Monday, August 25, 2014

Homeschooling with a Toddler???

One of the most common questions that I am asked is, "How on earth do you homeschool with a one year old?". I must admit that it is not easy, but if you get creative, it is possible. This is the second time that I have homeschooled with a toddler in the house. My daughter was a toddler when I first began homeschooling my soon-to-be 8 year old, so I am pulling out my old bag of tricks.

So, how do you homeschool effectively while keeping your little one busy?

1.  Creative Play
Give them creative and fun things to do. Give them activities where they are learning at the same time. I recently came up with a sorting game that I am using for my little guy. I used colorful measuring cups and blocks for this activity. I showed him how to sort color blocks to match the same color measuring cup. He didn't get the color matches correct, but he had fun putting the blocks in the cups. Some other fun activities are giving them cups or containers to stack, blocks, educational toys, Play Dough (for toddlers 2 years and up), and sticking pipe cleaners through a plastic colander was a favorite of my now 5 year old (watch the sharp ends of the pipe cleaners).

(Here is another child doing the "pipe cleaner activity")

2.  Art or Writing
Give them paper and crayons to draw a colorful picture! You could also give them a large sized pencil (the one for beginning writers) and paper and let them write along with the older kids. My toddler enjoyed getting his very own school supplies along with his brother and sister. This of course, included his own writing pad. 

3.  Cuddle
This is one of my favorites :-) While the older kids are engaged and working independently, take some time to cuddle and give kisses. Talk to your toddler, sing some songs, play games, and get on the floor and play with some of those educational toys from creative play! Homeschooling can take a lot of time and energy. Let your toddler know that you are not too busy to give them the attention that they need!

4.  Books!
Picture books are a great way to keep them occupied. Give them many books to choose from and teach them how to sit quietly while looking at the pictures. Take some time between classes to read to them or let an older sibling read to them after their work is complete.

5. Snack Time!
During the times when you need quiet time for your students (lecture times or test times), put them in their high chair or at a table, and give them a healthy snack. It is amazing how much time eating can free up! 

6. Allow Them to Help Out Around the House
Of course, there aren't many chores that a one year old can do, but there are some. Teach them how to put plastic containers and toys away, put books back on a shelf, hand them clothes to put in the dryer, and fold up a washcloth or sock. 

7. Computer Games
Most toddlers are born knowing how to operate a computer. Take some time to play some fun, educational games on the computer. My son loves Sesame,, and he has an ABC account. Of course, you will need to supervise and play along with smaller toddlers.

8. Nap Time! 
Nap time can be your savior. Wait until nap time to complete the more complicated subjects or use this time to give your students more individualized attention.

Lastly, no homeschooling day is predictable, and neither is a toddler. What may work one day may not work on another. So, be flexible. Realize that toddlers learn by play and exploration, so give them plenty of time to just be a toddler. Having fun and spending lots of quality time together is what makes homeschooling so wonderful! 

*Remember that every activity should be supervised and age appropriate*

Blessings in your journey!