Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Homeschooling With Toddlers

Homeschooling with it even possible??

I recently had an email from a friend asking me for suggestions for how to keep her toddler occupied during their schooltime. Here is my response:

1-3yo.... When mine were that age, I just kept them on my hip! :) Also, I planned our school day where each older child had a 30 minute block of playing with the baby. Each child played with the baby in a different location (Clay--outside; Julie--in the child's room; Olivia--in the playroom or den). Then for each location, I typed a list of what they could play each day. Outside--M-chalk; T-balls, etc. Child's room--M-play kitchen; T--baby dolls, W-legos, etc. Playroom--M-lincoln logs; T-wooden train; W--balls; etc. You get the idea. Now, I did not REQUIRE that they do the scheduled activity, but it gave them an idea of what to do if they couldn't think of something better. The suggested activities were typed and taped inside the closet of each room. When about 5 minutes were left, I would instruct them to clean up whatever they played with. They were also taught not to destroy the room, but to play with one or two things at a time, and clean up the activity before moving to the next one. I alternated sibling playtime with time in the room with me, either with no scheduled activities (I could just hold them or supervise them playing with the toy basket or book basket in our schoolroom), snack time, or playtime with specific toys stored in the schoolroom (like Little People sets, stacking blocks, anything developmentally appropriate.)

Small children (well, really children of all ages) appreciate order and routine to their day. The predictability of playing with siblings and being with Mama, in the same order each day allowed the toddler to happily participate in our day.

This has always worked for me and my homeschool!
Please visit We Are That Family for more tips and ideas.


  1. The older sibling with younger sibling time works great! Several years ago, I had about an hour and a half every morning where each younger had 20 minutes with an older child. It worked so well! I need to institute that again, except probably have about 2 olders per day, since they have more school to do now. Also lately I'm simply biting the bullet and doing my I-really-can't-be-interrupted school with the olders during the youngers nap time - how does it work? I have them nap on the couch while I read aloud to the olders.

  2. Thanks Roan, you always inspire! I really appreciate your ideas on this one. It's an encouragement to pull it together and make a plan! Have a blessed week- Laura