It can be so challenging to have youngins when you are homeschooling. You will have days like mine where you find snacks spilled on the kitchen floor that bleed over onto carpet, you will find things floating in the toilet that don’t belong there, you will find cabinet doors cracked because the toddler really wanted in that one, or you may even hear cups/glasses hitting the floor in some random room.
It’s really hard to keep your cool on those mornings. It’s super hard for the task oriented mother (like myself) to tear myself away from history or Bible lesson to go run the carpet shampooer or sweep or plan the repair of some item in the house. Having 5 kids apx 2 years apart has given me plenty of time to try various ways of keeping a little one busy during school. Here are a few tips for keeping the little ones busy:
- Toys: a bin of toys that they can’t play with except during school time. I had a friend in KY who had a small bin for each day of the week with different things in each bin for variety. We happen to have our classroom set up beside the toy area of the house. That toddler can happily play there for a while.
- Books: I have board books nearby the school table that the toddler loves to have me read to them. This of course can only be done during the ‘lull’ in the other schooling.
- Crayons: i keep thick, non toxic crayons at the table with some junk paper for those moments when the little guy wants to be at the table like everyone else. This can be tricky if your youngin is still in the ‘eating crayon’ phase. You can use pencils also, anything that they can scribble with and feel included.
- Play yard: very handy to keep toddlers contained. You can either use the pack’n’play or the fences that create a safe environment for the toddler to play with safe toys and keep them out of general mischief. Yes there may be some fit throwing, but sometimes as a mother you get to learn to tune things out… fits is one of those times 😉
If your day is just going miserable, may I suggest you call it a day and head to the park with the kids. If the trade-off is a day behind, it is a better choice than crazy/insane/furious mom. Also, there may be days where you send all children to their beds with a book and set the timer for 30 minutes of quiet for mommy. For your own mental health, take the time you need to get your own attitude back on track. If mommy is ‘done’ with schooling, the kids will line up after that 😉 Remember that Jeremiah was speaking to exiles from Judea and Jerusalem (people who had been taken from their homes to a land not their own, often into slavery) when he said:
For I know the plans I have for you, says the LORD, plans for wholeness and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope. Jer 29:11
Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light. Mat 11:28-30