Homeschooling presents many challenges. One of those challenges is the season of life where homeschooling is accompanied by little ones. A day filled with math equations, maps of Ancient Egypt, and sticky hands needing attention is enough to exhaust any homeschool mom.
That exhaustion seems preferable to the days with missed language classes, half-done science experiments, and whining that rivals nails on a chalkboard. Days of a homeschool mom with little ones is never without incident. With days in varying degrees of exhaustion and frustration a mom looks for a solution.
I know your days are long but, believe me when I say, the years are short. If living a chaotic life has any benefits it is carving out priorities. You need to manage your day based on the current priorities of your life.
Academics are important and should not be ignored but there is a time when they are not going to be your top priority. Running your home as smooth as possible may have to take that top position for a short time. Give yourself a break and enjoy this time in your life. Enjoy your children.
Now, this does not mean taking time off of homeschool duties. It simply means you may have to adjust your homeschool to fit in with this time. Give yourself grace when it comes to an unfinished history project. Demonstrating a sense of fluidity in your crazy day will be an example to your children.
Here are four strategies to help your homeschool adjust to having little ones in tow.
1. Include toddlers in your day. Toddlers need to be kept busy and under a watchful eye. So where possible, include your toddler in the lesson or assignment. Allow your toddler to color at the table or look through his own books.
Provide old workbooks for your little one to pretend he is in school also. Allow your toddler to build blocks in your classroom. Find ways to allow your toddler into your day rather than spending all day chasing him.
2. Choose student directed curriculum. If you are currently using curriculum that requires a lot of teacher prep or teacher/student interaction, you may want to switch it out for a student directed curriculum or online resource. Taking this step will help foster independence with your older students and allow you the ability to continue your children’s education while caring for your younger children.
3. Create a school box for your little ones. Chances are your little ones want to be like their big brothers or sisters. However, big kid school supplies are not for little hands.
To combat this, create a school box for your little ones. Get a plastic box and fill it with board books, play dough, small toys, large crayons, and other child safe items. The important part is that you only allow your little one to play with the box during school hours. This way the box stays special and the contents hold interest a bit longer.
Use this Keeping Busy worksheet to find other ideas for your toddlers.
4. Use nap time. When all else fails, use nap time to help your older children with school. Use this time wisely, for those projects and subjects that require the most interaction between you and your kids.