Homeschooling with toddlers around is no joke. It is way harder to homeschool with little ones around making a mess, being loud, and begging for your full attention. I know I will miss these days one day, but for now it takes a lot of patience and working out a good daily routine.
Having 4 kids and homeschooling from the beginning I have ALWAYS had a little one under foot. I’ve tried many different ways to keep them busy and many different schedules to work with them.
This year I am homeschooling 2nd grade and Kindergarten with a 3 year old and 15 month old tagging along. My youngest, love him to pieces, but he has been the biggest hand full of all my children at that age. He loves to climb onto the table, push all the workbooks off, and color on everything. When he is disciplined for it, a huge tantrum ensues, my older ones get frustrated because they can’t concentrate, let alone hear me, and it becomes a big mess. (But look at that face 😍)
So, with that fiasco in mind I have completely changed our schedule/routine, to work around my youngest nap time, and it is working out so well for everyone!
Our days are now completely backwards starting with free play in the morning and school in the afternoon, and it took a while for my mind to get used to it, but it works for this stage in our lives.
We do the same things in the same order everyday, but it isn’t scheduled by a certain time. I love using these Daily Rhythm cards from Treehouse Schoolhouse on our bulletin board. The kids are able to see what is happening next each day. (Use code LITTLESCHOOLOFSMITHS10 for 10% off)
Our School Day
My kids usually get up around 6:45-7am. They are my alarm clock! I am not a morning person and still have a little one who doesn’t sleep through the night, so I need as much sleep as I can get right now. They watch a show or 2 while I wake up and read my devotional(s). I’m reading through these right now: Mom Heart Moments by Sally Clarkson, The Pocket Bible Devotional for Women, The Gracious Space by Julie Bravewriter.
We start the day with morning time at the table along with breakfast. Our Morning time is very simple and consists of our Bible study, calendar, and devotional. We use The Good Gospel for our Bible study this year, the Morning Time Bundle for our calendars, and How Great Is Our God for our devotional everyday.
My kids aren’t big breakfast eaters since they usually have a protein shake when they wake up, so breakfast is usually just some toast & fruit, a bowl of cereal, or a waffle & fruit. They eat, I read, we pray, do our calendars, and are done!
After we finish breakfast they know to go do their chores. We love these editable chore charts. I print, laminate them, and hang it in their room by their door with a dry erase marker.
They are still young so their chores just consist of getting dressed, making their beds, tidying up their room, brushing their teeth & hair, and unloading the dishwasher.
Once their chores are done, they PLAY! They have almost the entire rest of the morning to do whatever they wish. They play with their toys, color, build puzzles, or play games. My kids do watch movies or shows and play on iPads, but we do have a strict NO electronics rule from 8am to 4pm. They know this so don’t even ask for them anymore.
Around 10:30-11am they have to put their toys away and do their independent work. (If fighting breaks out before this time, free play gets cut short. It doesn’t happen often 😉)
Their independent work every day includes 1 page of handwriting and 1 or 2 pages of Explode the Code. My 2nd grader also does her journal and Geography book (it is only 2 questions per day.)
Some days I also switch out handwriting for Building Writers or they use Draw Write Now Books.
They usually take their independent work and go work somewhere throughout the house, whether it be their room, playhouse, couch, or my bed. While they are doing their work I try to spend time playing and reading with my younger 2.
When they are done with their independent work, we ALL go outside to play. While they play I sit in the sunshine and do my Bible study. Right now I am following along & reading through the New Testament with The Bible Recap. I love listening to the short podcast after I finish my reading for the day.
When I finish my Bible study I usually sneak away to go make lunch while they continue to play outside.
I call them in for lunch around noon and do our read aloud while they eat. This has been the best for my kids. They are more likely to sit still and listen when their mouths and hands are full. 😊
This has been our first year to introduce a read aloud and we started by reading books that are also movies. When we finish our book we have a special movie night to watch the movie. They love to talk about the differences between the two. (More on this in an upcoming blog post.)
After lunch my youngest is ready for his nap and my 3 year old usually relaxes by watching a show. This is our new time to do our main school lessons. It is quiet and their are no interruptions.
We do math, language arts, and science or history. (We usually spend 2 days on science and 2 days for history each week. Friday is a catch up day.) It is amazing how much we can get done quickly when it is quiet and we can all focus. We get everything done in about and hour and a half. My 3 year old watches a show and then is usually up and joining us for our science experiment or project.
When we are finished with our lessons, everyone relaxes on the couch or in their room and does their reading. Some days I join them and read a book myself, or some days I use this time to get a little work done before my youngest wakes up. (On a good day he naps for 3 hours!)
Once my little one is awake from his nap they continue to play for the rest of the day. Around 4:30pm we usually stop to pick up the house and get ready to make dinner.
The rest of the evening is for dinner, showers, and spending time with my husband. Bedtime for my kids is 8pm.
After the kids are in bed, I tidy up the kitchen, hang out with my husband, shower, and read. I’m usually asleep by 10:30pm.
And that’s our day!
We all work so much better with a great routine. Having a routine creates less attitudes and complaining with my kids too, since they know what is happening when and what they are expected to do.
Although we do the same thing everyday it is not monotonous. Everyday we are leaning new things, new lessons, experiments, projects, and games. Some days are a little different too when we add other activities like gymnastics and dance class.
Fridays we don’t do book work, but use it to catch up on anything, go on field trips, and do online art classes. I also clean the house on Fridays while they play and I do ALL the laundry on the weekends (one less thing to do/think about during the week.)
I hope seeing our schedule laid out is helpful to you in some way. It may seem backwards, but that is ok. The best part of homeschooling is the flexibility and the power to create any schedule that works the best for your family.
Be sure to follow me on Instagram and I’ll be sharing a day in the life in my stories (and will save to a highlight) next week of our typical school day.
Here are some links to other blog posts that might be helpful to you:
How to Choose Homeschool Curriculum
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