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



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.

Missed Part One? You can read it here.



Find a place for special boxes/trays so that they are ONLY pulled out at appropriate times. If left out, they lose their appeal too soon. The goal is for children to look forward to using their boxes and therefore look forward to their quiet time or “school” time.

Organization is a life-saver!

When you are sick (or unable to school for whatever reason) children should be able to be directed to their tasks because you and/or they know where things are kept and how to use them.

Practical Tips from Other Moms

Give them an exercise ball, pattern blocks, little figures or something to keep their interest while you read aloud. 

  • My son lives on my exercise ball, even after homeschooling is done. This was a wonderful, inexpensive investment for my very wiggly little guy!
  • After lunch, when their attention flags, I do allow the computer to come on (although only for educational games). That usually buys me enough time to finish schooling the older ones.
  • Things that need focus happen when my toddler naps. My 3-year-old likes to do school work with the older kids, but sometimes he naps as well.
  • Water play is ALWAYS a hit: kitchen sink with painting bib, bowls, cups, spoons and sponges/bubbles. That keeps mine happy for 45 minutes!
  • Biggest factor for me is that while I have young ones, I am not trying to climb mountains. I don’t do projects very often and if I do, it is curiosity led. My oldest are only 8 and 6, so we have a lot of years ahead for cool projects.
  • My favorite method is to have my 3—7 year olds in the room or at the table with us when we’re doing history or science (even math), but occupied with something that is specifically “theirs” for during homeschool time. I’ve been amazed at the amount of information my younger ones have picked up while I was teaching the older ones!
  • Depending on the gender (my boys have to make noise while they work!), activities for my youngers have been: coloring, cutting paper dolls (older age), puzzles (a favorite), play dough (limited because of mess), memory games, doodling, and sorting.
  • My schedule includes “sacred” time with each child in which it is the (nearly) unpardonable sin to interrupt mom and “appointed” student unless there are copious amounts of blood or fire involved. These are small bits of time (always under an hour) with at least a 15 minute break in between for answering questions, etc. If a child gets “stuck” and absolutely needs my help, they have other things they can work on while they wait for me.
  • I have schedules where someone an older child or teen is always “assigned” to the youngest. In a house of many, it’s easy for everyone to take an hour shift and not have it impact their schooling. During that hour (and this is a training issue for both youngers and olders!) it is made clear who is in authority and what their responsibility entails.

Web Links for Early Learner Book Suggestions

As with any book lists – especially the secular lists – use discernment