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Tips for Homeschooling with Toddlers and Babies

Tips for Homeschooling with Toddlers and Babies

A true homeschool day isn’t complete without a little tumult, but during some seasons of your homeschooling life the chaos seems to take over.  Amidst babies and toddlers, homeschooling can easily descend into complete disorder and a cacophony of small voices clamoring for your attention.  Here are a few tips on how to homeschool with toddlers and babies so your home can be more peaceful (and productive).

Pour some love into the littles before you begin your day.

I find if I take some time with each of my smallest kids before we get too deep into the rest of our school day with my oldest, the littles are more contented to play with each other or alone while I’m focusing on my older students.  This makes everyone more relaxed.  A great time to do this is at or right after breakfast, during Morning Time if that’s something you do regularly.

Work on the same subject at the same time.

This sounds counterintuitive, but I’ve found that if I can involve my toddler with math or handwriting that’s down to her level while my second grader is doing his work, it makes her feel special and “big” like she’s “doing school” too, just like her big bro. This drastically reduces tantrum-throwing in my house.  If we’re practicing math facts with flash cards, I’ll pass her a card now and then and tell her what each of the numerals are.  She learns to recognize numerals, while he learns his math facts.  It’s blissful.

Give them breaks for play.

This tip is the tip of all tips for kid productivity.  This works especially well during the winter when everthing is cold and dreary and it’s sometimes hard to focus. Kids and moms alike need breaks from the drudgery with some refreshing play. Get them outside if you can, but inside works too. Whether it’s building a quick blanket fort for upcoming read-aloud time, a game of tag in the backyard, or just plain running around the house and wrestling, everyone is more energized for mental work when their bodies get a little motion. (This is a great book on how the science supports this.) Littles can continue the play while you settle the big kids into the next lesson.

Babywearing

Maybe I’m lazy, but I definitely don’t use this option all the time.  But when I do, goodness is it a lifesaver!  Here are just a few of my favorite benefits:

  • The baby (or toddler) can see what Mommy’s busy doing,
  • I have both hands free!
  • Baby feels like I’m giving her quality attention & snuggles,
  • I can move around,
  • And the baby just might end up taking a nap (win!)

And lastly there’s the tried and true…

Separate them!

If all else fails, this one usually works. Everyone will concentrate better if they’re not kicking each other on the couch or taking up each other’s space at the kitchen table.  Setting up the littles with a play area away from where my big kid is working is priceless. Even better, and we can’t do this all the time, but we try to get a lot done around here when the littles are napping.  The littles have a hard time interrupting if they’re busy snoozing away.  Hint: Grab a $25 lap desk for each kid, so they each have a portable, personalized, flat work surface. This way they can comfortably get any kind of work done anywhere in the house.  I’ve found these are great for getting work done in the car, too.

And if none of these tips are working for you right now, just remember that the season of having small kids in the house doesn’t last forever.  Before you know it, the littles will be the big kids, so try to savor the chaos while you can 😉

Rhiannon Kutzer

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Nice to meet you!

I’m Rhiannon.

You can call me Rhi for short (as in “rejoice”). I’m a fiercely independent homeschooling mom of five, a Navy wife of 13 years, and a creator of various things: articles, a semi-regular newsletter, quilts, furniture, and the occasional knitted scarf. This is the site where I write about our homeschool journey and news and happenings in the homeschool world. more about me.

Rhiannon

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Need a shot in the arm for your homeschool? Get Thrive Together, a monthly email that brings you:

--the best of the homeschool blogosphere,
--current homeschool news,
--and great quotes that will refresh your homeschool mama mind.

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  • Morning Time Details! E. (12), S. (almost 8), and L. (6). Our Morning Time morphs as the kids grow and change. It usually includes a combination of memory work and reading aloud. We try to cover a WHOLE LOT of things: Shakespeare, Bible, poetry, catechism, hymns, timeline, art study, composer study, and Ambleside selections for nature study, tales, and church history. This term I’m adding Plutarch.
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The hard part is figuring out where I want to aim, with the 5-year gap between E. and S., and then L. being a newbie to full-on school. Having moved twice in 2019, I nixed MT and just focused on individual work. That came with costs. Shakespeare, Plutarch, art study, and composer study suffered. Memory work barely happened at all. I was BUSY. We missed out on discussing things together. Now that we’re settled, it’s time to restart MT.
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This term I’ve decided to aim Shakespeare and Plutarch at the oldest, while the girls listen in and do handwriting/drawing/fine motor. I won’t ask them for much narration. Our reading schedule for these is AMBITIOUS. Maybe crazy. Then we’ll do all the memory & read aloud stuff that suits everyone. These lessons are SHORT. Then E. will go do his individual work while I read aloud w/ just the girls.
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Also, “Morning Time” is a misnomer, considering we break it up throughout the day. It should really be called Morning/Lunch/Nap Time. I need a new name. Circle Time? Except we don’t sit in a circle. Together school? Except we’re together doing school all day. I don’t think English has the word I’m looking for. Maybe Tertulia or Salon?
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Our actual coursework is: the Scottish Play, Plutarch is Alexander the Great’s life, our artist is Gustave Courbet, composer is Paganini, Bible memory is Psalm 46, Hymn is Jesus, Savior, Pilot Me, read alouds will rotate from Burgess Bird Book, Trial and Triumph, Blue Fairy Book, Voyage of the Dawn Treader, Vanderbeekers, & picture books. Timeline is from Classical Conversations. Poems are Charge of the Light Brigade, Winter Night by Teasdale, and The Land of Nod.
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Whew! It’s gonna be a fun term! What do you guys do for Morning Time?
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#homeschool #charlottemasonirl #homecookedmeals #livingbooks
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  • #pcs day 5 = #HOME (hallelujah!) 😊 and delicious homemade chili from the amazing @mythirdacrelife It was a long 3000 miles, but everyone made it here alive, if a little less sane than when we drove out of CT. #navyfamily #navywife #roadschooling #homeschool

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