Do you get nervous
when it gets really quiet around your house? Do you have to put
markers, glue and other creative art supplies up on a high shelf? Do
step stools located in unusual places around the house make you
cringe? If you have answered yes to two or more of these questions,
then you must have a toddler living in your home. Toddlers are a joy,
there is no doubt about that, but they can also create havoc if left
alone with nothing productive to do for too long...
There are three strategies to use when
homeschooling with toddlers in your home and these are 1. Keep them
busy, 2. Divide and Conquer and 3. Get Creative. Let's look at
each one as you will want to employ a combination of strategies in
your home to get the most enjoyment with your older and younger
KEEP HIM BUSY
1. Have a special school box for your
toddler that they only use during school time. It may include
special crayons to be used during handwriting time, snap cubes to be
used during math time, etc. Our special preschool box is filled
with ziploc activities - see
Paula's Archives (parental note: there are some
link problems on this site, so we have temporarily removed the
hyperlink until the website owner can fix the problem) for tons of ideas. This box is to be kept
aside for use only during school time so that it remains fresh and new
for the child.
2. Offer special high chair activities
during school time. Put shaving cream in a gallon ziploc bag and
let the child "write" with a finger on it and erase by squishing it
around. Offer finger-paint or play dough. Have a big
tupperware container filled with dry beans or split peas and let your
child use scoops or measuring cups to pour it from one container to
another. Yes, you'll have to clean it up later, but it may buy
you 30-45 minutes of teaching time with another child.
3. Put the step stool up to the kitchen
sink, close the drain and run a drizzle of water into the sink along
with a little bit of dish soap. Give your child some plastic
cups, bowls and spoons to "wash". He'll feel glad to know that
he is helping with the chores.
4. Get book and tape kits from the
library. Your toddler can listen to the story through headphones
while "reading" the book.
5. Have your read aloud time with your
older students right outside the open bathroom door while your younger
child plays in the tub.
6. Have special toys for use during
school time. Rotate these toys so that they are always fresh and
DIVIDE AND CONQUER
1. While working on a specific subject
with one older child, have the other older child play with the
youngest child in her room. This is a special play time
together. Then switch off.
2. Have dad teach certain subjects.
My husband teaches science and logic to the older kids. This
frees me up to spend time with my younger children.
3. Have middle grade students do certain
subjects independently. After giving instruction, send them off
to work on the assignment on their own.
4. Hire a homeschool teen (or ask
Grandma) to come over and play with the youngest child while you "get
serious" with the older children.
5. Swap school time (or toddler time)
with another homeschool mom. That way each of you can have two
or three days of concentrated school time each week.
1. Have school time during nap time.
2. Work on some school subjects at night
while dad is home to play with or put the youngest to bed.
3. Do some fun activity with your
toddler before you begin school. This will cause her to be
happier playing for a while on her own.
4. Don't do every subject every day.
Combine subjects or possibly double up on some school work on certain
days. For example, do a whole week's worth of science on one
5. Be willing to do some school work on
Saturday when dad is home.
6. Use smaller amounts of time for
school. A block of 4 hours may not be possible at this time, but
45 minutes to an hour at a time may be doable.
7. Read aloud during breakfast and lunch
(while youngest is contentedly eating in his high chair).
8. Understand that your homeschool day
will not look like a classroom day during this season of your family's
life. And this is OK!
Enjoy this season of your child's life,
knowing that it will not last forever and that you are not alone.
Your toddler will only be at this stage for a couple short years and
next thing you know, he'll be in kindergarten. They are only
young once and it is a precious, precious time. Don't wish it
away! And try to stay flexible, toddlers change from one day to
the next. Just when one strategy may be working for your family,
he'll change and you'll need to try something else to keep the school
day flowing. Above all, give him lots of hugs and kisses during
your school day which will reassure you both that he is not an
interruption, but a blessing.
Enjoy your school
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