View Full Version : Homeschooling with toddlers in tow

08-05-2010, 05:07 PM
I'm sure this is one of those things that crops up often! I'd like to mine for ideas on how to keep my toddler (20 months) occupied while helping the older kids (11 yrs and 9 yrs) with their studies. This is our first year and we're planning on doing a very relaxed eclectic thing (read: winging it), so I'm not totally stressed about them being completely sitting down with a book and workbook all the time, but I would like them to have the opportunity to concentrate on what they're doing! And for me to be able to concentrate if I'm doing any teacher-y stuff.

Any ideas? How do you work it out in your home?

08-05-2010, 06:16 PM
If I figure it out i'll tell you. I'm trying to do this with a 4 month old.

08-05-2010, 06:18 PM
Honestly, I don't know how other moms do that. But I do think that organization is the key. Know what you are going to work on with your older children ahead of time, so that when your little one is napping, or happily occupied, you do not waste valuable time figuring out what you are going to do. Some books and parents have recommended keeping a separate box of toys for your toddler that is off limits, except when you are doing school with siblings. Some recommend paring down the teacher portion of instruction to what is most essential, and doing this when your little one(s) are sleeping. I juggled young kids and older kids, none of whom had any sort of set daytime sleeping habits, and it was quite stress inducing. I would recommend keeping your current idea well in mind, with doing things in an eclectic manner that is not stressed, and to take advantage each day of any down time you have without the little one to delve into the teacher-y stuff. Beyond that, the more you can actually incorporate your little one in what you are doing with the older two, the more your little one will absorb and the more family time you will have!

08-05-2010, 07:33 PM
Hey Deanna! Where in NWA are you? I'm in Fayetteville!

I really like the idea of having a box of stuff that only comes out during schooling. I'm also thinking I'll get her a little table and chair to do "school" at so she can pretend she's working along with us. She's really into the pretend thing right now!

I led a Girl Scout troop from the time I was 7 months pregnant until my youngest was about 6 months old, so I remember what that was like! It's rough! Thank goodness for slings is all I can say!

08-05-2010, 07:50 PM
My daughter is working on 1st grade and my son is also 20 months old :) Luckily, he still takes a nap during the day (although since we bought him a toddler bed, it has been harder to get him to lay down during the day.) Usually though, he'll nap and that is the time I will spend one-on-one with my daughter working on the lessons or projects that need concentration. I save all my "teacher" work, like planning lessons and such for after both kids have gone to bed. When my son is awake, he is usually content to sit on my lap and look at a book. He also likes to draw on our chalkboard, but I'm usually anxious about letting him do that because the chalk will end up on the walls and carpet...and probably up his nose too. LOL!

08-05-2010, 08:36 PM
We also have "school" things for Emma that she only gets when Quince is at the table. Which isn't very long. But she still feels included. She will also play with some of it while we are reading, if she isn't interested in the book of the moment. She will sit most of the time and loves to be read to. But she is also 27 months now. She wouldn't sit for 2 seconds before she was 2 years old.

08-06-2010, 03:57 AM
I have an 8, 6 and just turned 2 year old and we are really struggling with this right now. I have tried including him, having special things for him (which work for a few minutes but nowhere near long enough) and just recently we have tag teamed, one plays with him while I am with the other, this seems to be working out better.

I am hanging out for warmer weather (winter here in Oz) so we can school out on the deck again, he was so happy out there last summer!!!

08-06-2010, 07:00 PM
Oh man, this is a daily struggle for me. Mostly it's chaos. My four year old is awesome about doing activities with us or entertaining herself some other way; but my toddler, who will be two in October, does not make things easy for any of us. Her favorite place to hang out during school time is ON the school table. Naked. Breaking the crayons. She won't stay with one activity very long, so she goes between the special toys we keep only for school-time, TV, food, nursing, markering herself, stickers, looking at books, etc. I feel like I'm constantly trying to keep her interested in something so that she'll keep her little naked bum out of her sister's schoolwork.

I save the more one-on-one stuff I need to do with my eldest for the Blessed and Holy Nap Time, which never seems to last as long as I need it to.

So, yeah, it's a mess and has been for awhile. We go with the flow and try to get things done as and when we can. I know this time will pass & I'll miss the naked gremlin's littleness and bothersomeness. For now, though, it's chaos.

08-06-2010, 07:38 PM
So, yeah, it's a mess and has been for awhile. We go with the flow and try to get things done as and when we can. I know this time will pass & I'll miss the naked gremlin's littleness and bothersomeness. For now, though, it's chaos.

And this is what I keep reminding myself of daily.....except my kids have been nagging at me to have another baby, go figure!!!!

08-07-2010, 09:36 PM
I'm actually doing well with the toddler - it's the 4 year old I'm having trouble with! The toddler is almost 18 months. I started 2nd grade with my 7 year old on July 1st. Luckily, he likes lots of breaks during his work! We do some during the toddler's nap. For the rest, we go down to the playroom. It's working well so far. Last year, the toddler was just a baby so it was easy with less mobility! However, the 4 year old is feeling a bit squeezed out since the baby needs attention and the 7 year old needs his attention for his work - yet she doesn't want to be included in his subjects. I got her JumpStart for the computer hoping she could do most of it on her own and it's helping - but she wants my help every 10 minutes now. (Though it was every second when we first got it, so there's hope!)

*I did 100% unschooling for my eldest's kindy year which made that year easy. I did 80% unschooling for first grade - so again, it wasn't a challenge. We're only around 60% unschooling for second grade so that's probably why it's harder.

08-10-2010, 01:29 PM
My issue is 4 year old! He wants the big kids to be done with school so they will jump on the trampoline with him, or play restaurant, or whatever else he is begging to do. I do have a Pre-K set of curriculum for him to do but he doesn't want to do much. (He's never been in even daycare more than a year, part time.) I am trying to get him a bit more structured (able to sit and pay attention for more than 30 seconds; I'd like even 5 minutes to teach him how to write eventually). I let him draw/scribble on his own little white board, encourage him to play with his toys on his own or to go outside on his own in the yard. I read when I have the big kids doing work on their own, which gives me a few 3-5 minute breaks for the little guy. I am sure once we get into the swing of things he will understand a bit more, and maybe even want to do more himself school-wise. I am hoping so anyway, for my own sanity. Maybe it will change when DH gets home from his "all-expense paid, fully inclusive desert mountain retreat."

08-10-2010, 02:21 PM
I know that it depends on the age of your children, but I let Jake play with his playdough at the table when Hunter is doing his work. I think I will get Jake some Legos that are only for school time too. He has mega blocks, but he loves Hunter's "real" Legos. It is really just the art of distraction! lol

08-10-2010, 02:46 PM
I have no real answer, just want to commiserate :)LOL

Next week marks the start of our first year of homeschooling Aidan (9.5yrs). I am a SAHM of four kids 9, 5, 5, and 3.5. My husband works in a different city Mon-Fri, and our youngest child has special needs. This past year, it was a challenge to organize age appropriate activities and keep our three youngest from getting all up in each other's business 24/7. My best bet was to separate them from each other every so often throughout the day, and alternate between trampoline, computer time, reading, self directed play & crafts. I used the microwave timer A LOT. I spent serious time trying to redirect my preschooler from the *hilarious* activity of peeing in random outdoor locations. (Seriously, he would NOT use the toilet willingly). It was exhausting, frankly. I wanted to homeschool DS much earlier than grade five (like start in grade 1) but that was too daunting to contemplate.

This school year, Mitchell (our 3.5 yr old) will have a part time aide for afternoon pre school as well as mornings at home. Which leaves me free to homeschool my other three kids 4 mornings/week, get the twins to kindergarten after lunch then I come home again to do 'serious' follow up/ teaching in the afternoon for Aidan. If I didn't get the aide funding, Mitchell the Dude would have been joining the fun every day. Now he will join in only Fridays. Mitchell and I have been practicing homeschool - and this is the schedule he likes best: I will put him on the computer for 30 min/session and alternate between Nick jr (where he learns some spanish from Diego and Dora) and Sesame Street where he learns from The Count and Cookie Monster :) Then he will use Photo Booth for awhile to take some seriously artistic self portraits. Then he will have a 'train' break to create tunnels and towns. After that, everyone (& friends who are interested) will do The Project together. (Cooking, art, science experiment).

In our house, consistency is queen and her name is Mom :D