I founded a homeschool group a few years ago and one of the biggest questions I get from new homeschoolers is “How do I Homeschool with My Little Ones?” It can be tough having older children who need your attention when you have a toddler and/or preschooler running around or when you have a new infant that needs your constant attention. There are a few tips I have learned through the years that have helped me homeschool with my little ones.
Give Them Attention First
This is very important! Fill their “love tank” first by reading them a story, playing with them, or doing their “school” before starting with your older ones. Giving them this one on one attention before your distracted by your older ones will make them feel important. It also will fill their need for attention and most likely they will be able to play on their own for a short while and you can tend to your older children’s education.
Do one of your older children have a subject they need a lot of one on one time from mom to complete? If so, have them complete this subject during the little ones naptime. This means they will have your full, undivided attention. You would be amazed how much you can get done while little people nap!
Give them Educational Toys or Workbooks
The year my youngest turned two, I gave him his very own school cubby. It had some workbooks and crayons, a dry erase board, and some counting bears in it. I swapped out the bears every so often for other educational toys, stacking toys, or board books. He also had his very own school table. This kept him “busy” while I helped my older children. It also made him feel involved in what we were doing because he could “do school” too.
Some people don’t let their children watch TV at all. I understand this to an extent, but I also don’t see a reason to not utilize an educational video every now and then. Dora, Bubble Guppies, Curious George, Leap Frog, and other similar videos can keep your little ones occupied while allowing you to focus on the education of your older children.
Homeschooling with little ones can be done! I have homeschooled for four years and when I first started, I was running a daycare. During that time, I kept the kids all together as much as possible and they entertained each other. When I quit daycare and had my youngest, it was harder because he didn’t have a playmate to help keep him entertained. This is when I began utilizing some of the above tips. They helped, a lot!
The key to homeschooling with little ones is to find what works for you. It may be doing school during nap, it may be turning on a video every now and then, or it may be giving them their own “school”. Find what works for you, and utilize it! Before you know it you will be giving others tips on how to homeschool with little ones.
Author: Misty Bailey
Misty is a homeschool mom of three and has been homeschooling for over 4 years. You can read about her homeschool journey and more on her blog, Joy in the Journey.