  14. Meal Planning 101
My Impressions

Once upon a time I had 4 under 4. Now my kids are 13, 11, 9, and 9. Clearly, not a preschooler in the bunch! Thus, I had to cast my mind back to a time when I did have preschoolers. When I began officially homeschooling Therese (13), it was halfway through her 1st grade year. She was brilliant and school took about 2.5 hours. I can truthfully say that I did not have trouble dealing with the littles. Why? Because when Therese was 6, my other kids were 3, 3, and 4. They were all the same age! They played with each other for those 2.5 hours! (I always wondered why I couldn't remember having trouble dealing with younger kids while homeschooling the older ones - like all things in my life, the answer comes back to the fact that I had all my kids at one time). I digress, but I do have a point! Kendra actually has a chapter on (almost) this exact situation! Chapter 10 is called "When All of Your Kiddos Are Preschoolers."

What was really exciting to me about this chapter is the fact that I could have written it. It has very helpful tips like scheduling babies (which I was so happy to see in a book - the "s" word is a dirty word in so many circles) and instituting rest time. We *still* have schedules and mandatory rest time in my house, and they are a key part of our day. My kids crave the predictability. For moms who may not have arrived at these solutions to the chaos of preschoolers, though, these tips are sure to be lifesavers!

Chapter 8 - Circle Time - is another chapter that really resonates. Kendra explains how to incorporate all ages into the school day. If learning more about the concept of Circle Time (something we so cleverly call "group subjects" in our homeschool) intrigues you, you'll want to check out Kendra's book dedicated entirely to that subject! 

There are some things in this book that didn't really speak to me (essentially the first part), such as the idea of not finding one's identity in homeschooling momming, but rather only as a child of Christ. I don't think there's anything wrong with seeing yourself as both. I don't agree that "nothing else should define me" other than being a Christian (or a Catholic). Being a Catholic is what I am and who I am to my core. It defines me in every way. However, I don't feel that it is in any way idolatrous to say that I am a homeschooling mother or a freelance writer. To say that I am an extemp coach. To admit that I do define myself by those roles. Now, I live those roles in the context of my life as a Catholic, but I do define myself as those things. 

Perhaps the above is a minor quibble, but because it is how Kendra chooses to begin her book, I thought it was well worth mentioning. There are plenty of people who will want to read the book precisely because of her position on this matter! A few may be put off. Regardless, there is lots of great stuff in this short but meaty book - all moms will be able to take away something from it!

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