Kindle price: $2.99
So, in a book on how to keep little ones content, where does Kendra begin? In Chapter One: "What a Homeschooling Mom Needs," she begins with the mom. So, what does a homeschooling mom need? She needs to find her identity in Christ, and Christ alone. While I do know this, and try always to make my God and my Savior Jesus Christ the foundation of all that I do, including my identity, it is a good reminder. She gives practical advice on what this should look like in relation to my preschooler, but she does not tell me practically what this should look like in my life in relation to my relationship to Jesus Christ, which is the point of this chapter. If nothing else should define me - if I am not defined by my role as a mother of a preschooler, then why not tell me practical ways to find my identity in Christ outside of that role?
Chapter Two: "Preparing Yourself to Homeschool Older Kids With Little Ones Underfoot" begins with "Preparation is the key to successful homeschooling." She isn't talking about preparation in terms of gathering curriculum, books, or supplies, but rather in the preparation of your heart. She does this through prayer and shares tools that have helped her get in the habit of praying.
In Chapter Three: "Planning around Preschoolers," Kendra talks about schedules saying that "a purposeful routine will contribute greatly to maintaining a peaceful atmosphere in your home." Then she offers some practical advice on how to create a routine. Her strategies and tips are helpful, though I wish she would have included a tip on how to schedule in activities when you don't have a toddler that naps. Bo has not napped since he was 2 years old and having a schedule is almost impossible when you have a very busy two, three and now almost four year old that likes to keep himself busy (which usually means making a mess somewhere in the house).
Kendra shares a sample of her schedule, but does not include preschoolers in her schedule, because that is not where she is at now. I think she should have included a sample schedule that includes preschoolers, even if it was her schedule a year or two ago, since that is what this e-book is about.
"How Do I Keep Them Busy?" is the title of Chapter Four. Kendra gives a list of activities. None of the activities are new to me, but to a new mom they might be helpful.
Kendra offers some of the strategies that she hints at in the last chapter in Chapter Five: "What Does a 2-Year-Old's Day Look Like?" This is more helpful. Now, take that list from Chapter Four, and divide them up into Breakfast activities, Circle Time activities, Table Activities, etc. If you really want to help me through my day, don't just give me a list of ideas - show me how to incorporate them into my day!
In Chapter Six: "How Do I Get Any Preschooling Done?" Kendra tells me to relax. There's no need to do anything formal with my 3 year old. If by formal, she means intentional, I don't agree. If you read my blog, you know that I like to be intentional in our learning, but you also know I like to make learning a delight for my children. I do many of the things she suggests, but I am intentional about doing them.
Chapter 7: "How Not to Just Kill Time," was written for the mom who has too much time on her hands. Except, I'm not sure she answered her reader's question. It sounds like her reader is asking her how to make the really long days go by quicker. She's not at a loss for what to do with herself (don't us mom's need more time for ourselves?). She clearly says, "I'm at a loss with what to do with them!" I've been that mom wishing my days to go by quicker, overwhelmed with little ones. It was only when I stopped wishing my days away that I truly embraced them for all that they could be. I think a better answer would be to teach your little ones to play by themselves, so you can have some time to pursue some of the ideas she suggests. I have a lot of chores, personal interests and hobbies, so I personally need my children to play by themselves a lot! If my kids don't want to play by themselves, I offer to give them chores instead. The younger children quickly learn to value their free play time. (Though, my preschooler loves to help clean and that is play to him!)
Chapter 8 is a teaser called "Circle Time, or How We Pull the Little Ones In." After the mention of Circle Time a couple times and a promise that we'll get to that soon, when we did I was disappointed. Basically, "circle time" is a group teaching time, but if you want to learn more, you have to buy Kendra's eBook called Circle Time.
In Chapter 9: "Preschool Boys" Kendra refers back to her list of activities in Chapter Four, and offers a little more strategy in using that list.
Chapter 10: "When All of Your Kiddos Are Preschoolers" is a practical list of survival tips written by Kendra's friend Rachel.
Chapter 11: "Preschool Chores" is a list of age appropriate chores for two, three, four, and five year olds.
Chapter 12: "Planning for Preschool" is about teaching obedience before you start a preschool program.
Chapter 13: "When Mama is Worn Out (or Pregnant)" offers suggestions on making changes for that season of life, and then Kendra offers her personal list of survival tips, which includes prayer and caffeine. I can't have caffeine, so I assure you, it is entirely possible to make it through trying seasons of life without it. Plus, you don't want to drink a lot of caffeine if you are pregnant. I'll go for herbal tea with xylitol, though! And I agree with her other bare minimums.
Then Kendra offers a section on Meal Planning 101, A Final Word of Encouragement, and Resources (links). (The links I visited take me to her blog, where she shares an encouraging post or helpful tip).
It's hard for me to recommend this book because I feel my experience takes me well beyond the content of this book and it didn't have much of an impact on me. But, I do think I would enjoy reading her blog and I think new homeschooling moms with preschoolers would benefit from this book the most.