Homeschooling a toddler?

Many new homeschool moms seem totally stressed out and A.F.R.A.I.D.  Most the questions I read on my  Facebook groups seems filled with anxiety and nervous excitement.  Just take a moment and R.E.L.A.X.  You are going to do fine! And despite your best and worst efforts, your child will learn and grow up to be really capable and educated!

Especially for your child’s early preschool years you don’t need to buy a curriculum or do school-at-home.  Don’t think “lessons”, but think “life-learning” and aim to focus and facilitate where your child is most enthusiastic.
Recently a reader wrote and asked ~
“Dear Nadene
Last year August I decided to stop teaching and take care of our toddler.  I wanted to know if you did ‘preschool’ home schooling with your toddler or if you only did primary and high school with them?”
I thought back to my precious early years of homeschooling and wrote ~
Like you, I stopped teaching to be with my young child.  A few friends from our little church group started to meet one day each week for play dates with our young toddlers.  They simply played together.  Every now and then a mom introduced a fun activity like shaving cream or finger paint or play dough.  It was short, just a few hours in the morning, and included a little snack or lunch before we all went home for naps.

Over the years, we developed a very informal, yet precious preschool-type approach.  During our weekly get-together we planned our next week.  Each mom suggested an activity or volunteered to lead an activity.

During our weekly homeschool/playdate we would teach them a song, read a Bible story, do an arts or crafts activity, play outside, introduce ball or jungle gym activities, go on outings and play games.  It was a very special time in our homeschooling journey.  Our focus was to “teach” for a very short while and then let the kiddos play!  Again, it was just a short visit, from about 10:00am to 12:00.

Image result for sorting and countingI began regular preschool sessions when my daughter was about 5 years old.  We would sit together and read aloud.  I would then spend a few minutes to teach counting, phonics and/ or one other activity spread over the week such as matching, sorting, fine-motor activities, gross-motor games, creative play with different materials and art mediums.
You do NOT need not purchase any curriculum for preschool!  I used some educational games I had already and gradually added a few more each month or so.  There are tons and tons of ideas on the Internet!  You could spend a few hours looking for games and activities!  Don’t get overwhelmed!  Be careful whenever you hear “should have”.  Simply do what you can, as you can, when you can.
You may find a list of skills a child should manage at each age a good prompt for the kinds of activities and skills you may introduce, but be led by your child’s readiness and your lifestyle.  Read some ideas here, here and here.
Do be careful not to try “do school at home” instead of naturally flowing with life and learning, following your child’s nature delight to learn and learn!  They love repetition!  They want the same songs and stories over and over!  They love to redo a skill until they master it, so don’t rush on to the next thing.
Take your time.
Enjoy the small moments.
Live life fully with your child and don’t be under any pressure to “do” the “right” things.
Wishing you every blessing in your precious journey with your child.
Blessings,
Nadene

 

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5 thoughts on “Homeschooling a toddler?

    • @Vicki, thanks for sharing my post! Too many young moms feel that they do too little with their young toddlers, but if they just had fun with their kids, they would being doing a wonderful “job”!

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  1. This is great! Thank you for sharing Nadene. I remember when our two were little, I wanted to do … … something. I decided to just pick free stuff off the internet for the longest time and by the time I actually got curriculum I learned that our children were advanced in the scholastic area quite by accident. We did the coloring, playing outside, play dates, and park days, in addition to our story time at bed time routine that encouraged them to read. It’s incredible how easy those years seem now looking back. *smile* Isn’t that how our vision is, looking back our vision is always 20/20. *smile* It’s the starting of the curriculum when I was most unsure about where to go with ours because I wanted to pick the right fit the first time. Keeping your blog as a stopping point even before I was blogging kept me thinking how I need to keep the arts as a focus even as they got older and the messes got larger. *big smile* Thank you. Have a great day and keep these encouraging words coming. Take care and remember to pray always. Sincerely, Mommy of two growing blessings & so much more!

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    • @Blessings! I’m glad you shared how simple and easy your early years seemed! A very natural approach is far better for both new homeschool mom and her little kiddies than struggling under the pressure of a formal curriculum and all the “should dos” every day. Our children learn all the time and we should simply look for the learning moments and sparks of interest with the view of gently encouraging our children. Anything formal and forced kills this natural delight to learn in toddlers. Thank you for always sharing, commenting and encouraging me … and my readers!

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