Thursday, May 19, 2011

Toddlers and homeschooling

I love homeschooling so far and my daughter has learned so much, however, the only issue we are currently having is how to occupy my 18 month old son.  Yesterday, he wanted to be at the table with us and I was trying to watch him as well as be teaching Emma, but somehow he got into markers and had his arms colored green and his mouth was all blue and I didn't even catch him in action.  I try to make centers for him but since he is the only little one at foot he just doesn't want to play by himself. Emma is still trying to adjust to ignoring all his distractions. 

 This is not a picture of my son thank goodness but I would not put it past him.

I have been researching other more experienced mothers in what they do to get some ideas of what works for them.

One idea is to have a school basket with the following items so that the younger child will not feel left out and feel like they are also having school time.

  • Play dough

  • Magnets for the refrigerator

  • Crayons and coloring books 

  • Small board books

  • Healthy but delicious snacks--for awarding quiet, polite behavior, or just to make them feel that this time is "special"--snack bags of raisins, craisins, banana chips, cookies, etc.

  • A timer--ten minutes for each plaything, etc.

  • Some more ideas I found: 

    Homeschooling while your toddler eats in his highchair:Give him snacks that take a while for him to eat... like noodles with butter
    or mashed potatoes.  Let him "finger paint" with pudding or applesauce
    on the highchair tray (and himself). Or, instead of food, try giving him
    toys to play with, or let him color or put stickers on himself.

    Provide 2 - 3 year olds with an interesting play medium:Set them at the table with Play Dough and accessories, or other age
    appropriate art supplies (torn paper collages are fun).  In nice weather,
    homeschool outdoors where toddlers can play with cups, spoons and a
    pan of water...   Or dig in the sandbox... or play with toy cars in a  pan of
    uncooked rice.  Or give them dress-up materials to play with.

    Bring out special toys or activities that only get played with
    during "school" time:
    Offer toys like Duplo bricks, wooden blocks, doll houses, play kitchens,
    plastic (pretend) food, pull toys, preschool flashlights, construction
    equipment toys, farm or zoo or Noah's Ark sets, toys trains... whatever
    they would enjoy.  Try to keep several choices on hand, so they have
    something different each day.  Thrift stores and yard sales are good
    places to find inexpensive toys that will be "new" to your toddler.

    You can also make a big pile with the sofa cushions and let your toddler
    climb on them.  Make a fort out of blankets or a large box and let them
    explore.  Or buy a "bouncy" chair or swing  that is only used during
    lesson times.  

    So I will be trying some of these ideas out and hope to have a better outcome.  He still needs so much mommy attention and I still want to give it to him.

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