The bulk of our history books were delivered yesterday by the big brown truck. Also in the boxes were some of our art supplies. The possibilities contained in these cardboard boxes are exhilirating: how many good stories will we enjoy together this year! How will my girls grow intellectually, morally, and spiritually, thanks to our time together in the books? How will we all be stretched and challenged in our creativity by the art that we will encounter and produce?
I’ll confess, though, that I am not undaunted by the challenges before me, now more than ever before, thanks to homeschooling with a little bundle of energy known around these parts as the DLM.
I want our homeschool to be good, really good. Aside from my own selfishness and lack of self-discipline in some matters that have a big impact on our days, the biggest challenge I face is how to manage the DLM and keep school from either taking all day to complete (a direct antithesis to what I’m trying to institute in the CM method) or disintegrating completely in a puddle of frustration and tears.
What? You thought this was easy? 😉
In an effort to be more solutions- than problems-oriented, here are some things that I’m contemplating as helps in our particular situation this year:
- working with the DLM consistently on spending a short period of time daily in his bed with a few toys and books. He actually likes to do this sometimes! (I’ll never forget the time he saw a stack of board books on his dresser and lunged for them, gleeful at the thought of opening and closing them–and throwing them and stuffing them between his mattress and the rails of his baby bed.)
- working with the girls on not wanting to go in and “rescue” him when he gets a little bit fussy. The fussiness usually passes when a toy or book recaptures his attention.
- having a clear set of expectations (realistic ones, which is one of my weaknesses) as to what we’ll accomplish in one day, and communicating this to the girls. I’m thinking that a medium-sized whiteboard on which we write our assignments and tasks for the day might help in this department.
- adhering to the short lessons that CM advocated.
- working on the habit of attention for the girls, which is the big reason that the short lessons are important.
- making the girls my helpers with the DLM, each individually, while the other sister is doing a particular lesson (math or reading instruction/practice) that requires lots of brain power. Have the girls alternate between helping and schooling, but don’t expect too much of them.
- keeping the school room reasonably tidy and toddler-proof (ha!) so that the DLM can have a little more freedom.
- collecting a box of special toys that the DLM only plays with during school time in the school room.
- being flexible myself so that my little apple cart isn’t upset if a day doesn’t go as planned. It’s okay to put off math until the DLM takes a nap or even until Steady Eddie gets home from work one afternoon, if my best laid plans go awry.
I know there are lots and lots of resources out there with ideas for how to homeschool successfully with babies and toddlers. Preschoolers and Peace is a first line of defense in this challenge for me; knowing that Kendra has walked (and is still walking!) this pathway and that she offers so many practical solutions is a great encouragement. However, I’d love to hear your solutions, so tell me: if you’ve homeschooled successfully with toddlers, what tips and tricks have helped you?
Well, the DLM is awake now, so it’s time for me to change hats and move into mommy mode.
I pray that your Wednesday is a peaceful one!