Homeschooling with Little People

Today my Sis-in-law had a little discussion on facebook (where all good discussions are, right? :) ) about what to do with the little ones while schooling the older ones. I shared earlier about how I use workboxes with the kids, and as an update, things are still going great!

Little h is around 2-3 years old and I have compiled a google doc with a list of activities that I can go to when I need something fresh. I’d love to share it with you! I cannot take credit for all this. I got the bulk of my ideas from a Tapestry of Grace Loose Threads chat group. It was listed in the files there. I’ve added and subtracted from it as I come across new ideas.

Let me just add some thoughts on what works for me. I totally realize every child is different, but this is what has worked so far for our little family.

I’ve read that if you fill up their little love tanks first before starting the older ones this helps. Cuddle with them or play some counting toes and finger games. Maybe read them a short little book. Then perhaps they will be more content “on their own” for a bit. I know little h loves this!

I find that I have to do math first thing with c and more importantly that little h, and sometimes e, can not be nearby during this time. I have found an invaluable tool is my pack and play when they are young or a blanket when they can learn to sit in one general area without wandering off. I’ve heard of others using their high chair with activities. It is this first 30 minutes or so that I put little h in the next room with a bunch of board books. Sometimes I mix it up with blocks or other small amounts of toys. It seems that a general routine helps and she knows now what to expect on a school day. She’ll be content for the duration of math.

After math, I find that having her around is not as distracting to c. She loves to do “school” ¬†too or just be at her little desk. The spreadsheet has ideas she can do at her desk. We do a calendar time all together after c gets done math and all the kids love it! Here is where I got my calendar time idea from. This breaks up the time and she gets to do something with us.

Then for the remainder of the day I have activities that I have already thought about for her to do. Putting them in boxes or bags that she can progress to is a fun idea. This is basically a “workbox” for her to do. Half the battle for me is to have these ideas already planned out for a day or a week. She can even do the same activity each day for a whole week. If I have ideas ready then I am not scrambling to entertain. I have also noticed that if I have certain toys or activities that are ONLY done at school time that helps keep some things new and special. Our rice box is one of those things and so little h always is excited when she can use it.

You’ll see what your child gravitates to as well and plan accordingly. They may like one activity over another. Or you may have to work at increasing their attention span on one particular activity over a gradual period of time. They may go from one activity to another rapidly or find one that will last a good 45 minutes (yay!).

If I can step away from the older ones, then it is best to read a book or sing or have her help me with a chore like the laundry. They love to help and this gives them some more one on one time with me. When c or e has a book to read I always have her sitting with us or playing in the room or at our feet.

Maybe these will bring some ideas to you. I’d love to hear if you have any more ideas to add to my list! Please leave me a comment.

PS – I always have to remind myself they are only young once…someday I will be wishing that I had these toddler days back!

1 Comment

  1. No Reimer Reason
    Jan 15, 2011

    Thanks for sharing these ideas. Our little girl just turned one and loves to be right there with big sis (5) during the school day. So any ideas to keep her happy and occupied are always appreciated. :)

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