While the concept of homeschool is far from a new one, it’s received extra attention lately in light of school delays and cancellations amid COVID-19. But many parents — especially parents of toddlers — are finding themselves overwhelmed in this season.
There are a couple camps you might find yourself in. Maybe you’ve always wanted to keep your littles home to encourage and enrich them as they stumble through the basics of ABCs or counting, and now’s your chance. Or maybe you find yourself thrown into an unfamiliar environment of supplementing an academic program that you feel nowhere equipped to teach. Or maybe it’s a mixture of both!
Wherever you are on this scale, we’ve put together some resources and encouragement to help you homeschool your toddler and get guidance you on this journey that so many parents now find themselves on.
1. You’re not alone
The first rule of homeschool is to talk about homeschool with others who are in the same boat. (This may feel like Fight Club sometimes, but it’s not Fight Club.) In March 2020, pre-COVID-19, there were 2.5 million children in homeschool programs across the country. There are homeschool cooperative groups all across the country and you’ll have to search for them based on your local area and your needs – secular or not, STEM or not, etc.
While you might not want to meet with the groups face-to-face, you can still use the cooperative as a resource to help you figure out the best program or way to homeschool your child.
2. Integration is key
There are endless ways to integrate learning opportunities every single day with your children at home. As parents, we all know that our youngest littles don’t have the longest attention spans, so remember to keep lessons short and to the point. Five to 10 minutes on any topic with a 2-year-old is plenty of time, and repetition of the same principles is important.
Incorporate songs and dances into everyday tasks that you need to complete. Talk about the day of the week, what the weather is like and what your schedule for the day will be during breakfast. Have your child help set or clear the table and maybe even prepare the meals. All these skills will help make them more independent and they will be learning valuable motor skills at the same time.
3. Make time and space
If you want to be successful at homeschooling, you will need to dedicate time in planning what you want to teach and to set aside time every day to incorporate learning. If you don’t have a specific room to dedicate to homeschooling, then you can create mobile desk dividers so each child has a space of their own and won’t face distractions from siblings or other things happening at home.
4. Online tools
There are endless programs online that you can tap into to help guide you as you guide your children. Some of the most well known for toddlers are:
- ABCMouse – This interactive program focuses on the basics in education for toddlers through grade 2.
- Learning Dynamics – This program is most well known for their “4 Weeks To Read” system that teaches letters, phonics and blended words.
- LeapFrog Academy – With over 2,000 games geared toward children ages 3 to 6 years old, LeapFrog offers monthly or yearly plans.
- Abeka – Abeka is a popular Christian-based homeschooling kit that guides parents and children from preK to grade 12.
- The Good and The Beautiful – a top-rated homeschooling program that offers curriculum that is easy for the parents to plan and fun for the child to participate in.
5. Give yourself grace!
Let’s face it: There will be some days where you won’t be able to do it or even want to try and fit it all in. And that’s OK.
Give yourself grace and remember that every day is a new chance. Homeschool provides the opportunity for you and your child to work at their own pace. Sometimes that means learning in your pajamas or taking a field trip.
Homeschool won’t look like traditional school and that’s fine. In fact, sometimes that’s the point! If your day involves getting your child involved in household chores, that’s still learning and valuable for their education. There is no right or wrong answer on what the day looks like, as long as it works for you and your child.
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