Here is an article I wrote to help new homeschooling mothers with little ones. I hope you enjoy!
OK, I am no expert, but I am the mother of 6, so I figure I know something about toddlers and infants. Homeschooling with little people and noise can be a challenge, but you can survive it! Here are some tips, some mine, some I have acquired from other mothers.
Discipline. I am not necessarily speaking of punishment, but of consistently training by habit and example. Sometimes punishment may be involved, as toddlers can push the limits, but good training and habits ensure less punishment! The Bible speaks volumes on how parents should train their children, and parents setting a good example, is a great start! “Quiet” should be the first school subject learned.
Entertain. This is playing school. Giving the child “school work” and their own set of notebooks, crayons, child-friendly scissors, etc. will help keep them busy at the table while you are doing “seatwork.” We also use felt boards, puzzles, crayons, blocks, homemade playdough (less crumbly than store bought), and math manipulatives with the little ones. We have in the past made up Ziploc bags with activities that are self-directed for our toddlers. They love them! We also have a few educational, yet fun videos we allow our little ones to watch. We only allow 30 minutes a day for this. My oldest 3 children each take a 20 minute segment each day so I can work more intensely with another child. The older children entertain the toddler(s) in the next room, within eyesight and earshot. The little ones enjoy the attention from their older siblings.
Seclude. Sometimes they just need their own place and space. We have a highchair, a bouncy seat, and a playpen that we set up in the kitchen when we are doing table work. We have special school time toys that we only get out during school hours. I sit at the end of the table in my rocker (I drag it in the kitchen when I have a nursing baby), both baby and toddler(s) are close to me. There is one open seat next to me for the school-aged child I am working with at the time. When a playpen is just not an option, a blanket is. We have blanket trained our little ones, and we can carry a blanket anywhere and have a safe place for a little one to play. Exersaucers are a great stationary play center too!
Include. Toddlers are great at mimicking and enjoy many of the same activities as older children. You can include your little ones in Bible memorization, singing, PE, reading, phonics, housework, etc. My 3 year old can: fold towels, take out garbage, say his ABC’s and 123’s, and much more! He enjoys helping!
Relish. Let sleeping babies lie, leave well enough along, and “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it!” If your child has found something safe to entertain himself with, for goodness sake, leave him be. If he fell asleep in the middle of a room scattered with toys, leave him alone, and don’t clean up the room! He is OK, and you can get a few more challenging things done without all the distraction a toddler can provide.
Endure. Yes, this is the grin-and-bear it part. This is your little darling, and he will not be tiny forever. This is just a season of your life, and it will not last forever! If you can find a place for him on your lap, helping sweep, carrying books to the bookshelf, etc, then he will feel important and you will be training him too!
God bless and happy homeschooling!!!