Saturday, July 6, 2013

Homeschooling With Toddlers and Preschoolers

Recently someone asked me about homeschooling with little ones underfoot.  It's hard to believe that I am past those days!  I knew that I must have blogged about this challenge since I lived it for so many years.  As I was looking for my Mississippi History post, I found this!

This was originally posted in 2009.

Homeschooling with it even possible??

1-3 year olds... 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!


  1. Your organization always astounds me :) I'm not working this summer though, and I've slowly worked into our own little home routine of chores, meals, etc. I really like it; it's a big change for me.

  2. Thanks for sharing. I passed this along to some friends with little ones. Also I was reminded of our similar rotation of "sister time" we had when Lydia was younger that would still help even at almost six years old when she has finished her brief school day. Thanks!

  3. I know I asked you this--thank you so much! We are gearing up for first grade and I appreciate your experience and insights!!