You and Betsy have just finished her science project. Just then Johnny, the toddler, waddles in and pulls her science project off of the kitchen counter. Homeschooling is a difficult task in and of itself. When you add a toddler to the mix, it can get a bit more stressful but it can be done. So what can be done when dealing with a a budding learner and a busy toddler at home?
1. Relax. One important key of homeschooling is to relax. Just remember, there are unruly classrooms in public schools all over the country, right now, where the teacher has no control over what’s going on and the kids have learned nothing that day. Your children will appreciate the sacrifice and care you put into homeschooling when they don’t feel so stressed to learn under any condition.
2. Supply them with toys. Keep a special box filled with toys that they can play with themselves. You can buy these cheap from the dollar store or the thrift store. Keep these for only when you homeschool. Otherwise, your toddler will not want find them new and exciting and they probably won’t keep his attention.
3. Create distractions. Sometimes your toddler just doesn’t want to play with toys. Try going in the backyard to do work or going to a play-yard that allows your toddler to play safely while you homeschool while being able to keep your eye on your toddler.
4. Keep it simple. The great thing about homeschooling is that you can adjust it to fit your family. Try keeping lessons focused, yet simple. Don’t strain it out to hours at a time, but take frequent breaks. You’d be surprised how many breaks kids take in school like lunch, recess, nap time, play time, quiet time, reading time, study hall etc. Learning doesn’t usually go on for more than an hour at a time.
5. Involve your toddler. While it may be harder if the age gap is wider, you can always incorporate your toddler into lessons. Most parents love doing hands-on assignments for these reasons as it includes many age groups. Have your toddler organize crayons while your student writes in his journal. Let toddlers play with math blocks while your student learns how to add and subtract. Give them a chance to practice writing while doing handwriting assignments.
6. Create a schedule. Most children nap until around the time that they can function as students themselves. Take advantage of nap time. This is when you can go in another room and do work with your student. Toddlers can nap for a few hours so this can be a good time to complete tests or study difficult material, when it may get busier later.