Monday, September 15, 2014

Homeschooling toddlers, our every day.

check out that wild hair......

When I talk about homeschooling, I'm often times referring to my desire to teach my kids once they become of school age. To me, that's when the real deal begins. What we do now is what I consider to be more fun play and learning {at least I try to make it that way}, and although not necessary, it is for the purpose of setting the foundation for what is to come {if we do decide to homeschool for certain}. We don't have a strict schedule, we don't have a lesson plan for the year, and there are even days where we don't do anything aside from reading all day. Some weeks are full of activity, others not so much. The weather plays a major role as to what gets done and when.

Winter=busy working
Summer=busy playing.

With that being said, there is sort of a routine that we have going on at home that helps us stay on track. This routine is always changing as we are learning new things and as the kids grow. Soon enough, we won't have to focus on ABC's, colors, and numbers with Graham, and we will continue to add new subjects and interesting topics to our agenda for E.

So what do we do daily {most days}

1. Write the date, season, and plan for the day on the board. We do this on a dry erase board that hangs out in the dining room facing the playroom. Then I write down the plan for the day as well as important things that happened either the day before or what is to come in the week {like birthdays!}. While we were learning number recognizition, I used to write different numbers on the board daily to read, but now we just do that for fun every once in a while since she has mastered her numbers up to 1,000. I have her read the sentences and then we underline words that she struggled with and try to incorporate them throughout the day.

2. Meal time learning mats { Activity Placemat }. I bought these off amazon and they have been so great. Not only are they good for catching food, but they are a great conversation starter and opportunity for learning. The U.S. map we talk about where we want to drive today and the states that we have to pass to get there. The solar system map we talk about the different planets and what we know about each planet. And the continent map {we haven't dove into continents yet}, we just briefly talk about some of the animals that we know and where they live. They have some fun activities on the back for kids that are older and can write with the dry erase marker. I am definitely planning on investing in buying more.

3. Read around 20 books/day. We go to the library once a week to get new books, and we get anywhere from 20-30 at a time. It is almost a daily occurence that we read all 20 every day {many times multiple times for some books}. We also have a lot of favorite books that we own, but the library ones are always the biggest hit because they are new to them. If I know what topics we will be talking about during that week, I like to get books that will reinforce our learning.

4. Crafts. These are always easy {mainly construction paper, glue, and scissors}, and takes the kids 10 minutes or less to do. The library has tons of craft books that we have used, and of course pinterest has a slew of ideas on their website.

5. Math & Bingo. These are both done during snack time, and I figured that if my kids are going to already be having a snack, might as well make a fun game out of it. We do bingo almost daily and I make my own sheets {you can print blank ones online} and fill in sight words that we are currently working on for my daughter, and do colors for my son. I plan on also making him a shapes, letters, and numbers one.

6. Puzzles. I have tons of little wooden puzzles {I think 7} for Graham that focus on shapes, colors, ABC's, and numbers, and I have a few big floor puzzles for E that focus on the map of the United States, and facts on dinosaurs. I want to buy more because the kids seem to enjoy these, and again, it makes it a fun learning experience.

7. Hands on games. I use things like bottle caps, paper towel rolls, cardboard, and anything else I can lay my hands on to throw on the living room floor and incorporate it into the weekly theme. If we are doing spelling, then writing different letters on the bottle caps, writing a word with each letter circled on a cardboard, and having the kids match it up. Taking construction paper and writing the ABC's for Graham and then pinning a paper clip onto it, making a stick with a magnet, and having him play "go fish." Simple and easy and quick and did I mention.... easy.

8. Spend time outdoors: This is a must daily and always trumps any kind of work and studies. We can always just talk outdoors and enjoy the sunshine, and there is nothing more beautiful than nature. If it means that it interrupts an activity, then so be it.  

9. Go with the flow: this is what I use 90% of the time. I hate overwhelming myself with ideas because then we never get around to doing them, so this way I don't stress myself or the kids out. I've learning a lot in the short time of teaching my children, and the biggest lesson I have learned is that patience is the biggest marker for success. Lack of it is an automatic ticket to failure. So? Just going with it, what my kids feel like doing and not doing, and incorporating learning opportunities every chance we can get.

Websites that I use
1. First, and foremost, google. Before pinterest, there was google. And after pinterest, there still was google. And still, to this day, I prefer to turn to google because it's the quickest way for me to search something: for websites and for images.  But pinterest I love as well.

5. allows you to have 20 free printables a month {or you can pay a fee to get unlimited printables}

In conclusion:
I think my favorite part about teaching our children {aside from seeing them learn and grasp new concepts} is the fact that I get to learn too. I had no idea that you can tell the difference between an Alligator and a Crocodile based on whether or not you can see their teeth when they close their mouth. I also had no idea that every zebra has a distinct pattern. That


  1. I love this post! I'm starting to do more structured activities with my daughter (she's the same age as your youngest). So far, it's going really well, mostly because she loves to learn & she picks up on things so much easier than I thought she would. I love reading what other moms are doing with their kiddos.

  2. This is a great post for us toddler moms - even though I don't homeschool our little SJ - these are great afternoon activities! x


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