I have four children. The ages are 10,8,3 and 18 months. Homeschooling this variety of ages can be very challenging. The biggest part of the challenge comes from the toddlers. This can be very distracting to the older children who are trying to concentrate and pay attention. During school, my toddlers have done quite a bit to distract everything. They have written on the walls, climbed on the desk,torn up the books, ate markers and crayons. Then there is the everyday tasks that involve todddlers. The tasks involve breaking up disputes amongst them, feeding them, change their diapers, potty train them. The list is endless. So, you may ask how do you do it? Well the first thing you have to realize is they are toddlers and that is how they are. You can do your best to limit the distractions but always keep in your mind that this is how they are. If you remember this it can relieve a lot of frustration.
Here are some things that I have done to entertain my toddlers:
I recently have bought several buckets of foam stickers. I found them at Wal-mart for around $5. They are big and easy to peel the stickers. My three year old will sit for at least a 1/2 hour and play with them. I also found large foam beads that she can easily string. She strings them and them takes them off and starts again. Recently, I found a box of 1000 little stickers at the dollar store. My daughter mixes them with her foam stickers and has fun.
I make my toddlers homemade playdough. I add food coloring or tempera paints to the salt dough recipe. I also add glitter sometimes to make it even more exciting. I have all kinds of tools such as cookie cutters and plastic utensils. I also found at the dollar store all kinds of neat tools just for playdough. I keep everything in a large closed tub and the girls play with it when they want.
Over the years, I have picked up things to keep everyone busy . The large Lego blocks are good. I have all sizes of wooden blocks also. I have wooden puzzles and foam puzzles with various themes. While they become bored with these items quickly, taking them out from time to time does help.
Making your toddler feel included in your homeschooling atmosphere is important. Give your child some assignments so your toddler feels included. The child may feel jealous when you are working with your older children. I give my toddlers some coloring pages and worksheets to work on. Here are some links that I use:
I use to be worried about the educational benefits of my older children with all these distractions. However, kids are very resilient. They can adjust easily. A teacher from the K12 program I am using informed me that kids have the ability to concentrate easily with many distractions. She said that an adult who sits and reads a book, has to concentrate on that book with limited distractions. However, she said a child has the ability to concentrate easier with many things developing around them. It must be true because my children do quite well considering all that happens in our homeschool.
Wednesday, February 08, 2006