Monday, May 16, 2016

What do I do with THAT littlest learner

This is a question that I get ALL the time! How do you teach with a toddler in the house?

Sometimes, I wonder myself.  So I’m glad you asked…because you gave me the chance to take a walk down memory lane and look through old pictures. (sniff, sniff)

And 3 things became very apparent during my search for pictures for examples.

*Confinement or Sensory Entertainment - if we were learning in the kitchen, MiniM was strapped in his high chair with either a snack or some manipulatives.  If we were playing with Legos or something small, he was in the pack n play using his Duplo Legos or something big.  He was confined, but he was there.  If we need to do a reading lesson, he is outside playing in his sand table while I sit at the picnic table with J.  If we are working on a Math problem, I send N and MiniM out to clean the sliding window with a squirt bottle and some rags.  WHO CARES if they get wet!  If they give us 10 minutes - that’s golden.

*Inclusion and exploration - I honestly feel that all little brothers and sisters want is to be including in the exploration and learning that is happening.  Telling them “NO!” only makes them want it more. (It’s only getting us set up for the teenage years, right?)  So I always make sure that if MiniM can be involved, he is involved.  If they are writing, he is “writing”.  If they are doing Math, then he has manipulatives doing “math”.  If it’s something that he could seriously get hurt doing or completely mess up…I wait.  I wait until he is napping or until he is occupied with playing by himself or with N.  And sometimes, I just might have to wait until a Saturday morning to teacher J when Daddy is home.

MiniM has his own station to explore.  He has learning toys at his eye level that I rotate every so often (helps maintain the excitement)  We clean up together, putting everything up in it’s place so that it’s “like new” again the next hour he decides to play.

*Honoring their time and youth -  I sprinkle learning throughout our day!  So when I teach J and N, we either do it as a group and the baby is contained somehow OR we do it in small chunks.  These guys are young!  Let them be little!!!  

If we need to do a reading lesson, we read outside while MiniM plays at his sand table.  My lessons are short and sweet bc of how old my kids are now.  Someday, we will ALL be able to sit around the table and enjoy learning together as I popcorn around and teach each of them. 

But for now, I’m giving myself grace.  I’m giving them a childhood FULL of learning that looks a lot differently than it will in 5 years.

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