by Christina Paulden
Tips and Tricks for Homeschooling Your Children With Toddlers in the Home
Homeschooling with a toddler in tow can be a challenge, but by including your toddler in the learning process, scheduling play times and nap times around your other children’s schedules and vice versa, and managing expectations on all counts, you can make your days a little easier – not easy – but easier. Here are some tips and tricks for homeschooling with a toddler:
Start the day outside!
Before the start of the school day, take all of the children, including the toddlers, outdoors to play in the mornings for up to 2 hours in good weather and even up to 30 minutes in cold or rainy weather. Your outdoor time can create a more pleasant transition from sleep to school, and your children can burn off some of their breakfast-induced energy!
Toddlers Like to Play School
Let your toddlers also “go to school” with their older siblings. Your toddlers can sit at the same table as your kindergarten and lower elementary school students during a lesson while the upper elementary, middle, and high school students do their independent work. And when it’s time for your toddler to take a nap, you can then transition your focus to your upper level students.
Lower Expectations Regarding Time
After playing outside, your toddler will most likely be ready to sit at the table for school work. Their school work can include drawing while you spend time teaching the other levels. The attention span for drawing could coincide with nap time. Once your toddlers are done with their masterpiece, you can put them down for a nap.
Create a Crate Just For School
Aside from the usual toys and games, keep a special crate for each child just for school time. If your toddler wants to do more school after nap time, they can pull out their crate full of puzzles, books, arts and crafts, and building blocks just for them, just for school time. This is your chance to work with your children in the upper grades.
Flexibility is Key
Nap time is a good time to work on difficult areas with your other children. Or you can work with them during the evenings when the day has settled down. Along with scheduling flexibility, feel free to apply learning flexibility. Teaching your toddler is a wonderful opportunity for your older children to better develop their own learning process. The greatest teacher is actual teaching.
Preschool Is On Its Way
Even if you weren’t homeschooling, you would still need to prepare your toddler for preschool. Now is a great time to help your toddler build skills they’ll need when it is time for preschool. Here’s a list of toddler-friendly activities that helps prepare them for the rigor of preschool:
· Flashcards: letters, colors, fruit, nouns around the home.
· Puzzles and matching activities: colors matching. Your toddler can also say the names of the colors. Shape and color sorting. Clothing matching and naming.
· Alphabet chart with sounds: say each letter’s sound as you go through the ABC’s
· Shapes Puzzle: Shapes plus colors in one puzzle.
· Sticker Chart Reward System: When chart is filled, your toddler can pick from a rewards system.
· Free play bin: allow your toddler to choose the toys that go in their free play bin for the week. Then, when it’s time for free play, they can choose which toy to play with out of their curated selection.
· Hands on activities: Bins for numbers, which teaches color sorting, numbers. Phonics bin, including reading and bingo with matching. Math bin. Life skills bin. Literacy bin. Logic bin. Fine motor skills bin.
· Done stars: put a star on the bin when your toddler finishes that bin’s activity.
· Read aloud time: both fiction and non-fiction books for toddler.
· Toddler standard log: including colors, sizes, reading and vocabulary, position and direction, time, and logic that can guide you in the learning activities.
Homeschooling children with a toddler can be a learning experience for everyone. Whether your older children teach your toddler themselves or your toddler invests in their own learning, you can find a way to make the day about homeschooling.
About the Author:
Christina is a servant to the Father, a wife to an amazing husband, and mother to two wonderful children. Her family is a Hebrew Homeschooling family dedicated to serving the Father. Christina is devoted to supporting other families on their homeschooling journeys. Her passion is creating a thirst for knowledge in her students by bringing fun and excitement to their education.