The trickiest part of homeschooling is the multiple age groups. Most homeschool moms will have at least one toddler and preschooler present while trying to work with an older child. Managing the age groups can be tricky, especially with younger ones. Learning how to homeschool with toddlers and preschoolers is an art that demands planning.
Preschoolers learn through play. Toddlers learn through play. While homeschooling with older children moms allow their toddler and preschooler to play together. If there is only one then they play alone. As I homeschooled my older children I realized the chaos that it allowed as I rotated through the kids. This style did not work for me. I had to find a better way to homeschool that was more all inclusive.
Homeschool All Inclusive for Multiple Ages
It seemed really chaotic for me to do one child at 9:00, then rotate and do another child, and then another. At the time I had one in high school, one in elementary, a preschooler and toddler. My toddler was running wild in the living room, my preschooler was focused on his work for five minutes and then would ask for another activity. All of this while checking on my high school student and my elementary student needed my entire focus. To say the least, it was not working.
After racking my brain and realizing that this was total craziness I changed how I homeschooled. No, I did not teach to my older children and then filter for my youngest. I usually try to find my own way to accomplish something by brainstorming.
Steps To Brainstorming Homeschool
Step one to brainstorming is to lay out everything that is being planned. Whether it is a project or homeschool books I sort and stack it all.
Step 2 is to look at it for awhile and visualize. Look into what you want to do, and how you are going to get there. Time limits do not exist for this portion. Planning can take a while to get it right the first time.
Step 3 write down what you want the homeschool day to look like with your older kids, toddler and preschooler. Make a rough sketch including a schedule of your ideal homeschool day.
Step 4 brainstorm how you will get as close as you can to your ideal homeschool day. Add in goals of accomplishment and strive to do your best. Many people will say that less than your best is good enough. I am a firm believer in delivering my best. If our day goes chaotic and disorganized at least I gave it my best shot.
Flexibility with Toddlers and Preschoolers
Homeschool days with little ones will never be perfect. They get tired easily, bored quickly and want endless attention. That is why I mostly kept mine close. I had lots of puzzles, games, books and toys they could play with close to my vicinity. Also, there are several 10 min. breaks added into our day. Breaks allowed me to have some time to play or talk to each child. Breaks also allowed me to grab a ball and have everyone get in a circle. Random games of rolling the ball to each other gave attention to the little ones and the older kids had a break.
Homeschool with a toddler and preschooler will look differently each day, Planning out a general idea that is not some strict regimen will give a much needed stress relief to mom. Having several age groups is hard, but manageable. Many years ago there was such a thing as a one room schoolhouse. Now at homeschool we get to duplicate that in our comfortable home.
Do you rotate your homeschool day with children? I would love to hear how you handle your daily schedule.