By Jessica Pilton | jessicapilton.com
Alannah is focused. There is a certain ‘zen’ about her level of concentration as she circles and draws in her maths book. Usually things don’t look totally 'schoolish' here but Alannah really enjoys maths worksheets – something she didn’t get from me! She asks what the words are and I read them to her, or we read them together. Her little eyebrows crinkle as she thinks about the answer. Her hand makes the move to circle the pattern then – Watch out! Toddler alert!
“Mum! He’s coming! Get him! Get him!” she yells.
Homeschooling with a toddler is fun…
And slightly chaotic.
My lovely blogger friend and fellow homeschooling mama Kirstee over at Forage and Forge recently penned a post on homeschooling with a toddler. She had some fantastic tips, so when you're done here, do yourself a favour and go read her post, it’s really good. Her post inspired me to write some of my hints and tips for homeschooling with toddler, or as we say in our house 'The Destroyer'.
This is what has been working for us lately. The girls will bring their work or colouring and drawing to a table I have set up just for them. Mason is enthralled by nature and the will to conquer anything taller than him, and this overrides his need to be up in their space.
Why not try working outdoors? A change of scenery could not only help your busy toddler, but give your child a fresh burst of inspiration and a change of scenery.
Filling their little love tanks before jumping into work with your older children can help. Imagine you're a tall glass of water and they are thirsty. If they have a “drink” (quality time) before you dive into the day with your older ones, usually they are inclined to play by themselves for sometime before needing another “drink”.
This might not be the answer you were hoping for. But accepting that things will be a bit crazy while having a toddler in the family is your best bet to enjoying the homeschooling experience a whole lot more. There will be good days when everything flows and everyone gets on well. And there will be bad days when the toddler tips out the jarred spices while you're reading books to your older ones (yep, my house smelt of cumin for days. Days.) It’s part and parcel of homeschooling with a toddler. Some days setting up activities to entertain your youngest will work, other days the repeated TV show will go on again so you will feel like you get something done. I feel your pain. I really do.
In the end, I was too late to save Alannah from 'The Destroyer.' Mason, our 2-year-old, got on the table. He loves ‘helping’ his sister. He loves drawing in her books. Loves throwing her pencils on the floor.
He also loves throwing her concentration. After he threw her pencils it was all over, red rover and she was off, on to the next thing.
Homeschooling with a toddler is fun… It is chaotic. But I’m accepting the chaos each day as it comes, or at least trying to enjoy these days that I will probably look back on fondly. Probably...
What are your tips for homeschooling with a toddler?
Mum of 4 boys Sarah Cole reflects on her wonderful abilities and honest shortcomings in this open letter to her 4 sons: "I can promise you adventure."
By Sarah Cole | Multifaceted Mama
Over the past 10 years, I have had many failings as a mother. There are a lot of things I am just not good at. There are promises I just can't keep.
I can’t promise to be a neat or organised mum. There are craft supplies piled up in the corner and books on most surfaces most of the time. There isn’t really a picture perfect corner of our house, despite my attempts when company comes. It’s not unusual to have to shuffle construction paper or pens and pencils over to make a place at the dinner table and the search for a pencil can sometimes take a while. Despite occasional efforts I am not, and I never will be, a “neat mum.”
I can’t promise to be things will be worthy of a page on Pinterest. I don't think to cut your sandwiches into special shapes or make creative bento boxes. I never volunteered at preschool, or remember to schedule play-dates. I don’t have clever “life hacks” or make cute crafts.
I can’t promise storybook holidays. I don't decorate much; I can’t keep up with the shelf elf; I don’t have special fun “tricks” to make little holidays special and I’m sure I let it slip that there is no Santa Claus. It’s a poorly kept secret that I don’t even actually like holidays. And the Happy Birthday banner has been hanging in our kitchen for nearly 2 years now as a monument to my spectacular failure at these kinds of things.
I can’t even promise to be a “have-it-in-any-way-together mum”. I’m not as consistent, or as on top of things, as I should be. These things have never been my strength.
If you want to see something, we’ll pack our car with snacks and books and go see it. I promise to let you explore. If you want to do something, we'll figure out a way that you can do it. If you want to learn something, we'll go learn it together.
I promise not to rush you. If you want to stop in the middle of our walk and watch a caterpillar, I’ll rest my bones on the rock next to you.
Yes, you can run.
Yes, you can climb.
Yes, you can get your clothes dirty.
Yes, you can walk in the creek with your new shoes on.
Yes, you can touch that frog or cricket and catch that fish (as long as you're gentle).
While I won’t be waking you up to rush you off to school, I may take you to the river to watch the sunrise. Our home might not be perfectly decorated but, I’ll promise you we'll see some art-worthy views. You may never have a football trophy, but I’ll proudly display the treasures from your pockets on the windowsill.
Perhaps we may not have cookie cutter sandwiches, but I’ll pack a little peanut butter and some bread and we can stay outside until the sun sets.
I can't promise you it will all be picture perfect, but I can promise we'll take pictures. And I know we'll find beauty wherever we go.
This article originally appeared on amultifacetedmama.com and has been republished here with permission.
After working full time and part time for the past 10 years Sarah abruptly quit her jobs to stay at home and homeschool her 4 boys ages 10, 8, 3 and 1. Sarah writes about her parenting and homeschooling journey when she can catch a few minutes on her blog Multifaceted Mama and shares her adventures on Instagram @multifacetedmama. She lives in Virginia, USA.
Worldschooling, travelschooling, roadschooling... there are so many ways to take your kids with you and see the world, so here is everything you need to know.
By Grace Koelma | Editor of The Mulberry Journal
* A quick note to readers: This article is based on my experience being 'worldschooled' as a teenager, and the things I found helpful for learning on the road.
The biggest mistake many parents make when choosing to take their family on the road and ‘worldschool’ is thinking that their kids’ education will occur in a similar way to school, or even like more structured styles of home education. But
Here are a few tips for how to plan your trip to best suit your children’s learning needs.
How you choose to
Some schools and teachers will want students to keep up with what’s being learned in class so that your child doesn’t fall behind. It’s valuable to practice mathematics while you’re
If you’re intending to homeschool your kids after you return from travel, then you can go at your own pace, and choose a learning style that suits each child. To be honest, I'm a fan of unschooling for travel, there is so much to be learned simply by being immersed in new cultures and cities (more on that later!)
Regardless of the level of structure in your worldschooling approach, your kids will naturally form rhythms of more intense and less intense learning, and you will too! It’s okay to let this process happen organically, don't attempt to stifle or accelerate it.
As notable homeschool author, Wendy Priesnitz said, “Life learning is about trusting kids to learn what they need to know and about helping them to learn and grow in their own ways. It is about respecting the everyday experiences that enable children to understand and interact with the world and their culture.”
If you do want to encourage a learning habit, start journalling what you see on your travels, and invite your children to do the same. To get them excited about the process, let each child choose a special book to write in (some kids love leather bound, others want a book with their favourite superhero on the cover). This journal can be as structured or free as they like, and include recounts of events, drawings, photos, maps, keepsakes, postcards and nature finds. The opportunities are endless.
If you do need to provide proof of learning on your travels to a teacher or a school principal, this is a wonderful way to do that, too. When I was fifteen, my family homeschooled and travelled in a caravan around Australia for 11 months. The journals I kept every day while travelling are now one of my most treasured memories of my childhood.
Worldschooling boils down to this… It’s living in the present, enjoying each new opportunity and experience presented to you, and immersing yourself in culture,
The physical act of travel is a wonderful learning opportunity as well. Enlist your children’s help in calculating the cost of fuel to drive to the next location, or how much you’ll be charged for excess baggage on your next flight. Show them your travel budget, and tell them what your spending limit is each day. Get them to help you do grocery shopping and help you cook meals, book accommodation and flights.I believe the best education is steeped in the discussion of ideas. Talk about the customs of the places you visit and why cultural heritage is important. Learn the local language, and how to respect the culture as a visitor.
There are a lot of obvious opportunities for learning while travelling… every town has museums, art galleries, wildlife exhibits and information centres. But your kids will most certainly get information fatigue if they’re towed through one row of glass displays after another. Sometimes, even regularly, it’s okay to drive past the local tourist attraction and head to a local weekend market or go to the beach and sketch the landscape.
And then relax. Let your children process and digest what they’re seeing, the conversations they’re having and the new experiences they’re immersed in. Trust that the learning is happening beneath the surface. Every so often you’ll be the audience to an outburst and overflowing of this learning, maybe in a wonderful way you weren’t expecting.
This quote by John Holt sums it up perfectly: “What makes people smart, curious, alert, observant, competent, confident, resourceful, persistent – in the broadest and best sense, intelligent – is not having access to more and more learning places, resources, and specialists, but being able in their lives to do a wide variety of interesting things that matter, things that challenge their ingenuity, skill, and judgement, and that make an obvious difference in their lives and the lives of people around them.” ~ John Holt, Teach Your Own
Have you got any
Grace is a wife, mum to 2-year-old Leo, and editor of The Mulberry Journal. She believes that home educating starts from 0 not 6 years, but is glad not to have to worry about registration... yet! You can find her sharing snippets of her love of real food, picture books and homeschool on Instagram at @littlesoulfires
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