Homeschooling with babies and toddlers, while not easy, is in fact possible. Your day may not go the way you wanted it to go, but don't worry, you will get through those lessons with your older children. Here are some ideas to help make homeschooling with babies and toddlers easier.
Let's start with the tiny babies; you know, the ones who cry as soon as you try to put them down to work with one of your other children.
1. It is amazing how much you learn to do while holding or nursing a baby. I have held/nursed a baby and written spelling words on the board, graded papers, helped a child with an art project. You name it, if you have a tiny baby in your house, you will learn to do many things one-handed.
2. The key to a new baby is to learn to be flexible. Sure you would like to do math first thing, but if that is the baby's fussy time, then math will have to wait. If baby is sick, then only do what you can do without frustrating everyone!
3. Take advantage of nap times. If you have a baby that actually lies down and naps, especially for long periods of time, then you have it made. Take that nap time and use it to cover those more difficult subjects. Leave the less intense subjects for baby's awake time.
4. In the early months, do only the basics. Read aloud a lot, watch educational movies, do short unit studies and just cover bookwork for the basic subjects. It's okay, your other children will not fall behind if you take some time off. Oh, yeah, you should plan to take some time off in the beginning. Maybe a good 6 to 8 weeks after the baby is due. If you have older children who can do work on their own, let them carry on, but if you are responsible for the teaching, build in some time off till you get back on your feet! Trust me, things will go much better if you do.
Pretty soon that baby will be a one year old who is on the move.
Once those babies learn to move, watch out. Now you have to be in two
places at once: with the student and chasing the baby! Here are some
ideas to help you deal with those moving targets.
1. Set up a play area near your school area. This way the toddler can entertain herself for short periods of time (and I mean SHORT) while still being near you.
2. Always try to keep your toddler part of the mix. Even when they are playing, they are listening to what is going on around them. Once I had older kids and a toddler, I was amazed at how much that toddler was learning and remembering just by being in the same room while we did our lessons.
3. Don't be afraid to utilize your older children. If you need to spend some serious one-on-one time with another one of your students, see if an older sibling will take a turn with the toddler (or baby!). You can set up 1/2 hour turns with the toddler and different siblings. This way it is fun for everyone. If that doesn't work, hopefully your toddler still takes a nap and you can hit it hard at that time.
4. Make sure they aren't hungry. Nothing is worse than just getting started with a lesson and having your toddler begging you for food. Take care of that before you're ready to start.
It is a hectic time of life, but it doesn't have to be horrible. Homeschooling with babies and toddlers will allow you to practice the virtue of patience, but, hey, that's not a bad thing to do, right? Realize that this phase will not last forever. Enlist the help you need and don't set expectations too high. Try hard to enjoy this unique time of your life.