Today is the kick off of an awesome Guest Post Series!! I have some amazing bloggers lined up for you over the next month. I am so grateful for their willingness to share with you while I work on unpacking and settling into our new house.
Today, I am really excited to introduce you to Amy from No Greater Honors. She is a homeschooling mom of five! I will be adventuring into our first year of homeschooling with E next month as we tackle pre-k curriculum for the year , but it’s all new to me! I am so excited to learn from Amy who has been there, done that and is still doing it! Today, she is sharing her best advice for new moms entering into homeschooling with their toddlers. Thank you so much Amy for being with us today!!
Some of the most exciting, and hardest, years for a homeschooling mother can be the toddler years! There is so much to learn, and toddlers are in a period of development where their brains are working in overdrive to absorb information. The lessons learned, connections made, and emotional stability that happens in the first three years of life will stay with a child throughout their entire life. The question is, how do we make the most of it?
I did not do anything ‘formal’ with my first three children. Looking back, that would have been so much fun to take advantage of the early years when I had less on my plate as well. I have been able to try and invest more time in to my younger two children, since we were already in the swing of things, and yet there is still so much out there in the way of resources for teaching toddlers, I feel like we never scratched the surface of what we could have done. The problem? I had no idea what I *could* have been doing. So I’d like to give just a few quick tips on where to start and what some important things are to know when you have toddlers in the home, especially for the homeschooling family. Note here – I will be referring to a homeschooling environment most of the time, as that is the perspective I come from. However, if you just want to make the most of the years you have with your toddler before they go to a public school, private school, etc. – these tips work great for you as well!
The first thing I would say is to PLAN AHEAD. Now, what I just said may not bring the same image in to your mind as it did in mine when I said it. No, you can’t decide when your child is 12 months old how the first 3 months of their tot school is going to go. When I say plan ahead, I simply mean to educate yourself on the possibilities. There is more than one way to take advantage of this sponge of a brain that your little one has/will have, and you want to make the best decision for your family. Below are just a few ideas, with links to go with them to help you get started. I suggest reading through them all, and deciding which one sounds like it would not only appeal more to you, but also to your toddler! 🙂
Before we talk about what you could do with your tot school, I suggest you read the following link on methods of homeschooling, because they will give you a good look on what shoes you wear on this road of teaching your tot! 🙂 Methods Of Homeschooling (confessionsofahomeschooler.com).
The first thing you could do is simple – just read with them. Read A LOT. Maybe you have a houseful of children, with many of them being school age, and you know that trying to do too much would be bad for everyone (and it would), then start simple. Read, read, read. My oldest child is – right now – the biggest reader in our family, reading books well past her ‘grade level’. I read to her very often when she was little, and I have no doubt that played a big role in her loving to read. When you open that world up to a child, they can learn so much more than you have time to talk about in a day. Here are a few resources/links for great reading suggestions that could help you get started.
If you want to spend a little more one-on-one time with your toddler, but still keep it flexible, I have one great suggestion for you – Tot School – 1+1+1=1! I won’t go so far as to say Carisa cornered the market on teaching toddlers, but she came fairly close. Seriously, she has some amazing ideas, but gives them in a way that you can grasp the concept and then move in the direction you need to for your family. The best part is, on her blog, she has new ideas and features from other tot school families WEEKLY. That means, you can check archives, follow along, and always gain something fresh when you aren’t sure where you want to go next. She also has several sets of printables, some free, some VERY economic, that can be used with the tot school system.
* Animal ABC’s*
Following that path, you can go with something a little more structured and follow a work-box system like Erica from Confessions of a Homeschooler (www.confessionsofahomeschooler.com). This post explains her workbox system – The Workbox System. This post explains her Letter Of The Week curriculum. Here is another link to printables by theme on her blog – COAH Printables page.
Both COAH (confessions of a homeschooler) and 1+1+1=1 are both based on printable materials that you can print in your home, giving the flexibility of having as little or as much of them as you would like, and mixing and matching with other free printables on the web.
However, this may all seem a little overwhelming, which is understandable. Sometimes, when you are just beginning to get your feet wet with homeschooling, it’s nice to have everything together and easy to lay out and work with. There are complete curriculum sets for toddlers, and I will link to a few of these below.
*Google Image Search – Preschool Curriculum* (in case you just haven’t seen enough! hahaha!)
There are so many things you could do, but the biggest – the BEST – piece of advice I could possibly give you is to be YOU. What you have going on in your home as you teach, learn, and cherish time with your toddler is exactly what should be going on in your homeschooling/tot-schooling. Comparing your achievements to another blog or friend’s won’t do you any good. Your child ultimately needs you, regardless of what method, style, and curriculum you use. Being you is the best teacher he/she can have!
HAPPY TOT SCHOOLING!
Hello! I’m Amy – military wife, homeschooling mother to five, and born-again Child of God! I sure hope that our adventures in homeschooling and life-living will be a blessing to you and an encouragement! For more, come visit us at www.nogreaterhonors.blogspot.com to see what is going on in our homeschool/life-school world!