1.22.2014

toddlers and homeschool.

I homeschool.
I also have a toddler at home, getting into everybody's business.  Trying to pretend like she does school too.  Writing with markers all over things she shouldn't be writing on.  Bugging the heck out of Milo on a daily basis:

Poor Milo, just trying to figure out addition and subtraction, and also having to deal with a booger picking toddler too.
She's cute...yes, we all know that.
But behind that adorable, dimpled smile is an ornery 2 year old.  The girl will not sit still for longer than 10 seconds.  When no one is looking she likes to practice her sharpie writing skills on our furniture (who the heck left the sharpie out?)  She also likes to try to make rainbow loom bracelets, which basically means she dumps all the previously-sorted-by-my-9-year-old-rubber bands out and all over the carpetOh, and I can't forget how she likes to get her own snacks.  She may or may not have devoured an entire box of girl scout cookies in 15 seconds.
Is it bad that I literally pray every morning that the Lord would bless me with just 15 minutes of her sitting and watching Bubble Guppies?  Uninterrupted, 15 minutes.
Do you know how much I could get done in 15 minutes?!
 
I must have stooped low if I'm praying for my child to watch T.V.
We have busy bags, we have coloring, we have toys, we have books.
Help!  Tell me what your toddler does while you try to homeschool---please!
Cause sister here is making me reconsider my decision:
I say this way too often, but thank goodness she is amazing and cute!


37 comments:

  1. I remember well the days of trying to teach school with toddlers underfoot and babies needing nursed, meals needing made, and not to mention the housework! It's enough to make one crazy, isn't it?
    I found that I had to get very creative and I had to actually schedule activities for my toddlers to do while I needed to work on school with another child. I would often put the toddler in the high hair and let him eat Cheerios, raisins, or any other little snack they could manage.
    I'd also give them coloring pages and call it their "school", and I'd have them sit at the table with us during a time of the school day where we didn't need quiet.
    Another thing I did was schedule play time for the toddler and put him in a confined area where she couldn't roam around, and I'd set a timer for 15-30 minutes, telling the child that she could be done when the timer beeps.
    One thing that was extremely helpful to me was to have an older child play with or read to the toddler for a set time while I worked on math or whatever with a student who needed me. Routine was so helpful for my toddlers, but often times hard. I hope this helps! It does get easier as they get older, I promise! My booger picking toddler no longer climbs on the table and try's to write with sharpee markers on his siblings school work!

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    1. patty! thanks so much for your reply--this was super great and super helpful. also encouraging knowing I won't be here for long! that one day she might actually use the sharpies on paper and not furniture!

      thanks for taking the time to leave a comment!

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  2. Sounds like you have your hands full! I found this on Pinterest a while back and thought it was a pretty cool idea :) You might like it! You could do a weekly bible verse too, and just "toddler-ize" it. Keep up your good work, it sounds like Milo is benefiting from the extra work you put into his learning & schooling!

    Here's the link: http://www.mummymusingsandmayhem.com/2013/02/visual-learning-for-toddler-mornings.html

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  3. Does Miss Olive still nap? I'd say tackle what requires one-on-one attention during that time.
    (For us that would be mainly math.) The rest: health/foods, science, geography, etc. we modify so that everyone is participating. (The pesky 3 y/o included.) We 'do' the basics together, and then the oldest build from there - special reading, writing, art, application, and so on, working independently or with some interaction, just not FULL one-on-one. That way I can keep the youngest occupied, doing age appropriate things.
    ***Keep in mind I am working with an 11, 6 and 3 y/o.***


    Hopefully something of all that makes sense.

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  4. This post totally made me laugh! I am sorry but she is just too adorable! I have no advice for you sorry. I have never homeschooled. My mom used to tell me (when I complained about my busy, crazy children), "That's why God made them so dang cute! Otherwise we'd flush 'em!" Haha! I think God knew we needed them to be irresistibly adorable so they'd survive childhood. ;) GOOD LUCK!

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  5. wait, when did you start homeschooling? why didn't I know this?! you need to do a post on this to catch me up! sticker books, play doh, painting~! books, coloring.

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  6. haha. You're stage of life seems very similar to mine. I'm homeschooling my girls in Kindergardener and Pre-K. Their soon to be two year old bother is oh so helpful! One thing that sometimes work for us is our homeschool tub. I went to goodwill and stocked up on some age appropriate boy toys. Spent about ten bucks. I threw them all in a big plastic tub and it only comes out when we are doing school work. When school work is over it goes back up. When he gets boarded with what is in the tub, takes about a month, I give the toys back to goodwill and pick out a few more jewels. Hope that helps. I love your blog. I'm friends with Mrs. Ashley Ann and checking her blog got me hooked on yours.

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    1. this is so smart!!! love that idea.

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  7. Oh Emily, I just read this to my hubby and we laughed. Nate is a few weeks older than Olive and is in the same phase. It's driving us all crazy. (We just got a new couch on an insurance claim due to him drawing all over it with permanent black marker!) He opens cupboards and helps himself to Nutella then goes and wipes his chocolate covered hands on the white bed sheet in the spare room. He has also learnt how to open the front door so on more than one occasion we have had neighbours return him home after finding him wandering the street, once in the nude while I was busy showering his siblings. His brother and sister (6 and 4) are over him too, considering he messes up everything he touches that they like yours have spent hours building or sorting out. I have no advice for you, I'm actually reading all the comments and stealing their advice to try with Nathan. It's holidays in New Zealand but I'm considering homeschooling this year if we end up traveling and right now I don't see it being anything but super frustrating for all involved. But it's just a phase right. A busy, messy frustrating phase that will improve. Bless ya. x

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  8. I wish I could say that I didn't understand, but I so do! ha! I don't have as many kids as you do, but I do have an almost 4 year old and an almost 2 year old. Its very very VERY hard to potty train. I feel like a hurricane came through our home on potty boot training camp days.... thank the Lord for grace!
    ps love your blog oh so much! www.jilliansara.blogspot.com

    -jill

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  9. I would love some suggestions too because Eli is in to EVERYTHING. One thing that has worked lately is that I assign each of the kids a 30 minute block of time that they are responsible for Eli. They have to play with him and keep him happy in a room away from the others or outside without disturbing anyone. Some kids do a better job than others, but at least he's occupied and not being put off or getting into any trouble. It gives me time to focus on reading lessons and help with math without also trying to entertain him.

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  10. We did a lot of "Okay, this is their school and here is yours." And we worked for probably a solid month on expected behavior from the toddler, gradually working up to where they could focus on a task for 15 minutes without being disruptive. We also tried hard to teach patience and waiting. "Sorry Olive, I need you to sit tight right here by Mommy while I teach Milo for a few minutes. You may get a book if you want and I'll read it when I'm done."

    I used a lot of pinterest ideas for teaching toddlers (lots of hand eye coordination stuff) but the best thing I think I did was impress on them that their "school" (whether it was coloring, putting cheerios on kabob skewers stuck in playdoh, or just playing with playdoh) was just as important and needed their focus as their big siblings.

    And ultimately, this too shall pass.

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  11. I feel your pain! When my daughter still napped I did a lot of her older brothers' schoolwork (especially the things that required more focus, like math and phonics) during her naptime. Now she doesn't nap so there are a lot more interruptions. She is four now, but when she was smaller I gave her playdough in the highchair near us when we were doing school while she was awake. That would occupy her for a while. Now she uses puzzles, playdough, special toys that are set aside for use only during schooltime, etc. And sometimes when desperate I have used tv shows and ipad time...it's true. :) Although I try to avoid that bc it makes the school-age kids jealous. :)

    I'm sure you know this already but I also find it helps to take lots of breaks: do a subject with her brothers, then play something or read a story with everybody or just her; then another subject, etc. One of the beauties of homeschooling is that it doesn't have to be done at the "normal" school times or in the "normal" progression of a school day...and I am an order and routine freak so it is VERY hard for me to flex but I am trying. :)

    Best of luck w your super cute interruption! :)

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  12. What the heck was in the water in 2011? Logan (one month older than olive) is the exact same way! I realize this had nothing to do with homeschooling but just know when she's up to her normal antics that there is a blond boy in Georgia up to the same thing!

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  13. Oh how I have empathy for you! I recently started homeschooling my two older kids leaving my 2 and 3 year old to cause complete mayhem! My only saving grace at the moment is some cartoons in the morning and naps in the afternoon. My 2 year old daughter loves to draw too so I often give her a little white board or LCD board which buys me some extra time. It can be so hard homeschooling with little ones but those rare moments when I see them joining in make my heart happy.

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  14. I do daycare and have a 2 year old that has been the exact same way....doesn't sit for anything, even TV. I have 15 minutes before and after lunch that I really need to myself and I put the TV on for the kids and she wouldn't stay there. She has a doll that she is very attached to and sleeps with and cuddles with. I used to let her have access to it all day but then decided that she got it during down time...that tv time and nap. It worked because she now stays in one spot and cuddles her baby.
    I have a baby, 2 1 year olds, and 3 2 year olds in my daycare so I know hoe it can get a bit crazy. Some of their favorite projects are to use glue sticks (especially the colored ones) to make art and stick tissue paper on top...for whatever reason they like drawing with glue while crayons do not hold their attention. Another favorite is homemade moon sand which is flour and oil mixed...it makes a mess but it is very easy to sweep up and each time I have done it it has kept the toddlers busy for an hour, almost unheard of. Let me know if you want any other art/sensory ideas that have worked for me to keep the toddlers busy.

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  15. My 2 yr old is such a boy and will literally shoot hoops for 30 mins straight. He loves Daniel Tiger's Neighborhood (on PBS) and Mickey Mouse Clubhouse. I also have toddler games on my iPad if you want to resort to that! Fisher-Price has some good ones and they're FREE! He loves games, I will hide a toy in a room and he has to find it. He gets it because he watches my 4 yr old and I play hide and seek. He will also play at the kitchen sink for as long as I let him, just give him a bowl, a plastic measuring cup and a couple of different size spoons. Good luck!

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  17. Oh I can soooo relate as my third was a "handful" say it nicely. Now he's 4 and it's almost all good around these parts but man, was it hard. We don't homeschool but I can say the only thing that worked was running him around outside in fresh air. As much as possible. Often.

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  18. My 3 1/2 year old is still in the sharpie stage. Actually she is still in that Toddler phase that everything is hers, she has been playing with it if her brother touches it even if she hasn't seen it in a month. I often have to take a few deep breaths and start again with her.
    Whilst I don't home-school I have found that setting her up with her own, independent task that is similar to what I might do with my eldest will tide her over for a little, she needs things that 'make' her busy, something that is only hers and only for those special times.
    So I searched pinterest for a few Toddler/pre-school activities & tasks and have them in a box ready for when I need some one on one with my son. I make sure that the activities aren't destructive messy (i.e sharpies, paint etc) and that it is something that makes her feel a little grown up, that she gets to do it all by herself. It works for a bit, but to be honest my little one is just a loud personality, which I do love but sometimes I just need to find the volume and slow down switch ;)

    I hope you find a solution that works for you guys!

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  19. I don't know if someone else suggested this or not, but when my crew was younger, I would try to schedule time for an older child to occupy the youngest or a younger one while I worked with someone else. Of course nothing works all of the time, but it might be exciting for dear Olive to have an older brother or sister read to her, build blocks with her, etc. I know that you are aware of how quickly these days go by, but I'll remind you again, these days go by quickly, so try to enjoy even the most chaotic of moments with sweet Olive....she'll be driving before you know it!!!!! My children are now 22, 17, 2 weeks away from 14, 12 and 9!! I don't know where the time has gone!! God bless you and your beautiful family!!

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  20. Check your local library for classes - for Olive! My library starts classes with infants, and usually by the time they are 2 you just sit back and watch as opposed to sitting on the floor with them in your lap the whole time. Meanwhile, set Milo up at a table within eyesight where he can work on schoolwork in peace, and flag you down if needed. Should give him a good 25 minutes. My library also has a play area, so really you could take her there to "get her out" and again he can sit at a nearby table and work. Or even the mall. Mine has a play area there, it just wouldn't be as quiet for him to sit and work. Maybe save that for lessons he is already excelling at.

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  21. We homeschool 6 kids, 17, 15, 14, 6, 6, and just turned 3. It is always crazy with the littles. I try to give the 3 year old paint with water books, stickers, crayons and things like that. Sometimes I just send him to his room to play. It drives you nuts some days, but at least kindergarten isn't that long. I promise- it will get better as long as no other babies pop up. Then you'll have to start over again........ We will be adopting another baby this year- so our 17 year old will never be "baby-free". You have to laugh sometimes at the adorable cuteness.

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  22. I don't homeschool, BUT I "sub" for a family one week a month that does. This was a good set up for me, a former teacher turned stay at home mom, because I can bring my almost two year old with me. I try to bring activities with me for her to work on, and let's be honest these don't always work, but one that she loves is her rocks. Don't tell anyone, but I stole a scoop full of little pebble rocks from our local playground, and I bring them in a baggy and bring cups and spoons etc. She has never been one to put things in her mouth, so I can trust her with it [I suppose if Olive likes to eat things this may not work too well! :)] But I usually just plop her on the floor with them and let her go at it. It takes a few minutes to clean up [works best on tile floor], but usually keeps her occupied for a good 15-30 minutes. Worth a shot?!

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  23. When you figure it out please let me know!!!! I may use Curious George as bribery, and that's not the best haha.

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  24. Maybe give her something to destroy? My oldest son (4 y/o) likes to rip paper. He'll usually keep busy doing that for half an hour at a time. In the weather months, I shoo my kids out into the fenced and very safe (they can't get out there's nothing to destroy hurt themselves with) backyard. That lets me pay only half attention to them (mainly so they don't beat on each other) and do something productive at the same time.

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  25. I have three thoughts. My first is to try and get some help, if you can. Maybe you can get someone to volunteer some time to come and take sweet Olive from you for just an hour several hours a week in the morning. It would make a huge difference. I never wanted to spend the $$ on help but in hindsight, I wish I would have… just to make home schooling a little more peaceful. My second thought… my youngest always spent at least an hour or so playing with toys in their crib from about 10:00-11:00 and I would take that time and get as much done as I could. Not sure Olive would like it, but you could try. I always started to do that in place of their morning nap. And the third thought… I never used television to entertain my littles while homeschooling and I'm not sure it would have hurt their brain too much. I wish I would have done it more. Probably better for them than my yelling at them, not that I ever did that ;)

    But really, it's just hard. It's a good thing babies/toddlers are cute!

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  26. Oh em. I have 3 roaming toddlers right now so I totally get what your saying. I have my older kids do their independent work in the morning while I play with the littles. Then after lunch they have resting time*watching a movie* and I work with the other kids then. I will say often I have my older take turns reading to and playing with my littles which is wonderful.

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  27. No advise here, only sympathy. I have a 4 year old, 2 year old and a 3 month old. Oh my sweet little 2 year old. NOTHING like his older sister. He is into ev-er-y-thing. It's like he walks into a room and thinks 'hmmm, what in here can I destroy that they will never see coming?' I say on a daily basis 'he's lucky he's so cute.' I pray he becomes more manageable (or rather that I learn how to parent his personality) in the next few months because I don't know how I'm going to manage homeschool next year if he doesn't chill a bit. He's so so sweet. But oy. What a mess.

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  28. I've got 4 kiddos....2 are homeschooling 1 is NONstop nursing and the other is running naked wrecking havoc:)I made 10 bags of play dough and bought cookie cutters and she can only play with it when we do school. It buys me about 20 minutes. Also did the moon sand which was flour and baby oil made a huge mess but gave me about 15 more minutes. When all else fails I throw her in the bath and we all sit on the bathroom floor and do our work books. She has been known to get 4 baths in one day:)

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  29. i searched toddler ideas on pinterest and a lot popped up about independent activities for toddlers. i would imagine it takes some up front time investment to teach her how to do things and sit by herself and do things. maybe, at first, it's something she has to do in a high chair or booster seat at the table, but eventually can go do in a quiet space by herself. (i.e. easy puzzles, shape sorting) other ideas - home made finger paint in bath tub. she can just paint the tub and then it all washes away; get out some "big kid toys" that seem too advanced for her (i.e. legos) if she's past the stage of eating them. and then with an eye on her let her play with those only during home school time.

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  30. I just wanted to say "thank you!" for posting this. It's another reminder that I'm not the only one. My four are ages 8, 6, 3 and 10 months. The 3 year old and 10 month old are about to push me over the edge while I'm trying to homeschool. I've tried a lot of the tricks, and they have pretty much failed! I've decided it must the the Lord bringing me back to relying on Him in the "hard!"

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  31. I have a friend who homeschools 3 of her five children. She sends one of them (3 year old) to a local Mother's Day Out at a church nearby. Child number 5 is an infant, so she stays home. It has saved her sanity! It's great for her 3 year old, too!

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  32. this post had me laughing out loud…it literally felt like you were writing about MY daughter, bahahaha! she won't sit still for TV either, and i am SO not a TV advocate, but there are days when i'm like, dude. please. for the love. sit still. watch wild kratts. or miss frizzle. or SOMETHING! during school, i just try to give her her own version of whatever it is we're working on. if it's workbooks, i give her an old one to scribble in. sometimes, she's content with playdoh. most of the time, she's happy with a snack. ha! good luck! xo friend!

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  33. I used to teach preschool and previously taught the 2's room [though my favorite, and long time class was the 3's]. I think maybe get her involved in some home schooling too? Give her 2-year-old assignments + activities and either she'll participate and learn, or she won't want to and then she'll occupy herself elsewhere so she doesn't have to...either way you win!

    For example, Milo is doing addition, have Olive do counting.
    They can do similar art projects + listen to the same stories.

    Also some toddlers really get involved in art + will sit there for a long time if you give them a project.
    Especially if she thinks she gets to do homeschool too :)

    Good luck!

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  34. Wondering what homeschool system do you use? I want to homeschool someday (expecting my first babe). I would love a post on the ins and outs! :)

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  35. Wondering what homeschool system do you use? I'd love to homeschool one day (I'm expecting my first). I'd love a post on the ins and outs!

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