This is my second year homeschooling. And although we are only two days into the new school year I am having a ton of flash backs from last year. A lot of “Oh yeah- forgot about that.” When I first planned on homeschooling last year I had this wonderful Pinterest-like image in my head of how it would go. I have only ever homeschooled with toddlers in the house so maybe, just maybe, that Pinterest-like idea of a homeschooling home actually exists. But for the next couple of years I understand and am okay with the fact that homeschooling is…well…not picture perfect.
So you are thinking about homeschooling or maybe you already do. What can you expect when there are several other little ones running around?
- Noise. And lots of it. We can’t expect the one year old to magically know how to sit quietly and play by herself while we do math facts. She is running around. She is calling, “Mom!” and “Gum!” and “Juice!” and jumping off of things and bringing you really wet rolls of toilet paper. It’s loud and right along that line it is distracting. Learn how to stay focused to teach despite the noise and help your homeschooled child learn how to learn with the noise.
- Flexibility. If you can’t be flexible I suggest you re-evaluate whether or not you really want to homeschool. If the baby is really needing attention that morning you are going to have to move around subjects so you can give the baby what he needs while the student does work by himself. Some days you will need to take kids to Dr appointments or grocery shopping which means schedule is thrown out the window that day. Be flexible with your time and expectations and things will go much more smoothly.
- Planning. Plan all lessons ahead of time and have what you need before the day begins. If you didn’t already know, toddlers are like ticking time bombs when it comes to how much time you have until another disaster strikes. Every minute counts when they are off playing quietly. Make the most of your school day by preparing all the materials ahead of time. Don’t waste the few quiet minutes finding materials. Also meal plan. It is stressful when you’ve spent the whole day thinking and now you have to think of something for supper.
- A mess. A big mess. School books everywhere. Dishes piling up. Laundry that needs folding. The toys that have exploded in the bedroom (that’s why they were so quiet). Don’t freak out about it. Make a plan (again- another reason to be planning) for when those things will be cleaned. I like to use the time that I am cooking supper to do most straightening.
- Fun. I feel like I am making homeschooling with toddlers really scary. It’s not scary…it’s just chaotic. Actually anything with toddlers usually ends up chaotic. But that is half the fun. Spending the whole day learning and creating and exploring with my kids makes all the craziness worth it. Yes, some days I feel like I can’t take one more “uh-oh Mom. You better come see this.” But in the end I love every minute of it.
What are some obstacles you have faced homeschooling with little ones around? What tips can you share with us? Next week I will be sharing some ways I keep my toddlers entertained during the day. So be sure to come back to check that out!