Homeschool 101: How to Teach with Little Ones

For many moms just starting to homeschool one of the biggest concerns is how to do it with their little ones crawling around. If you have little ones, it can be difficult enough trying to keep them occupied long enough to take a shower, amiright?! They want to be held, or they are getting into this, and then getting into that, or they are just generally discontent. The struggle is real!

Now how are you supposed to teach an older child (or two or more) with these kind of distractions?

There are a few different solutions. One of the best options is to get the bulk of school work done while the littles ones are napping. You know, that magical time when you finally get to take a breath and relax, or frantically run around and try to get as much done as you can! This is the method I used when mine were small.

When I first started I had two school age kids and two little ones. In the mornings we would work on some of the easier tasks, like reading from the history book and science book, watch an educational video or listen to memorization songs, head to the park for outside play, and have lunch. After lunch the littles napped and I would take that time to focus my attention on helping the older two with their harder subjects, like math and grammar.

Another option is to distract your little ones with a snack in their high chair, or let them play in the exersaucer.

One method that I used as my kids got older and nap times were more scarce was to encourage independent learning. As they grow more skilled in their reading, they are better equipped to read the instructions of a lesson and handle it on their own. This takes work on your part, however. You have to be willing to listen to them whine and cry because “they can’t do it!” And there will be lots of those moments. And obviously, there will be times when they really don’t understand the instructions and will need your help explaining things. But if you are certain they can read on their own then they are capable of learning independently. One way to test their comprehension skills is to have them read the instructions and then explain it back to you.

Now comes reality: there will be days (lots of them!) when things just do not go well. The kids are crying, the baby is teething and won’t take a nap, they are fighting with each other, etc. We all have those days. Sometimes it will feel like that is all you have!

In those moments it’s perfectly okay to just put all the school books and papers and pencils away and just let the kids be kids. Sometimes they need the break. Sometimes YOU need the break! Sometimes you just need to go to the park and let them run their crazies out. The books and papers and pencils will be there tomorrow to try again.

And do you know, just when you think they aren’t learning anything, they’re not getting any work done, they definitely are NOT going to finish their book… suddenly you are surprised to find out that yes, indeed, they have learned something.

So stick with it and you will get past those crazy years and have those super fun, special memories of reading together on the couch, watching them play together peacefully, building living room forts, or eating popcorn using just their tongues! (Yep, I taught them that.)