I’m not scared of the words school and preschool. Homeschooling toddlers isn’t an oxymoron and actually most of us with toddlers are probably doing it without thinking about it.
Really, it’s fine. A completely not-big deal.
This week my preschooler is away with his dad and grandparents at a cabin in the woods of Virginia, so the toddler and I have been enjoying a very quiet week at home (because there’s no one to aggravate or be aggravated by, and bonus, the toddler can’t say much!) We’ve taken advantage of this rare one-on-one opportunity to do some age and skill-specific activities.
Unlike the preschooler, Ty, Darren—the toddler–is more…normal. I tried to do activities with Ty when he was a toddler, but most of the time he just wasn’t interested for more than a few minutes.
Darren, on the other hand, is textbook toddler material. He loves to transfer, pour, scoop, stack…his attention is grabbed and, best of all, held by things toddlers ought to find fascinating.
It’s so great.
Just yesterday I was lying in a pregnant stupor on the couch while he rolled a truck around the room and hallway. There is no greater gift a child can give their expectant mother than to just let her lie.
Since many toddlers have natural interests, it’s easy to run with them and turn their playing into school. That’s a big part of homeschooling, finding ways to make learning fun and alive.
So what are we learning while we play?
Right now we are “learning” shapes and colors mostly. Add all-day life skills practice (like, you know, walking and getting food from the spoon to the mouth), animal noise practice, and as much car-lining-up as he wants and that’s a pretty full day of school.
He’s also been very interested in an alphabet puzzle he’s seen his brother play with. We are not emphasizing phonics yet, but there’s nothing wrong with exposure if he’s interested. Because in my book,
The fastest way to destroy a child’s love for learning is to ignore their interests.
Our colors are still pretty rusty (the only one he verbalizes is blue… everything is blue), so we aren’t doing much sorting yet. I’m hoping a few more weeks of playing with this shape stacker and these puzzle-shaped blocks will help nail it down.
Shapes are a different story. He loves shape sorters! My mom picked up this classic Tupperware shape sorter at a consignment shop for $1, and it’s a winner! Darren’s favorite shape is the oval (at least that’s the only one he says…”ovo”…).
Sensory play is a must as well, though I’m one of those moms who finds messy play stressful. He’s tried play dough and water beads because that’s a mess I can handle.
See how easy it is to teach your toddler at home? Read them stories, sing them songs, and talk to them about everything. It’s the best curriculum 🙂
If you’re interested in learning more about how you can guide your little one at home, check out my post and free guide on morning time here!