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"Homeschooling" a toddler

926 Views 17 Replies 16 Participants Last post by  Shrarvrs88
I have a little boy, two, who is BORED out of his mind with me, lol. I was very good with coming up with fun things for him to do as a baby, but as he is growing and showing interest in more complex things (and I am getting more tired, baby due any day now) I am running into a wall on things to teach him. Anyone have ideas? Obviously "school" activities are out of the question, as he is way too young to sit still and do math or essay writing, lol. But maybe ideas for a type of curriculum, that includes life skills and stuff, but age appropriate for a two-three year old.

I can think of some things, but am curious what others have to suggest. Maybe others that have been there, or are doing stuff with little ones currently.

Thank you so much!
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Walmart sells learning books for his age. Look for the school/craft section.

Music, playdoh, large lego, cars and a garage, coloring books, learning to read books, are all good things for his age.
Don't get stuck on the 'age appropriate' boxes either!! If your child is 2, buy the learning items for ages 3+. If it's beyond them, it will still peak their interest for a while. Coloring, writing (or scribbling) on a pad, flash cards, toy computers, golf set, glove and ball, T-ball, whatever will keep him stimulated. Might even buy some homeschool books for kindergarden and 1st grade.
My 2.5 year old daughter loves She is learning letters and phonics and having a good time at it. She calls the website her "alphabet games".
Do a google search for "tot school". There are a ton of homeschoolers out there that use a lot of fun, educational things with 2 yr olds. Here is one link with a lot of great ideas.
Toddlers are naturally imitative. They want to do what you do. Teach him to do the stuff you do. If you are cutting vegetables, let him cut with a table knife. If you are making beds, let him help pull bedding up on the other side. Get him to sweep up dust bunnies from under furniture. He is closer to them than you are, so he can see them better.

Start giving him jobs. It is good training for the future.

He will learn to read by hearing you read to him and by seeing you read yourself.

Education is a lot more than "school stuff for toddlers."
Have you looked at Before Five in a Row? I enjoyed reading the stories to my children and doing some of the activities recommended. Some of the books I recorded on tape (I'm probably dating myself here), and my children would listen to them over and over. A lot of the books I was able to find in used book stores, and most of the others in the libraries.

Even with really "advanced" toddlers, I like to just read to them, and let them play around with letters and numbers. We have some alphabet cards on really strong cardboard that our 19 month old adores. He also plays with age-appropraite puzzles/games with his brothers. Blocks or duplos, stuff he can put in and take out (big one right now). This one is really into helping, so I let him put the lid on the milking container. He also grabs the broom and drags it around the floor when he drops something.

For us, though, reading aloud is the biggest. The toddler insists on being included in school and likes to sit quietly on my lap or beside me while I read, even the Bible which sometimes causes the middles' eyes to glaze over if the reading goes a little long.
I have a 3 year old and while the other kids are off to school during the day we have our own version of "school".

We read through Mommy's magazines and look for certain colors or letters.

We fold laundry and he gets to fold the washcloths in half for me. Then he matches the socks.

When we empty the dishwasher he gets to do the silverware.

You get the idea. Have him work WITH you.

I also made up "Busy Bags". One bag may have lacing cards in them. Another one has a "fishing pole" (dowel rod with a string on it) and he gets to fish for foam fish. There's a magnet at the end of the pole and on the fish's nose.

We play "I Spy" a lot, too. (Today it was "I spy Mommy taking a quick nap!" LOL)

Of course read to him all you can. Then have him "read" to you. See if he can make up a story based on the pictures.
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I second

Also, get Leap Frog Letter Factory preschoolers learn letter sounds so easily with that.

I use "Answers for Preschoolers" for 3-4 yr olds...they love it. has it cheapest.

You also might enjoy Sonlight preschool which has lots of great books to read.

Homeschool Mom of 7 in KY
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If you have a place for it, both of my children enjoyed having their own garden at that age. A marigold for deadheading and bouquets, a cherry tomato plant, and a pumpkin vine to wait for all summer and then carve jack-o-lanterns in the fall. I provided a hand shovel and a watering can. They both still enjoy gardening.

Also try Enchanted Learning. Lots of craft ideas and beautiful coloring pages based on theme.
My granddaughter will be 2 in September and grandson born Feb.1. Like you my daughter's hands' are full. My daughter has a collection of flash cards. The cards have colors and objects and describe them in one simple word. My granddaughter can not yet put 2 words together, but she speaks the words, some pronunciations better than others. The good thing about the cards is the flexibility. My daughter can shuffle through them with her or the 2 year old will sit and play with the cards on her own while she attends to the other child.
Look up Montessori learning. They hav ea whole stack of ideas for enabling little ones to learn.

One thing that I did for my DD (which wa sadapted from one of their ideas) was to make a big coloured map of the world. Colours for continents. I cut out two piececs of coloured card for each continent. She then had a "matching puzzle" which she could play at - I would give her the cut out of Australia and she had to match it up with the map. It's up to you where you 2yo is whether you bother with the names but I always did. Next stage is to go through a stack of magazines and cut out photos of animals. So then you can say "this is a Zebra, the Zebra goes here". You would be amazed how fast they can learn where all the animals come from. I tended to stick to distinctive ones - Pandas, kangaroos, bears, platypus safari animals etc etc. My DD has forgotten about the game, but she still remembers where all the continents and a lot of the countries are :)

Another good one is to teach them memory.

puzzles are great.

And as much sploshign abotu of paint etc as they can hope for :)


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Personally, I wouldn't over think this. Not for a toddler anyway.

Surround him with books, open-ended toys (like Duplos, pots/pans, wooden blocks, trucks, etc) and for a whole lot of fun (and mess), a sand and water table!

Avoid the temptation to over-structure a toddler/preschooler's environment.
Have you looked at Before Five in a Row? I enjoyed reading the stories to my children and doing some of the activities recommended. Some of the books I recorded on tape (I'm probably dating myself here), and my children would listen to them over and over. A lot of the books I was able to find in used book stores, and most of the others in the libraries.

This is fabulous series.

I would put together bunch of baggies or small boxes of stuff, (flash cards, play dough, little toys etc. etc.) put the baggies into a big box and let him pull out one baggie to play with... something about the grab bag game that toddlers love.
I second (or is it third now?) Before Five In A Row. It's excellent. After you've read several of the picture books and done some activities you will never be able to read another children's book without thinking of activities you could do. It just gets your mind thinking that way.

I would also look at your library or through inter-library loan for "Mudpies to Magnets" and "Everybody has a Body." Both are loaded with preschool science activities.
Thank you guys so much! My littlest one was born two weeks ago (another boy) and I have been using "school time" to spend some extra attention on the new big brother. It seems to help with the jealousy issues. We are really having fun going throught the advice and trying things out! I have been having him help me feed our rabbits, he has been helping me clean, and lately he has decided he wants to know how to cook....SCARY! But doable. We do sit down and do some preschool work pages, but more as "coloring time" than anything. and the advice to read books aloud is solid gold. It is so easy to have him turn pages (in all kinds of order) and I talk about the pictures/read the words. Frees me up to nurse or change a diaper, or whatever.

I am also looking into the other suggestions! Thanks again!
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