Homeschooling definitely isn’t the easiest thing I’ve ever done! It’s hard enough trying to teach multiple grade levels, but throwing a few toddlers in the mix can make things downright crazy. Directing the little ones while trying to still be productive has probably been one of my biggest challenges over the years.
Each new season of homeschool brings a different dynamic and its own unique challenge. This year’s challenge for us: three kids in school, two that aren’t yet school age, and before the year is up we will add another little one to the mix.
Admit that you need help
We all need help! Its not a bad thing either, because its the best thing for us! The first thing I do when entering into any situation is admit my need for God. Directing little ones in what they should do is no different! Take a quick look at this passage from 2 Corinthians.
“…I was given a thorn in my flesh, a messenger of Satan, to torment me. Three times I pleaded with the Lord to take it away from me. But he said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.’ Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.” 2 Corinthians 7-10
I’m not saying my toddlers are a messenger of Satan, but man oh man, of all the times in my life when I feel weak, parenting toddlers tops the charts! This Scripture is my lifeline because it reminds me not to even try to carry that difficulty on my own shoulders. Its a hope filled life giving verse that reminds me that we will all do better when I admit my weakness and let Christ carry us. Praise God that when we are weak, He is strong!
How I plan our day
So, to keep things moving forward for us, I plan our school day in sessions to break it up. I do it mostly for the little ones, since they have such short attention spans. It helps keep their attention focused, but it has also shown to be beneficial for everyone else.
We start our day with breakfast and clean up time, then get ready for the day. We have our first big work session from 9-11 in the morning, followed by group PE time, a break, and then lunch. After another quick clean up, we put the littles down for their naps and get started on our second big session for the day, from 1-3.
Our youngest naps during both sessions, and our 3 year old usually naps during the afternoon session. (We didn’t just luck into that nap schedule by the way. It was very purposeful, and took a lot of discipline on my part to accomplish.) Doing school while the littles sleep is a HUGE help.
How directing little ones during the wake time hours looks for us
- It’s really helpful for us to break up our big sessions into smaller ones, with lots of singing, stories, and memorization that they can participate in.
- Each kid, even the little ones, have their own backpack filled with crayons and construction paper that they can use whenever they please.
- I keep lots of books in the schoolroom for them to quietly look at, and for us to read together when I have a few minutes of downtime from working with the other kids.
- Every morning, when we come downstairs to begin school, the little ones get to pick one special toy to bring downstairs. (For the rest of the day, toys are only allowed upstairs.)
- I keep a locked cabinet in the school room full of toddler friendly puzzles, games, and busy bags that I can easily grab when I need to.
- And when all of the above fails, I don’t let myself feel guilty about turning on a kid friendly show in the next room! (Luckily, that hasn’t had to happen very often.)
How will directing little ones help your homeschool days?
I hope you are getting lots of good ideas to help direct the liveliness of your youngsters. What are some new things you will do to help keep the peace in your house? Do you have anything to add that has worked well for your family?
Remember to keep lots of engaging things close by, be patient, and flexible. Then your little ones will enjoy school time, and best of all, so will you.