Today’s Brave Writer podcast episode is about how to homeschool while you have a baby or toddler in tow.
First, Julie and Melissa talk about daily routines, like finding pockets of time to teach your older kids while your toddler is napping or when you are all taking a family walk. Then they give specific activities that can keep toddlers occupied.
They wrap up by covering a few strategies to involve friends and family, including:
- babysitting swaps,
- and grandparent-led science experiments.
Find Natural Pockets in the Day
Homeschooling is all about the 5-15 minute pockets of learning throughout the day, evening, and even weekends. Get a feel for the natural flow of the day for your toddlers and your older kids. Is there a time of day when your toddler naps, or tends to be slightly more calm (relatively speaking)? Just as importantly, are there times during the day when you know, realistically, you can’t force any structured learning to happen?
Find what works for you and your kids, and be okay with seizing teaching moments whenever they arise. Most learning happens through conversation, and those conversations can happen any time, even while taking a walk with a toddler in the stroller.
Time-Tested, Toddler-Approved Activities
The cold hard truth is that most of the time you do need to distract the
beast baby. Julie and Melissa’s now-grown kids contributed to their list of tried-and-true distraction activities like:
- dot paints,
- magnets on a cookie sheet,
- water play stations,
- a sheet of contact paper with the sticky side up,
- a soup pot (yes, just a soup pot…toddlers love putting things in things),
- indoor play equipment,
- post-it notes and stickers.
Another tip is to pick certain beloved toys that are only pulled out in situations when you really need to bribe the toddler.
Tap Into Community
Remember, just because you are in charge of your children’s education doesn’t mean you have to do it all by yourself. Team up with other homeschool families in co-ops or just informal, temporary meet-ups. If grandparents are in the picture, get them involved, either with the babies or with the older children. Consider putting your toddler in a forest school, YMCA program, etc. for a day or two a week. It takes a village, as they say.
At the end of the day, just remember this is temporary. Babies grow fast. Just because one year of homeschooling isn’t super shiny and perfect, doesn’t mean that your kids aren’t learning or that next year won’t be better. Before you know it, they will be teenagers wondering whatever happened to their dot paints.
- Susie Allison of Busy Toddler – https://www.instagram.com/busytoddler
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Connect with Julie
- Website: bravewriter.com
- Instagram: @juliebravewriter
- Threads: @juliebravewriter
- Twitter: @bravewriter
- Facebook: facebook.com/bravewriter
Connect with Melissa
- Website: melissawiley.com
- Substack: melissawiley.substack.com
- Instagram: @melissawileybooks
- Twitter: @melissawiley
- Facebook: facebook.com/authorMelissaWiley
Produced by NOVA Media