hs-ing with toddlers : support thread - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 51 Old 09-25-2007, 01:49 AM - Thread Starter
 
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I'm finding that homeschooling is not the hard part for me, nor being a sahm, so much as being a homeschooling sahm with a toddler. I keep thinking we've got through the hard bit, only to move on to a whole new difficult stage.

I'd love to have this thread as a place where I can air my frustrations and get some support and ideas from others.

: (me at the end of the average day)
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#2 of 51 Old 09-25-2007, 02:07 AM
 
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I'll join you! My kids are 7, 4 and 2 - the 4 year old goes to preschool 3 mornings a week - and most days I am : by the end of the day (or by breakfast) as well. We had a rare easy flowing day today, not sure why.

Over the weekend someone in my homeschool group gave a workshop on hs'ing with a toddler and/or preschooler. The recommondation was (from someone's book or webiste) to have a box with 60 small activities, 2 per day for a month, that are only pulled out during school time, and recommended having a special mat or drop cloth to put the activities out on, as a cue, and for quick clean up. They used gallon zip baggies for each actiivity, like painting, beads, gluing string on paper, stickers, cutting straws, etc. Each bag is used once a month so it's supposed to be so novel that it holds interest for 20-30 minutes. I think I have lots of stuff around the house that I don't use well, so I'm thinking of getting a box of baggies (trying to thing of something more earth friendly) and start with 10 or so (I don't want to make 60 until I'm convinced this is for the long haul.)

Sorry that was such a book, just fresh on my mind and I'm glad to have a place to share it.
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#3 of 51 Old 09-25-2007, 02:19 AM
 
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I'm here ... I have a 6, almost 4, and 15 month old. The almost 4 is easy ... he just wants to do whatever his brother is doing, so when my oldest is working on, say, Handwriting without Tears or Explode the Code, I have the almost 4 year old play with one of those cheap preschool workbooks; he feels very grown up! It's the baby that is driving me insane! He, too, wants to do whatever his older brothers are doing, and thinks he's entitled to doing whatever they are doing. Unfortunately that means eating crayons, pencil erasers ... so, it's a mad dash to do our schooling when the baby takes his nap. I'm hoping after a couple months, he'll be more apt to either sit with us and do his own little thing at the table ("draw" with crayons instead of eating them or squish playdough or such) or play on the floor with something near us. I hate to admit it, but there have been moments lately where I wish he'd watch TV so we could do some school-y stuff while he's awake. :

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#4 of 51 Old 09-25-2007, 03:09 AM
 
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subbing. i have an 8 yo, 7 yo, 4 yo, and 2 yo. (the 7 & 2 have october birthdays, they aren't actually those ages quite yet. but i'm excited).
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#5 of 51 Old 09-25-2007, 03:54 AM
 
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When I started homeschooling, my younger one was 2. Luckily he has the personality that allows him to play by himself. I actually have more of a problem getting the older one to focus (she's not 7 and he's 4) because she gets distracted so easily. (gets that from me) Now, when the 7 month old gets a bit older, I don't know what we'll do. Especially as Autumn is getting to where schooling is taking more time. There's a big difference in our 2nd grade day than there was in our kindergarten day.

Crystal
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#6 of 51 Old 09-25-2007, 04:00 AM
 
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I also have a 6 yr old (7 this week) 4 yr old and 15 month old. I second everything MyLittleWonders says about the baby eating the pens, pencils, climbing on the table and throwing everything on the floor. Nothing distracts him, he wants to be right in the middle of the action! (We also do any "school" work during naps, when Dad is home or I have a sitter).

How to I sub to a thread?
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#7 of 51 Old 09-25-2007, 04:06 AM
 
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I have a 3yo, and it is hard. It is slowly getting easier, but it is still one of the hardest parts of homeschooling. I've got to go to bed now, but will be reading this thread with interest!
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#8 of 51 Old 09-25-2007, 11:55 AM
 
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The Duchess - you should now be subscribed to the thread by replying.

And yep, getting up on the table and sitting in the middle, taking command of everything sounds *exactly* like my 15 month old.

Tallanov - I hear you on school becoming a bit more involved as they get older. Even the change this year for 1st from last year (and mostly at my 6 year old's initiative ... he wakes at 7:30 sometimes wanting to "do school" already) has brought more of a time committment. Kindergarten was very relaxed and holistic for us. This year, we are trying to accomplish more in a day - read alouds, phonics/printing, math, history, nature study/environmentalism, art/crafts ... it's amazing what we can accomplish during a two hour nap!

For us, maybe once the baby cuts his canine teeth, he'll stop chewing everything. I'm not sure though ... my 6 year old is still pretty oral (still puts things in his mouth and chews - I'm blaming it right now on him getting his first beginnings of loose teeth), and the baby seems just as oral as his oldest brother.

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#9 of 51 Old 09-25-2007, 02:29 PM
 
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Scratch what I said about the almost 4 year old being easy. I don't know who interrupted us more this morning - the baby or the almost 4 year old. I was trying to simply read through one chapter of Story of the World and look through a 2-page layout in the Usbourne Encyclopedia of the World. It took twice as long. :

Usually the almost 4 year old will sit and listen; today he started by going and building some Lego's in the other room. That worked well because the baby nursed for a few minutes. Then I don't know what happened except all-you-know-what broke loose. I finally closed the books and told ds#1 we'd finish later.

Hopefully after our speech appointment this morning and a quick errand, the baby will fall asleep, we can eat some lunch, and then the boys and I can continue our hs'ing activities.

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#10 of 51 Old 09-25-2007, 03:15 PM
 
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Oh, I am definatley subbing to this one!

I am unschooling a 5 year old boy and his VERY spirited 2 yo sister. My son was in preschool last year just so he would have time to do some projects/work/play without it being interupted, knocked down, kicked, drawn on, etc. by his little sister. We talked about putting her in preschool for 3 years while we focus on his homeschooling but decided against it. It is also one of the main reasons we are unschooling. Even unschooling, it is challenging. If he is drawing, she sits on the table and takes his markers. Or, if she is drawing too, she screams for the colors he is using. I can't talk to him without being interupted (though the reverse is also true). We can't fully pursue his interests because we are limited by her toddlerness - i.e. we can't plant a garden because she pulls out whatever we plant, etc. It is starting to get eaiser (everyone knock on wood!!). I am now able to go to the library, museum, etc. without her running away from me and she'll sit for books now. I hope we are able to work out a routine during her nap and maybe have some work time when she is awake also, to continue to try to teach her and work within her personality.
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#11 of 51 Old 09-25-2007, 03:31 PM
 
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My eldest (BeanBean) will be 5 in about a month (kindergartener). The girls are 3 (BooBah) and 18 months old (Bella), and I'll have a new little boy in February. Yes, I have lost my mind. Bella eats pencil erasers-- she goes about it very methodically, chewing them right down to the metal. BooBah has a very mellow, laid-back personality, but she's very, very particular about things and wants to do them her own way. When school time rolls around, BooBah wants private time and specific help & projects. She absolutely INSISTS that she is a kindergartener, and she's learning to read out of sheer stubborness, I swear.

Today for the first time, BeanBean encountered something that he had to think about to learn. He threw himself away from me and declared, "I'm not ready to be a kindergartener!" Then he told Mike all about how he'd been coerced into kindergarten (this is the same child who, six months ago, burst into tears at the thought that he might not be permitted to start kindergarten this year ). Yeah, we took a break, and he came back to it calm and ready to go. It was still pretty easy, but it really was the first time that he's had to *think* about something we did for school, and it threw him for a loop.

SeaMonkey makes it impossible for me to eat and remain hydrated right now, so I'm not as happy as I could be. Add to that that we're out of Floravital (and it's going to be a while before we can order more ) and I'm left treading water... :

Things will get easier, I'm sure. I can see it already. Even if I can convince my sister to pull my neices from school and I end up with both of them around five days a week, things will get easier-- ChibiChibi is old enough to be helpful even though she'll still need one-on-one attention and work, and BizzyBug is very easy to deal with once you establish rules and routine. All it takes is a sign on the wall and BizzyBug will adhere to it with fierce dedication. Still, there would be work involved... I cannot believe sometimes that I'm so willing to bring two more children (even if they are older) into this chaos that I call "family life."

Rynna, Mama to Bean (8), Boobah (6), Bella (4) and Bear (2)
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#12 of 51 Old 09-25-2007, 08:56 PM
 
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#13 of 51 Old 09-25-2007, 09:04 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Oh, yay, I'm not alone!

Not much time now (as dd creates chaos around the house) but quickly...DS and DD are such totally different temperaments, so this is all new to me right now. DS would have sat with a puzzle, book, blocks etc for hours on end (still does); DD never sits still for a second and wnats to be doing exactly what DS is doing. For crafts and baking etc this works ok but for story (which is key to our curriculum) it's a nightmare. She'll do whatever she can to disrupt it and usually wins.

I've tried distraction with toys, etc but it doesn't work. She has a new fascination with tape and scissors so I may try that next time.

We're also struggling with her not always napping and going to sleep late. 6am- 9pm with one person, homeschooling or no homeschooling, is just crazy making!
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#14 of 51 Old 09-25-2007, 09:21 PM
 
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yep, i'm here too. i have a 6 yo, 3 yo, and 4 month old. we were planning on my 3 yo dd being in preschool 3 mornings a week but she doesn't like it so we're dropping out. so far it is going okay, not great but not horrible. i bought her the pre-K hwot just so she'd have something similar to work in and she does like doing that. i like the baggie idea but am a little afraid that my 6 yo will then want to do whatever is in the baggies instead of his stuff.

Chrissy, lucky mama to Noah (9), Lilah (6), Rowan (3) and Laney (1).
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#15 of 51 Old 09-25-2007, 09:37 PM
 
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10 yr old, 4 yr old, and 2 yr old here. Most days I get thru fine, but my house is trashed from letting the littles do big messy projects to keep them occupied, and then not having the time to clean it up, and I am exhausted by dinner time. I always feel like I'm shortchanging somebody, if I focus on my eldest, the littles are left to their own devices, and vice versa. My oldest is old enuf to do some work alone obviously, but too much isn't good either, I need to be doing her work along with her, so I can see where she's having trouble ect.
This is a great idea for a thread btw!
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#16 of 51 Old 09-25-2007, 10:10 PM
 
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Nicole | Mom to Ciara & Oliver | Finally living aboard & loving it!
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#17 of 51 Old 09-26-2007, 02:23 AM
 
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I'll join in. Rhett is almost three (January). We unschool, but there are times when Dusty loves doing worksheets on various things or researching things on the computer and of course the little one wants to get into everything. There is no sack of flour or box of baking soda safe from this child. We end up having snow storms in the middle of the kitchen. I just count it as exploratory and sensory play. :

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I am just me. Cert. HHP and Herbalist and mom to three wonderful home educated boys.
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#18 of 51 Old 09-26-2007, 05:19 AM
 
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Mine will turn 6 and 2 at Christmas, so I am in the thick of it too. Yesterday my youngest discovered the fun of coloring herself with markers. If I let her do it she is happy, if I tried redirecting, she screamed, which totally disrupts her brother. Fun.

Mom to 10yo Autistic Wonder Boy and 6yo Inquisitive Fireball Girl . December birthdays.

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#19 of 51 Old 09-26-2007, 09:33 AM
 
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Me too!
DS#1 is 8, DS#2 is 4, DD is 9 months.
Thank goodness we unschool. My 4yo & 9mo take turns making it challenging to do anything not about them...
My 8yo is a fantastic unschooler, he loves to decide how to learn something new everyday.

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#20 of 51 Old 09-26-2007, 09:51 AM
 
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We do a lot of work outside, lots and lots of outdoor exploration and play. Dd and I usually do any sit down work that we have at our dining room table which looks out over our backyard, so my 3 year old plays out there. I try to include him as much as he wants to be included, like during circle time and sometimes he wants to color as we draw letters, he loves to paint with us. I think our method of homeschooling is just very toddler friendly and is great for multiple ages to come and go as they want to.
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#21 of 51 Old 09-26-2007, 10:40 AM
 
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I'll sub. My kiddos are 6 (nearly 7), 5 and 18 months. We basically unschool. My oldest is generally pretty easy. My 5 year old will be happily looking forward to an activity, then when we get there, she doesn't want to go in (despite having loved it the week before). Managing helping her work through it, while not encouraging the drama while keeping an eye on my little wild man is not easy. My 18m old has become quite a climber (and faller)-- my middle child fell off a chair and broke her arm when she was in this stage, and I don't want that to happen again. I'm a little tense. I yell more than I'm proud of.

I hate getting to the end of the day feeling like I didn't really do right by anyone.

On the plus side, even if I feel like we're hardly doing anything, my kids are all progressing well. But I really thought we'd have settled into our "school year" routine by now. :

We are way way over-scheduled, and that's a big part of the problem.

ZM
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#22 of 51 Old 09-26-2007, 10:40 AM
 
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: Great idea for a thread! I've got a 6 yo homeschooler and a 13.5 mo crayon eater.
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#23 of 51 Old 09-26-2007, 10:42 AM
 
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I have a 8 year old and 2 year old. I only work 3 days a week and DH SAH so it's not that big of an issue. A lot of what DS1 does is independent work that he does in his room.

Unassisted birthing, atheist, poly, bi WOHM to 4 wonderful, smart homeschooling kids Wes (14) Seth (7) Pandora Moonlilly (2) and Nevermore Stargazer (11/2012)  Married to awesome SAH DH.

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#24 of 51 Old 09-26-2007, 10:48 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by zeldamomma View Post

We are way way over-scheduled, and that's a big part of the problem.

ZM
I've just realized this in the past week. I've decided to cut out some of our playgroups for now. I feel like we are constantly running around and DD's "schoolwork," the housework, and my sanity are falling behind.
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#25 of 51 Old 09-26-2007, 02:35 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by homeschoolmama View Post
: Great idea for a thread! I've got a 6 yo homeschooler and a 13.5 mo crayon eater.
: I like that. My 18 month old doesn't eat crayons (often); she prefers erasers.

Rynna, Mama to Bean (8), Boobah (6), Bella (4) and Bear (2)
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#26 of 51 Old 09-26-2007, 03:14 PM
 
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I'll be keeping an eye on this thread. I've got one about to turn four who is VERY interested in learning. We haven't started any official curriculum or anything, but he enjoys doing activites, learning about topics he requests, and even doing worksheets (he's got older cousins who go to public school and he proudly calls his worksheets "homework" as he plugs away.) We were doing great till baby brother got mobile about 3 months ago.. He's 9.5 months, so not a toddler (though the toddling isn't far away) but he's very demanding of attention... and if there's a moment where he's NOT demanding, then it probably means he's discovered something he shouldn't (climbing something, attacking the cat, splashing in the toilet.)
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#27 of 51 Old 09-26-2007, 03:24 PM
 
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7,5,3 and 15 months here. I have a secret that makes it all possible. I have help. A lot of it--almost full-time. I live in Moscow, where basically it is very difficult to function without help (for example a big grocery shop for my family of six takes 5-7 hours with traffic and all the hassles associated with trying to do anything here) and where help is relatively inexpensive even if you pay someone well by local standards. Also Dh is always on the road so I need help getting everyone where they need to be, etc.

Otherwise I have no idea how I would do it. I could homeschool, but not get dinner out. Ever.

It takes a lot for me to confess this, but it is the truth. I'd love to be a superwoman, but I am not. Our housekeeper, cleans, grocery shops and makes dinner. She also takes my 15 mo out for a walk every afternoon while the bigs and I read. I'd marry this woman if I could.

I have a couple of tutors, too. For Russian language and math.

I don't know how this helps anyone, except that I think it shows that not everyone is able to homeschool a houseful single-handedly. Sometimes I think I'm the only one who needs help, but maybe I'm not.

Happy mom to DS2000, DS2002, DD2004, DS2006 and DS 10/2009:
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#28 of 51 Old 09-26-2007, 04:26 PM
 
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Subbing, I've got similar issues, but we're only doing preschool right now, so when my youngest one is being really impossible, we end up not doing any, "school." Horrible solution I know, but we're still kind of just, "playing" school right now since it's preschool.
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#29 of 51 Old 09-26-2007, 04:34 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Originally Posted by suziek View Post
I don't know how this helps anyone, except that I think it shows that not everyone is able to homeschool a houseful single-handedly. Sometimes I think I'm the only one who needs help, but maybe I'm not.
Oh no, no way! I think we ALL need help. We were not meant to be living in this crazy isolated nuclear family situation. What you describe sounds wonderful and sounds like what extended family and community would be doing years ago or in tradiitonal society.

We may look into hiring someone a few hrs a week, but I'm not sure how; we're struggling already financially.
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#30 of 51 Old 09-26-2007, 05:13 PM
 
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I totally agree; I am hoping to trade tutoring of an older student for kid-chasing time. If I can find a nice teen/pre-teen who needs help with math and is willing to chase the kids for a few hours at the park, I could, you know, take showers alone and do laundry and stuff.

Rynna, Mama to Bean (8), Boobah (6), Bella (4) and Bear (2)
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