How do you homeschool when distracted by toddlers & baby

Having problems figuring out where to start? Let other homeschoolers offer you some advice!

Moderators: Theodore, elliemaejune

Posts: 4
Joined: Tue Sep 19, 2006 4:50 pm
Location: Halifax

How do you homeschool when distracted by toddlers & baby

Postby djl » Tue Sep 19, 2006 5:06 pm

I have a 4 year old, 2 year old, and a baby. I want to homeschool the 4 year old after she turns 5, but I don't know how it could be done efficiently with 2 other young ones in the house desperate for attention.

How do you homeschool when distracted by toddlers & babies?

Are there any threads that you know of that do a good job of discussing this?


In the meantime I will look around this great forum!

Posts: 172
Joined: Sun Sep 03, 2006 11:14 pm
Location: Okanagan, BC, Canada

Postby Lenethren » Wed Sep 20, 2006 1:04 am

The great thing about homeschooling is you don't have to use a strict schedule. If the baby is fussy you can postpone things till a bit later. Also the work for a 5yr old is minimal. You only need a few hours a week at most and alot of it is just teaching the basics like ABC's, the sounds of the letters, counting, basic math that can all be done verbally while doing other things. When my son was in kindergarten I used anything I could as a lesson like playing "I spy with my little eye" using shapes and letter sounds not just colors, counting in the grocery store, helping me sound out letters in the bedtime story books, etc. Doing it that way I was able to have my younger daughter with me while teaching.
Whatever you can do or dream you can, begin it. Boldness has genius, power, and magic in it.-Goethe

Posts: 418
Joined: Tue Aug 15, 2006 11:16 am

Re: How do you homeschool when distracted by toddlers &

Postby Ramona » Wed Sep 20, 2006 12:08 pm

Yes, I think there have been some threads that touched on this. Probably under curriculum, preschool, etc.

When I started HS'ing my first I would pretty much just talk to him in the middle of all the toys while the toddler played around our feet. Sometimes if I read him a story she'd come over and listen to it. I'd get her to play games like Ring-Around-the-Rosie with us. I had always put them down for naps together, but at that point it worked well to put her down first and then do some pre-K academic stuff (ABCs and counting) with him. That way she would be asleep by the time I put him in the room they shared so they didn't keep each other awake, he got time alone with me for the lessons, and he'd be doing something quiet but challenging and tiring that would help him get ready to sleep.

Since my 3rd was born, I've usually done a lesson with an older child while the other older child plays with the baby, rotating around every 15 minutes or so--depending on how long a lesson takes. Now that I have 6 kids, that still works pretty well.

With my 4th I found that if I played with her first thing every morning until she had had enough attention from me and wandered off to play on her own, then she'd play by herself long enough to let me get quite a bit done with the big kids. Baby had to come first for as long as *she* wanted.

Check out my post and others on the New Day at Our House board.


Posts: 4
Joined: Tue Sep 19, 2006 4:50 pm
Location: Halifax

Postby djl » Fri Sep 22, 2006 7:39 pm

Thanks for the feedback.

We have started "informal" homeschooling for our 4 year old recently. We do activity books, practice letters, and do educational video games. The two year old colors or plays video games to stay occupied. My wife does housework, watches the 8 month old and provides "damage control" if the 2 year old needs something.

I also feel that it is just as important to spend quality teaching time with my younger two. I show the 8 month old written words that we have all over the house and we watch videos with lots of written words. I even consider holding my 8 month old upside down and giving him a "belly-buster" educational, to an extent. The 2 year old loves to play video games with me (pbskids).

The challenge is finding time for everybody. I think homeschooling begins at birth instead of at 5.

I guess a follow up question would be - does it get easier to homeschool as the children get older, even if a new child comes along every 2 years?

Posts: 418
Joined: Tue Aug 15, 2006 11:16 am

Postby Ramona » Fri Sep 22, 2006 10:12 pm

djl wrote:does it get easier to homeschool as the children get older, even if a new child comes along every 2 years?

For us, this has been a yes in general. There are things that get more complicated with more kids, but generally as they get older two things happen--the older ones get more helpful with the younger ones, and more independent in their studying.


Posts: 41
Joined: Tue Aug 29, 2006 11:16 am

Postby Aspie » Sun Oct 01, 2006 10:14 am

Dear djl,

Would it be possible to do some of your homeschooling during the toddlers' 'quiet time'?

Which is what they have when they refuse to nap.

Put on long-playing tape, teach them that quiet time is not over until the music stops.

That way, you only have to deal with the baby interrupting the homeschooling.

If not, would it be possible to arrange some alternative childcare for the toddlers?

Again, you only have to worry about the baby.

Just a couple of suggestions.

Your sincerley,


Posts: 574
Joined: Tue Feb 14, 2006 6:00 am
Location: Western Mass

Postby momo3boys » Sun Oct 01, 2006 8:15 pm

My homeschool network just started a kid swap. We call it kid care, and it means that once a week I don't have to worry about my little one getting in the way for a morning of school, and once a week I have someone else's little one and we do playdough, or read stories and sing songs. We trade off so I can do some neat uninterrupted school stuff with the big boys at least once a week.
Phi 4:13 I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me.

Janet Tatman
Posts: 35
Joined: Wed May 17, 2006 3:01 pm

Postby Janet Tatman » Wed Oct 04, 2006 12:25 pm

You might try a few of these ideas.
Janet T.

Posts: 13
Joined: Fri Oct 06, 2006 1:36 pm
Location: Canada

Postby OA » Tue Oct 10, 2006 6:37 pm

I home schooled (4) children, with (3) toddlers born in a period of (3) years. Somehow it all worked out! Some days I really did wonder if we were making any progress at all, but we were "headed in the right direction" and that was what counted! My DD17 finished high school a year early and is now attending a Christian university. The Lord will honor your faithfulness to Him and will bless your efforts, if you put Him first.

My advice to you is:

:arrow: Start the day off with Bible. It sets the pace (tone) for the rests of the day. (Our children enjoyed the ABeka "Flash-a-Card" Bible program.) Respect and honour to God and His laws will provide guidelines for their behavior and conduct. Memorizing scripture (and scripture songs) together, will "hide God's word" in their hearts. I highly recommend singing together as a family.

:arrow: Include the younger ones in your lessons as much as possible, even if it seems they are not "catching on" to anything you are saying. You will be surprised! My DD17, when she was only 5, began to read very quickly, through listening in on lessons from her older brother.

:arrow: Provide a "work space" for the younger children to look at picture books, or draw. The younger ones felt "quite grown up", when treated as though they were part of our school day. They often sat quietly for hours, playing with math blocks on "their desk" and sketching pictures. They enjoyed being in proximity to our "classes".

:arrow: Try using "multi-level" programs and resources such as "Winston Grammar", "Bible Songs" and "Grammar Songs", so that all the children can participate and learn together. They DO remember what they sing! :D

I'm sure there are other ideas I haven't written down yet, but I can add to these later as I think of them. These should help give you a start. :D

Return to “Getting Started”

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 0 guests