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  • Writer's pictureElyse Marie

The Importance of Puzzles, Building Tools & Morning Quiet Time

So you've started homeschooling your little one... and creating a routine is like pulling teeth. What do you do? How long do you work?

First tip- one hour before learning time begins, we take away all electronics. Actually in our house, we don't allow any tv or iPads or electronics first thing in the morning at all. After breakfast, we send the kids to straighten their beds and clean up their rooms. This doesn't need to be perfect, this just starts their brain in understanding that the work day is beginning. After straightening, they both get dressed, brush teeth and hair, and get settled.

Our 5th grader begins school at this time, but for our Kindergartener we choose to begin school at 10 AM. So from about 9 am to 10 am, I work and my son is expected to constructively play quietly. Those activities are typically legos, connectors, marble runs, or puzzles.

With these activities, our son really settles down and tunes into the day with a bit more focus than before.

The first few weeks are TOUGH making this change... that's ok. Give yourself and your child some grace.

Go to garage sales, make shopping for puzzles and interactive quiet time tools FUN... and make it affordable. Don't allow them to play with these items when you get home from shopping... put them aside and let them know they are for the school mornings. This helps create a bit of anticipation. Keep an assortment of sizes, normal board puzzles, wooden puzzles, and floor puzzles.

Once you have a few items, be prepared to spend the first week helping them through some of these activities. By about the 3rd week you should begin to see some independence and leveling out on any fit throwing that comes your way from the routine change.

Why puzzles and building activities? We're building focus, encouraging problem solving and pattern recognition along with hand-eye coordination in fine motor skill development. We're encouraging 'play' before school... but making quiet time this routine mandatory. I highly encourage you to not allow any electronics to overlap this time other than maybe light music. It's really important, now more than ever, to teach our children how to focus and complete one task at a time. Conquering insecurities and anxieties through teaching persistence and rewarding completion.

Now, leave the puzzles aside and walk away to a different area to begin school. The reason we leave the puzzles out is after about 30-50 minutes of school we take brain breaks. Those breaks include returning to our puzzles, connectors, marbles, legos, car tracks (the kind he has to build) or outside time. We encourage puzzles through the morning with our first morning break. Then after he cleans up he can get a different 'station' out for his afternoon breaks. You want their play time to still be learning time but without instruction.

Would you like to learn more about the benefits of puzzles? Here's a few resources just for you!

This post will not contain links to free puzzle curriculum, but again I do encourage you to scout out and about at your local consignment and garage sales for some inexpensive puzzle or building games for them.

BUT I DO have links to free building worksheets to add into your day!

Another I like on Science and Engineering (Balance) Lego project is here:

Best wishes to you!


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