Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Homeschooling around the Toddler - 0r - Keeping the Cat out of the Toilet.

Toddlers bring lots of sloppy kisses, big excitement and cuteness to the family. But, if they are not properly attended to they can make homeschooling a bit of a tricky endeavour! Ok, let's be honest they can make it seem nearly impossible!

A few tips can make life a lot easier for you and them!

First of all, make sure that you spend some time one-on-one with your toddler before you begin to work with your school-aged children. If you've just spent 15 minutes playing or reading together, the toddler will be more likely to be ready for a change of pace and will be more ready to spend some time in independent play.

Once you and your toddler have snuggled and huddled for 15 minutes or so, get them settled with a "special fun exploration activity." It's good to have these things organized ahead of time, and only available during "teaching time."
There are lots of things that fit this category, if you think about it. Some of them can be store bought but often the best ones are things that are already around the house.

I stumbled upon this great trick quite by accident at first. It was time to work with my youngest school aged child, who was 6 (and my toddler was 2 ) and so I opened the bottom drawer in the kitchen where I keep all the plastic storage containers and lids. I let my little guy have at it and he was amused for half an hour, safely playing with plastic containers. I made sure we were working in a spot where I could keep my eye on him, and where my 6 year old was not able to see him! After all, it sure looked like more fun than learning ways to "make 10."

Some other low cost and fun things to play with are:
  • Shoes and hats
  • Dry pasta and containers
  • Cardboard boxes
  • Water (supervise carefully!)
  • Finger puppets
  • Toys that the older children have outgrown, but haven't made their way officially into the toddlers collection
  • Lace up Games or spools
  • Non-breakable Mirror and a hairbrush
  • Pots and Pans
The list can grow as long as your arm, but these are some free ways to get started. Post a comment to share ideas that have worked for your toddler.

Happy Homeschooling!

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