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The Pitter Patter of Little Feet
Written by Amber Marie | January 15, 2018
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I found myself at a loss a few weeks ago when it came to my homeschool. I couldn’t seem to steal teaching time with my oldest. When we did sit down to work, a paper or two had disappeared, or manipulatives I had set up for math were scattered across the table or floor. My homeschool day was being hijacked by a little ninja…my toddler.
I’m sure many of you have had similar experiences, especially if you have little ones running around the house. It can be discouraging when you don’t know how to approach these types of situations. So, I took it to Facebook and asked some homeschoolers for their wisdom. While pursuing their replies, I found three common themes.
Many homeschoolers swore by involving little ones in the school time experience. Toddlers love to mimic, and giving them their own school “supplies and assignments” encourages them to copy their older siblings. Some examples—depending on your toddler’s age—are finger painting or coloring, and if old enough, cutting and gluing. Depending on the age of your older children, much of the learning may be more hands-on and less workbook focused, so your little ones can enjoy touching the manipulatives you’re teaching with. Songs and read alouds are another way you can involve your toddlers with the learning.
Another common theme provided by other homeschoolers was having a special place and/or toys for school time. Many have used a playspace such as a mat, carpet, or pack n’ play (if your toddler will be contained) where they can play with “special” toys that only come out when it’s school time. Some even had a special shelf just for their toddler’s “school” toys. Special toys such as sensory bins or magnet boards are some great ways to engage your little one, especially if the toys are only accessible during school time.
With this method, you will need to put time into teaching your toddler about their special spot. It is recommended you do so separate from your usual school day as your toddler may not cooperate the first few times. Time spent training will pay dividends, and allow for limited interruptions during your actual school day.
Schedule School Around Toddlers
Lastly, and perhaps the easiest method, schedule school work around your little ones, perhaps during naptime. Maybe evenings are more efficient, if you have help from a spouse who can occupy your little one. Homeschooling allows flexibility so school time can fit into your daily schedule.
What is Working for Us
In our homeschool, I have found that a combination of these methods has worked. I do our CC review work through songs and videos along with more hands-on learning during the day when my toddler is roaming. Sometimes he is playing by himself, but most of the time he is more interested in joining in on the fun. I complete teacher focused lessons during his afternoon nap. With this approach, both my oldest son and I can focus better because the house is quiet and there aren’t little fingers trying to grab at everything we are working on.
Many of the methods I shared above are common approaches when homeschooling with toddlers. However, there are many methods out there and not all will work the same with each homeschool. Best advice I can give, try each and find which works best in your home with your little one(s).
Check out these posts by other homeschoolers who have gone through this same experience.
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How do you handle homeschooling with toddlers at home? Share your experiences below in the comments. You never know who you may encourage today!