Before I was a mom with five kids, I was a mom with less kids, and once upon a time, not so very long ago, I was a mom who had two little kids. I started my homeschooling journey and I was able to do so much with my little crew of two. We finger-painted, read stories, did music time, did nature walks, and all of those other wonderful mommy-child moments that we all seem to feel make up an idyllic early childhood.
When I bumped up to 3 kids, I had to make some adjustments to create the same dynamic with my third. I would have my oldest doing school, and my younger two would do some fun things by mommy while she was crafting or coloring. I felt like a juggling guru, and things seemed to be totally manageable.
I look back on that mommy-me, and I realize that she had no concept of multi-tasking or juggling. She was a novice. Fast forward to the present day, and life has gotten much more busy. I now have three school-age kids who are vying for my attention, and things have had to get much more organized. I now have a schedule in Homeschool Planet where I have arranged the day based on classes that kids can do by themselves, and when I am necessary. And with three, I basically jump from one subject to the next and have no downtime. It is like when you have the second (or third baby) and you realize that you don’t have synchronized napping times yet and (oh my goodness!) there is no moment of peace.
And while I love all (well most) of the moments in my crazy day, I find myself feeling a little sad because I haven’t been able to have those beautiful, preschool moments with my little 3-year-old. I felt guilty and bummed about it, and told myself that maybe I was just naive as a younger mom when I said that I would do all the same activities with each of my children and not let any later additions just fall through the cracks.
I bought Before Five in a Row and had very good intentions of planning out unit studies. I found gorgeous blogs with printables and stayed up into the wee hours trying to put it all together into a “Row,” but days would turn into weeks (which turned into 2 months!?! and we have only done 1 (albeit a protracted 2 week one because I grabbed ideas from multiple blogs, but still). I just don’t have the time to run and grab all the materials or even plan them out or search blogs extensively.
Then I found Ivy Kids. I am so excited!! I can order a subscription to their service and everything I need to have meaningful preschool experiences shows up at my door. They have themed units that go with great books. There are multiple art, science, math activities and more. I looked up what I would spend to assemble all of the materials myself, and it would run me about the same (although it is true that I would have way more of the crafts because most things come in packs of 12 from oriental trading). But think of the time saved! It is like some fabulous person assembled a kit for me and all I have to do is show up and have fun when I have a spare moment. I can order sibling upgrades too that will let my kindergartner do crafts with my preschooler. They will have so much fun!
I totally recognize that this is not necessary for everyone. We all are in different life phases, and I certainly wouldn’t have needed this before my 4th was ready for preschool while schooling 3 in elementary grades. But I am happy to share a way to have those awesome preschool moments when you just don’t have the time to devote to putting it all together yourself. My mommy happiness and sense of success is so much higher thanks to Ivy Kids. And the best news is that there are tons of box subscriptions available if Ivy Kids doesn’t look like your thing. I started with this list of 10 and settled on Ivy Kids for our family. I googled “preschool subscription box” and found lots of good stuff.
They also let you purchase previously sold kits, so I am really looking forward to grabbing some of the older ones when school budget allows. I want to do the books in the Before Five in a Row book for sure so that I can get other ideas (as time permits) from the blogosphere and from my teacher’s manual. I am starting with Blueberries for Sal and I am so excited about this kit. It is as good or better than any of the amazing blogs’ “rows” I had drooled over. So I get to be awesome without all the work. I will update with our experiences as we go along.