Kicking off a new school year of homeschooling, and some ideas for toddlers while homeschooling!

First, let me say to all of you who have just begun a new school year — way to go! I remember when we first began homeschooling, we kept the kids inside during regular school hours so that folks in the surrounding area wouldn’t call the truant officer. The beginning of a new school year meant that we had to move our daily adventures indoors for a good part of the day, so launching a new school year took some creative convincing that this was going to be a great year!

Our three children have now gone on and graduated from college, and we had many exciting years of homeschooling that they will never forget. :) The adventures were both the planned and the unplanned kind, of course. And it’s the unplanned ones that they still laugh about! USAB FB Bread kneading kidsI’ll never forget the time when they were working on an experiment that was demonstrating the ability of a plant to seek sunlight even from far inside of a dark box. The experiment called for a box with corrugated inserts (to create a maze for the plant to grow through to find sunlight) – and the best that I could find was packing boxes from the liquor store! Those boxes had great inserts that created the perfect mazes for the experiment. However, the external printing on the boxes was a bit disconcerting to the pastor when he dropped by one day and saw their boxes stacked up on the sunny end of the front porch! :-) His eyes were big round circles as he turned when I answered the door. As I recall, we were his first exposure to homeschooling, too!

Our three children cover a ten year age span, so I know just what it means to try to keep a VERY active toddler busy while the older kids are studying. I learned to plan our school day around the toddler’s nap schedule. When he slept (or was supposed to be sleeping), I worked one on one with the older kids with subject areas that required individual attention with each child. When the tusab-m-ms_7804311oddler was up and roaming, and yes – he was a very VERY busy toddler – I learned how to entertain him while we worked on unit studies. He might be busy with building blocks or rearranging magnetic letters on a cookie sheet, or he might be enjoying a math lesson with an older sibling from books like “M&M Addition” or “M&M Multiplication.” Matchbox cars were constantly zipping across the floor during reading time, as he couldn’t sit still for long, but he would quietly send the cars flying across the room or around the Hot Wheels track! I learned to remove many of these toy cars and only leave a few out at a time – recycling them so that there were always a few he hadn’t seen in a while.

I also made sure that some of our school projects included things for him to do – whether it involved log cabin construction with craft sticks or creating Plymouth Plantation using modeling clay usab boy blocks stem_63028704on the kitchen table. After teaching several ages at once, I learned the importance of keeping a toddler involved with the big kids – better learning opportunities for everyone. And memories more precious than gold, with plenty of pictures to keep us laughing for years to come.

This is a FANTASTIC time to be homeschooling – there are so many opportunities to share and learn, and people are much more encouraged about homeschooling families. I write unit studies that take advantage of 21st century technology and interactivity to help captivate your child and keep them wanting to learn. Join us!

Amanda B.