One of the most frequent questions I hear from readers is “How do I homeschool when I have littles to take care of, too?” Homeschooling with the baby, toddler, and preschool crowd is definitely a challenge!
The most important way to prepare your homeschool for working with babies and toddlers is to leave more white space, more cushion in your schedule. Think it will take you 20 minutes to read this history chapter? Plan for 45 minutes just in case.
Think you’ll be able to pull together lunch in 15 minutes while the other kids listen to an audiobook? Plan for it to take half an hour due to baby and toddler interruptions.
Scheduling margins is important for any homeschool. But with littles, you need margins on your margins. And what if that history chapter really does take only 20 minutes? Bonus! Now you have a little extra time. Read a bit more or get another task done!
Homeschooling is a tough job in any circumstance. You’re working with real live people who have their own personalities, passions, and opinions. There are so many factors you can’t control.
Add littles into the mix and your level of control shrinks even more.
Does homeschooling with small people around feel kind of chaotic? Guess what? It is. For everyone.
Conserve the energy you might be spending wondering how everyone else manages to run a ship-shape homeschool with babies and toddlers. Conserve the energy you are spending endlessly Googling the perfect strategy.
Instead, use the energy to do all the little tasks you have in front of you. They’ll take all the energy you can give them!
Yes, we need to be more patient with our kids. But that’s not really what I mean here.
What I mean is that we need to be more patient with the phase of life in which we find ourselves. Toddler is temporary. Don’t burn up those years trying to fix what isn’t fixable.
Instead, just be patient with yourself, with your current circumstances, with the phase of life in which you find yourself. There really is a psychology to homeschooling with a toddler.
More Hands-On Learning
One of the hardest parts for me about adding more margins and being more patient is the voice in my head that constantly nags about all the things my older kids are “missing out on” because we have these little ones.
I won’t lie; their lives look different than they would if we didn’t have little ones.
But think about all the things they gain by having time with little siblings every day.
Yes, they learn how to change diapers and push strollers. They learn how to hold a baby and how to give a piggy-back-ride to a toddler. But I’m thinking much deeper than that.
They learn how to be patient with someone who can’t walk as fast as they can. They learn how to pull together as a family to get ready to leave. They learn how to look out for each other.
And, especially if you model it for them, they learn how to roll with the interruptions and unexpected events (like poopie diaper blow outs!) that happen when you’ve got little ones to love on.
Don’t despair, mom. You were made to do this. And if you need more encouragement and help, check out my free eBook “5 Myths that are Killing Your Multi-Age Homeschool“.