Jens2Cents

Preparing to Homeschool the Littles (A.K.A. Tot School)

Posted on: 09/05/2014

Recently, I attended a workshop on homeschooling younger children (often referred to as “tot school”, especially on Pinterest). Yes, I have been homeschooling Cookie for a few years now, but each child is different and I felt the methods gone over at the workshop applied to Biscuit better than the flexible unschooling that my older son so desperately needed. Social anxiety makes it hard for me to go in to a lot of situations, especially group settings where people may focus on me. (I really dislike introducing myself right at the beginning before I get a chance to ease in to the group. All of my introductions are rushed “HimynameisJen.Ihave4!kidsandIneverleavethehouse.Done!“) Overall though, I really enjoyed the workshop and information provided. I’ll even be going back for a follow-up workshop! There was a point where everyone looked at me like I was crazy. Apparently having four children and not having a schedule/lots of structure makes people look at you like a two-headed monster, ha! I did mention that needing some structure for the 3 year old was a big reason for attending. It seems the rest of us do fine with chaos! 😉

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Baby Signing Time book I won from Melissa's blog

Melissa has a background in early childhood education, is a homeschooling mother & teaches baby sign language classes. I’ve interacted with her a few times through Facebook and like her blog, so I was confident her workshop would be helpful even though her teaching style is different from ours. I’m of the belief that you can always learn something from everyone around you. Just take what applies to you and leave the rest!

While there were several things that I learned, what struck with me most was using tot school themes as a method for book and toy rotation. We are very blessed with quality toys and books in our home. While I am always going through & pulling out anything broken or rarely used, this still leaves plenty to be strewn about the house. Having all of this stuff to clean up on a daily basis is tiring! I’ve been looking for a good way to rotate things and the idea of connecting it to each week’s lesson plan sounded perfect!

I’m not sure at the moment how structured our themes will be and I’m pretty certain a weekly rotation isn’t happening here, at least not yet. Bi-weekly rotation sounds possible and hopefully will keep the littles more interested in their toys and books. (At the moment, everything just gets dumped out, then forgotten.) Right now I am slowly taking away toys to organize into bags & place in a plastic storage cart with drawers( like this one). It took about a week for Biscuit to realize he didn’t have as many toys as he used to! “Mama, where’d all my toys go?” Oops, sorry kiddo! I’m already pleased by how much less there is to throw around!

Next week, I’d like to be organized enough to go with our first theme, “Construction”! Biscuit has been super in to construction vehicles these last few weeks, especially cranes. I’m hoping to find a few ways to involve Cookie in these themes for some crossover. If I can get Biscuit interested in something & expand on it a bit with age appropriate material for Cookie, I’ll consider it a homeschooling win!

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4 Responses to "Preparing to Homeschool the Littles (A.K.A. Tot School)"

That sounds perfect! Every family is different, so I’m glad you found a few ideas that will work for y’all! I definitely wouldn’t change themes weekly if I wasn’t also teaching classes. 🙂

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I am glad that the workshop was valuable! It looks like some great (and fun) ideas!
🙂
Traci

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[…] I had with the moms in attendance of my latest tot school workshop, including Jennifer from Jens2Cents. While discussing learning styles & interest-led studies, we talked about the seamless […]

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