Great Guest Month!- Early Learners (3 to 7)- Maggie Hogan- Part One



Maggie Hogan is easily distracted by all things book, geography, history, and grandchild related. She (mostly) lives in Dover, DE with her husband, Bob. They have transformed the Amish barn on their property into an office which houses Bright Ideas Press, their homeschool publishing company dedicated to bringing the best practical, fun, and affordable materials to the market. Products include: the new Illuminations curriculum as well as the award winning: The Mystery of History series, Christian Kids Explore series and WonderMaps geography software.

Maggie is co-author of Young Scholars Guide to Composers, The Ultimate Geography and Timeline Guide, and other homeschooling books. She has spoken across the country and in Canada, written numerous articles/books, and encouraged thousands of moms via conferences, FB, email, Twitter, Skype (and by talking to random strangers on the street).

Although her two (homeschooled) sons are grown, she's thinking about writing a "homeschooling baby" curriculum now that she is the grandma of 2 little girls with another baby on the way! (Can I get a whoot??!!)

She's passionate about Christ, her family, books, travel, homeschooling, and coffee—not necessarily in that order. Look for her online on FB and Twitter under @MaggieSHogan.

Mamas, are you tired? A little overwhelmed maybe? Stuck in a rut? I’m praying these words will encourage you today!

First, with little ones, it’s all about being prepared, yet flexible! Why? Preparation allows for peace of mind and a plan while flexibility allows you to take advantage of teachable moments and life’s unexpected twists.

Second, what are your goals for them? If you haven’t already, think them through and write them down! (It is hard to aim for a goal if you don’t know what it is.) Goals might include:

  • To Love the Lord
  • Obedience to God and Parents
  • Exposure/Learning Opportunities
  • Training
  • Reading and Math Readiness

Here are practical tips to help you better maximize and enjoy your time with the precious little ones God has gifted to you:



Although it seems to take forever to go over rules and procedures time and time again, training now will be a huge bonus when they are older. Tips:

  • Do not let your child rule over you or the household.
  • Do not allow disrespectful voice or behavior.
  • Do not do for your child what he can do for himself.
  • Do train your children to serve others.
  • Tape off (painters tape) or use a blanket or desk to make a space for them to stay in while you are otherwise occupied. These spaces can change from time to time but the idea remains the same. Here are your boundaries – stay put.
  • Where do they sit/work/play during siblings’ school time? Again, define boundaries.
  • Train them to play and entertain themselves quietly. (This is quite easy for some children and exceedingly difficult for others. Use discernment and grace!!)

Children who cannot amuse themselves at a young age often become difficult as they grow older. They tend to look to others for their entertainment instead of drawing on their own resources.

Older children also need the blessing/discipline of learning how to properly look after little ones. It may seem that you are spending half your life training the kids but the fruit will be children who are capable of taking care of themselves, and others, in a Godly fashion.

Bear in mind that training includes the “why” not just the “how.” Attitude is key! This verse is wonderful for both memorization and discussion: Colossians 3:23 (NKJV) “And whatever you do, do it heartily, as to the Lord and not to men…”

Have a Plan

What are they doing while you are working with siblings? Have a plan for each day. Examples:


  • “School Boxes or Trays”
  • Sorting & Classifying
  • Reading Readiness
  • Math Readiness
  • History/Science
  • Fine Motor Skills
  • Imaginative Play        
  • Fine Arts (music, drama, art, story-telling)
  • Chores
  • Planned physical activities and/or outdoor time
  • Planned “free play” (define boundaries)
  • Quiet time
  • Bible time
  • Snack and meal time (small folk often need to eat more than 3 times per day!)

“School” with little ones is about training and readiness: reading readiness, math readiness, and *memorization. They are little sponges – work with them on memorizing:


  • Scripture
  • Songs
  • Poetry
  • Numbers
  • Letters
  • States/Capitals
  • Presidents
  • Whatever you deem important!

*Even if they don’t understand a concept like “states” yet, by the time they are  able to grasp the meaning they will already know the vocabulary.

Reading Aloud
One of the most important things you can do with your children is to read aloud. Every day. Multiple times a day (if possible). I could write a book on this but just trust me for now: Read. Out. Loud. Daily.

Learning through Doing
Most of us learn a new task best by performing it. Our young ones especially need to perform the task, not just hear about it or see us do it. Don’t expect them to be mini-adults. They’re not. They need to: Do. Do. Do. (Ok, don’t say THAT three times fast! LOL!)