Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Doubling the Fun

I'm currently in my third year of homeschooling. Madison is in first grade now, and I think we've figured out how we work best. She has her strengths and weaknesses (as, I'm finding, do I when it comes to being her teacher) but we're making good progress. And we both love the time we have. A full first grade curriculum only takes an hour or two a day when you're one on one, and it gives her plenty of time to be a kid.

Here's the wrinkle. Two days a week we have another player in the mix. And starting next year, we're doubling our enrollment permanently. This is hard.

I feel like I was pretty good at homeschooling one kid. Homeschooling two feels much like I did when I had the second child. My workload and stress level increased MUCH more than I thought it would. Both girls are still young enough that they need my focus and attention, and when I'm working with one, the other is often off task, or worse, causing trouble. I need a plan and I need something that will hold their attention for them to work independently so I can balance my time.

When I was at Blogger Bash this summer, I spent a long time chatting with the Leap Frog people. Leap Frog always has such great tools for learning, and this year they were rolling out the Leap Start - essentially an interactive lap desk. The books clip into the lap desk, and they can use the attached stylus to interact with the various books that focus on reading, math, geography, and STEM.

This product is excellent for a hands on option that the girls can use independently, and that works at their level. They're using a real book and a stylus, but connecting to the system guides them through reading, math, and STEM activities on their own level. The system is easy to use - open, insert book, power on, go. Both girls can operate it easily, and when it's time for them to switch, all they need to do is swap books. No logging in and out. I can work with one child as the other interacts with the Leapstart, and then switch off. There's no wifi to contend with, so it works on the go no matter where we go.

It's affordable, durable and gets good battery life. When compared to a tablet it's an absolute steal, AND it doesn't let the kids zone out. They're learning independently and engaged. It's been great to help me get my balance under control and make sure both girls are making the best use of their school time so we DO have time to play!

**I received this product in exchange for a thorough and honest review. All opinions are my own.**
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