Meet my little Easter baby who is now a curious and destructive toddler. I don’t quite remember my other children possessing the ability to get into absolutely everything in this house the way that this child can. She is quite a force of nature.
She keeps our homeschool days interesting. My older children have learned to sound the alarm if we lose sight of her for more than 1.5 seconds. In that time, she can destroy half the house.
Thankfully she’s terribly cute and funny even if she’s amazingly stubborn and strong-willed. I know this because after all my efforts of potty training her (during which time I bribed her with everything I could find), she still told me that she would use the potty “never, ever again!” So there’s that. I know when I’ve been beaten!
So, if you’ve wondered what a homeschool day looks like for a toddler in a large family, here’s a glimpse.
Every morning one of her big sisters goes to get her from her bed (I am not about to give up the crib because it’s the one thing she has never escaped).
They bring her down to the breakfast table where she usually throws a fit because she does not want breakfast. Then she throws another fit when breakfast is not put in her bowl fast enough. Yes, she does change her mind that fast.
After breakfast she joins me for Kindergarten with her older sister. We give her pages to scribble on and she takes great joy in climbing into the same chair as her sister (we have 3 other available chairs). During our Kindergarten time she tries to shove her sister to the floor about 8 times.
When that fails, she drops crayons on the floor to try to entice the dog to eat them. Then she cries when the dog does in fact eat the crayons. My dog is apparently not very smart but her digestive tract is rainbow-colored so she does have that going for her!
After our Kindergarten time, our little toddler is bored with school. She wanders off to check on all her siblings.
She tries to watch their online classes or DVD classes. However, she usually ends up trying to talk to them as they watch and they come complain to me.
Next, she destroys all their Lego creations from the day before.
The kids all have toddler duty at alternating times during the morning. They each spend some one-on-one time playing with them. Each child is in charge of preschool time with her. They are proud to announce that they have taught her colors, how to count to 10, and most animal noises.
For most of the morning, she alternates playing with baby dolls and cooking in the play kitchen with asking me to help her wash her hands about a hundred times. I do not understand why she’s obsessed with playing in the sink.
If I turn her down too many times, she attempts to wash her hands all by herself. I’ve learned to hide all the step stools so she cannot reach the sink. However, she built herself a step stool out of extra pillows and successfully climbed onto the counter to wash her own hands. She’s a future engineer apparently.
Then to express her frustration at me for hiding all the step stools, she squirted the soap all over the rug and then hid the soap bottle.
It’s never dull at our house!
During group school she tries to color on everyone else’s papers. At times she tries to convince a sibling to take her to go wash her hands again. Group school is such a relaxing time in our school day…..not……
At lunch we repeat the morning drama of not wanting to eat, and then demanding to eat but not liking anything on her plate, yet wanting everything on everyone else’s plates. It’s complicated when you’re a toddler.
After lunch, some of the kids take her upstairs and read her a few books. This is her favorite time of the day. Nothing beats having an older sibling read a beloved board book to you. My children can now recite most of the Sandra Boynton books by memory.
Our afternoon school time is peaceful and we get quite a bit done. The kids finish their independent work and we all get some quiet time to ourselves.
A few hours later the toddler is awake again and in desperate need of a snack.
Once she’s fed she crashes whatever activity the older kids have worked on during her naptime. She’s helpful like that.
Even though she makes the school day stressful and is often destructive, none of us would trade the chaos and laughter she brings to our school day. And we’ve never been able to turn her down when she brings us books and plops into our laps expectantly.
Everyone should have to homeschool with a toddler. It gives you great perspective as well as a some great stories to tell.