Teaching 3 children together

Many parents have asked how I manage to teach 3 little children at home and what’s my schedule. Here’s a short post…

3 out of 5 weekday mornings, Vee does 1 hour of home-learning / home practice with me before going off to kindergarten. (The other 2 mornings, our Malay home tutor takes over because I can’t teach a language I don’t know.)

Anyway, during those 3 mornings, I have to teach Vee with the 2 little ones hanging around. They choose to play or do activities too. (After sending Vee to school, then I’d focus more on them.) And here’s where Montessori method is fabulous…

A sneak peek into yesterday morning’s peaceful session where my job as a “Montessori home directress” was  to stand back, observe and assist only when needed. With time to take photos too!

El (1 year 9 months) was working with locks and keys. He enjoys saying “unlock”. And during the day, if we say “undo”, “untie”, “un-[fill-in-the-blank]”, he’d say “unlock”.

Great way to do big / medium / small matching of locks and keys, and train up fine motor skills too.

locks keys el

At a nearby table, Jae (3 years 9 months) was busy with mazes. For such activities, we always use:

  • tray to hold stationery
  • dry-erase marker pen (I love Crayola ones, non-toxic, no pungent smell and rather washable.)
  • small whiteboard duster
  • plastic sheet protector (so that the activity book / worksheet / printable can be used over and over again. Great with multiple children.)

Vee used to enjoy mazes during Shichida classes too. Now it’s Jae’s turn. He has finally learnt how to work his way out of the mazes independently, and doesn’t need my close guidance anymore.

maze jae

At a higher study desk in a corner, Vee (6 years 5 months) was busy self-learning Chinese. He’s been fascinated by this Chinese strokes reference book and is in a writing frenzy again.

He’d copy each character by following the strokes order and figure out how to read them by guessing the hanyu pinyin (which I haven’t formally taught him yet).

And this is a boy who “hated” colouring and writing at 4 years old. Thankfully, I followed the Montessori method and let him bloom at his own time.

vee chinese writing

So taa daa… a successful and peaceful morning learning session during which the self-correcting materials did the teaching work and I just had to stand back and watch.

Want to know how to achieve the above? I’d be launching my NEW home practice intensive workshops (KL 6 Sep 2015 and SG 6 Dec 2015) real soon. In the meantime, enjoy the new posts.

Part 1: Core elements of unleashing your child’s potential

Part 2: The most important thing before teaching your child

Part 3: Grabbing your child’s attention for learning

P.S. Check out my NEW home practice intensive workshops on (KL 6 Sep 2015 and SG 6 Dec 2015) here.

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7 thoughts on “Teaching 3 children together”

  1. Hi
    Can you tell me please if you have different montessori shelves for each child and how do you stop them from messing up each other’s shelves and activites? I have a 4.5 years old and 18 m.o. Older one have an area in the living room with her shelves with activities, but since baby was born I put a baby gate around it , so baby can’t get to dangerous things there, and she can’t really open it herself, and she doesn’t like asking, so she rarely goes in to pick anything, but if she does – she sits there all the time which make it difficult to join in and observe. 18 m.o. can’t keep off from messing activites up. We can’t even read a book without it being messed about by the younger one, let along trying to do a lesson with the older one.
    Thank you

    1. mievee @ mummyshomeschool.com

      Hi Katja, for baby or early toddler stage, gates / playpens / play-yards work. For instance, the first picture shown in this post:

      For a mobile toddler, I prefer to have a toddler area plus toddler-friendly activities on all shelves, at the lower 2 levels. The preschooler materials are on the top shelves which are too tall for him to reach yet.

      My younger ones are intrigued by the Montesssori knobbed cylinders from 1+ year old. I remove the tiniest pieces and let him work with the larger 5 pieces. When the younger is well-engaged in his own activities, be it free play, or doodling on magnetic board, I can focus on the older ones better.

      Otherwise, we also spent breakfast time doing activities. The youngest sleeps in later and eats later. So when I’m feeding him breakfast or he’s self-feeding, I’d teach the older ones. After breakfast, he may also play with some toys while in the highchair for a good 15 minutes, so I’d continue teaching. Then we move to the usual learning area with open shelves.

      For reading, how about some baby-friendly board books or hardcover books for him to explore while you tend to the older one?

      Hope this helps. 🙂

  2. Thank you for your reply. I have baby gated area, but it’s for keeping older daughter’s shelves safe. But the baby gate’s door too difficult to open for her (for the older one) and she hates asking, so most of the activites sit untouched there. The 18m.o. pulls things off the shelves through the bars though 🙂 I take lots of hard cover, thick books from the library for the toddler, but she’s only interested in bringing books, and keeps closing them or tries to close the book we’re reading, or turn the pages randomly. I suppose it’ll sort itself out at some point but it’s very frustrating at the moment. The toddler wouldn’t do any activites by herself, even those she’s really interested in (like locks etc). If she sees I’m doing anything with her sister she comes and tries to break us up, and I have to pay attention to her or she goes crazy screaming. This looses attention of my 4.y.o, she gets frustrated and angry, especially when I stop mid-sentence in the book, or explaining activity… I should try meditation with her. Don’t know where to start. Just bought a book called “sitting still like a frog”, still don’t know how and when to do it.

    1. mievee @ mummyshomeschool.com

      Understand your frustration because it happens to us sometimes too. One way is to start activity with the younger one first. Even if it’s 15 minutes, she may be satisfied. Hugging, relaxation, breathing and meditation are great before lessons. Here’s a related post: https://www.mummyshomeschool.com/relaxation/

      Also, if the child screams to get attention, I’d ask him to calm down and breathe. When he’s calm, then I give him more attention.

      And to keep teaching the younger one to “leave other’s work alone”.

  3. Hi Mievee,

    My 3.5y is very keen on learning to write number and letters, and he has been practicing on his easel and magnetic drawing board. I intend to get him an adjustable writing board so that he can sit at his desk to write comfortably. I noticed that Vee is using one in your picture. Can you share where you bought the wooden writing board from please? Thanks!

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