The question when you start to homeschool is whether or not you accept you the challenge to homeschool while you have preschoolers and toddlers in the house. Some days, I felt like I had accepted a dare like I would have done in my childhood.
There is no question about it. Homeschooling with toddlers and preschoolers is one of the toughest times in our homeschooling journey. That is even an understatement.
All the planning and organization for the new year and conjuring up in our minds how our day will be so smooth goes wrong when the first toddler or preschooler wakes up. Yep, that early in the day they wreak havoc.
There is no denying it. A ten month old and a two year old can have you seriously doubt your ability to homeschool. All I wanted to do was work with my 4 year old on three letter words. I couldn’t get to the first subject without an interruption. It was discouraging to say the least.
Take comfort, I am here to tell you it WILL get better. However, it won’t happen without effort and persistence.
You see what I learned was that the way I spent my time with them counted. They were going to grow regardless of whether I made the time count or not. I realized that we were ALL in training.
Developing the qualities that serve me now during our homeschooling day were learned THEN by my young children.
How can I do that when they are so young? First, teach to a “routine” and teach your oldest child life skills (did I mention they are the same for study skills in high school?) like patience while you tend to the needs of the youngest children.
Our households should beat to the rhythm of the youngest NOT the oldest. That is right. Do NOT have the oldest child think they are superior in the sense their learning will take place at “all costs”.
See what I am getting at? When we teach that education is at ALL costs, we have all ready set our family down a path that we don’t want to take. As parents, do we want to adopt the competitive spirit of this world when it comes to education? More and more hype is placed on parents on what a 3 year old is suppose to know academic wise and not building skills that effectively will equip them as adults.
Weigh seriously what we “model” for our children by how we care for “interruptions”. Do we show them that we compassionately give to care for the other family members?
After I re-evaluated how I would deal with interruptions, then I was in need of some practical pointers in running my day. Here are some that helped me.
- 1. Realize that what you are doing NOW IS homeschooling. It is a “different part” of your journey and so important. What I was teaching was patience, being punctual, having respect toward another sibling’s need to learn, need to nap, have a snack or need for love. Do you have that on your lesson plans for the day ? Are you teaching them to not live in an “all about me” world?
- 2. Understand that this take “mental” and “physical” strength, so pacing is required. Realistic goals for the day are more like covering one subject, simply reading out loud for the day or covering information in 10 or 15 minutes segments according to attention span. This promotes family togetherness and a “routine” that I have kept until now and the start of our high school years. My sons are much more closer to me nows AND to each other. We TRULY did not leave ANY child behind. :o)
- 3. Do not shoo the young kids away now, ONLY to wish they would sit down with you later. They just want to be included. Hold them, comfort them, love them, stop and care for them and pray with them.
- 4. Take the dare. Set your house up and day by thinking ahead as to what can help you to “minimize” interruptions, messes or work. Some mess is necessary, but why give a young child a glass glass instead of a plastic glass?
I know some moms that do. Are you just looking for work if he drops it and it splatters into a million small pieces? Can you prepare a simple breakfast like bagel and peanut butter and cover it on the kitchen cabinet until they are hungry? I never knew when my younger two would get up in the morning because it always varied. If I was right in the middle of a reading lesson, I bought myself some more time with my oldest because breakfast was all ready prepared when *I* had the time.
In the end result, you will have produced children that are a true blessing. Children that are patient and see the need to stop what they are doing to care for another family member’s need. Children that are punctual to sit down, ready to school, respectful of your authority and secure knowing mommy or daddy will dutifully care for their needs. All the “book learning time” WILL come. As hard it may be now, this time is such a precious time, enjoy every minute of it.