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Hi everyone,<br><br>
I have a 4 year old and a 20 month old and me and my husband have been on the fence about homeschooling vs. PS. I lean towards HS and my better half leans towards PS. The big question we both have is how the heck am I going to be able to teach her anything with her 20 month old brother running around the house- I mean I can't even keep the house clean! Plus were going to be ttc for # 3 soon, so were both wondering how to hs with toddlers/babies. Neither of us are teachers by education ( although we both have advanced degrees) so I really don't even know where to start, is there a good book or website someone can suggest? Thanks!<br><br>
Katy
 

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Hi Katy!<br><br>
I have a 4.5 year old and a 2.5 year old. I have found it very difficult to do things with my older child while the younger one is still in toddler mode. Setting up crafts, for example, tends to lead to huge messes and one upset big sister (when DS starts interfering with her project). There are few opportunities to really sit down and do things with DD with him around.<br><br>
The good news is that there is NO RUSH to start "schooling". Just let your 4 year old be a kid and play. There is so much learning that happens just in that alone. You have years ahead of you to do sit-down, directed learning projects with your kids.<br><br>
There is no reason why a kid "has" to learn certain things at certain ages. Sometimes waiting means they learn it twice as fast, and when they are really wanting to have that skill. Anyways, what I'm trying to say is that you can hold off doing "schooling" with your DD until your toddler is a bit older and isn't such a hindrance to focused time.<br><br>
If your DD is confident enough to do non-parent participation activities, like art or gym classes, then certainly you can go for that. Mine only just started being able to do that, and only for her weekly gym class for now (she's been going for ages so she's comfortable there). I enlisted the help of grandma and a sitter to come with us to classes where DS would be too distracting. For example we did some classes at our ecology centre and they had a lovely play area so my Mum or the sitter could hang with DS while DD and I did the (1 hour) class together. If you can afford to pay for help then, or if you have a family member who can come along, it becomes much easier.<br><br>
As for #3, by then your oldest will be more independent in her work and approach. She may be ready to head off to some classes that interest her and you can drop her off there and tend to the little ones. She'll be able to work independently on at-home projects, too. Then do the same thing with #2...just let him be a kid and don't try to do anything "schooling" like with him until #3 is old enough to make it work.<br><br>
Anyways, that's just my 2 cents, coming from an unschooling perspective.
 

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<img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="/img/vbsmilies/smilies/yeahthat.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="yeah that">:
 

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First of all, I don't think that it's necessary to do formal lessons with a 4yo.<br><br>
However, even if you choose to do so, I bet you could fit it in with your everyday activities. Even die-hard school-at-home homeschoolers only school for a short time each day. Because homeschooling is so efficient and has such an excellent teacher:student ratio, it is possible to cover subjects much more quickly than they do in school. I consider myself a relaxed homeschooler. But we do use a curriculum. My children who are kindergarden age this year usually do 20-30 minutes worth of formal lessons each day. This includes math, reading, and learning about our topic for the week. For example, yesterday my kids practiced writing Ps, did a sound discrimination worksheet where they found the words that started with /p/, played a math game, marked the date on their calendars and talked about the difference between spring and summer, and learned about penguins by listening me read a website while they looked at pictures and maps. All of this took approx. 30 minutes- and at the end, ALL of my kids came to look at the penguin website.<br><br>
Many HSing moms of toddlers find ways to make it work. Some do lessons or crafts while the toddler naps. Some include the toddler by providing playdoh, blocks, washable markers, etc. while the older children are working at the table. I did a fair amount of nursing my toddler while talking with the older child.
 

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First, <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="/img/vbsmilies/smilies/hug2.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="Hug2"> I know how you feel - I was there once too. I think most of have been. It depends on what "approach" you choose to take in regard to homeschooling, but I think with most any real "formal" lessons don't start until around age 6 or so. So, really, you still have about 2 years. I typically start with 10-15 mins. of phonics everyday at around age 4 or 5; but that's it. Everything else is mostly playing, art, music, exploring, etc. And, even at 6, we still only spend about 45 - 1 hour on "school" each day. And, I do that stuff (Language Arts, Math) when my youngest is napping. We still do art and "play" everyday, which is fine when she's up, as I let her jump in there and participate too. Now that my oldest is almost 8, I'm struggling with finding a new way to do things since we've gradually added more (history,science) along the way.<br><br>
If your a schedule-type of person (or even if you're not) I've found that helps. I'm not, by nature, very organized, but a loose schedule has done wonders around my house. Especially now that I'm teaching 2 kids and have a toddler.<br><br>
One other thing, I've noticed with my 2 year old that she really just wants to be a part of what we're doing. She wants to be included. So I usually let her sit at the table with us and color/paint/look at a book/whatever. And whatever we can't get done with her with us, we do once she's down for her nap. Or, occasionally i'll put on a video for her and my 5 year old while I work with my oldest.<br><br>
Oh, and, honestly, if you do decide to homeschool, you're house will probably never be beautifully, sparkling clean <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/orngbiggrin.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="orange big grin"> We can't do it all!! I will say though, that my house is actually cleaner now than it was before I started homeschooling <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/headscratch.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="headscratch"> That one's actually still a mystery to me.<br><br>
I hope this helps! Good luck to you! If you're really want to do it -- YOU CAN!!!! Everything will work out fine! Trust. <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/love.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="love"><br><br>
Misti
 
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