Thursday, January 30, 2014

How To Homeschool Your Little Ones



I receive questions or inquiries for advice.  Yeah, I know....it surprises me too.  Who am I to give advice?  I am just another homeschool mom schlepping her way through the journey one step at a time.  Nonetheless, I get questions.  There's one I get a lot.  I'm going to address it here.  "How should I homeschool my 2, 3, 4, 5 year old?"  They are looking for curriculum I recommend, structure to implement, etc.  So, here's my advice.


  • Snuggle, cuddle, and hug your toddler often, every day.
  • Read to your toddler, often, every day.
  • Play *with* your toddler often, every day.
  • Let your toddler play independently, often, every day.
  • Explore *with* your toddler often, every day.
  • Let your toddler explore independently, often, every day.
  • Take walks with your toddler, often.
  • Let your toddler 'help' you with your chores and errands as much as they are capable.
  • Make sure your toddler has items to bang on, color on, glue on, create and build with.
  • Make sure you pay attention to HOW your toddler engages during these years.  Read up on the various learning styles of children and become familiar with the cues of each style so as your child ages you'll understand best how s/he learns so you can facilitate their learning.
That is it.  That is all you need to do.  That and learning to follow their lead, their interests.

After your child turns about 6 or so, you can begin to introduce a little formal/structured learning time if you really feel you have to or need to.  I would say no more than 30 or so minutes.  Each year you can add a few more minutes.  When your child is 10-12 they will be ready for a more structured, formal educational process but the chances are very good that if you've followed the list of 10 items, they'll be off and running on their own with their education!


Until then, don't waste your money on curriculum or your time with building elaborate lesson plans until your child is between 8-12 years of age.  Do not let them get burnt out on learning.  Keep their natural, built-in love of learning alive.  Trust that you child will learn what they need to know when they need to know when they are ready; just as they learned to sit-up, crawl, walk, talk, etc.  You are there to give encouragement and guidance.  Don't worry about getting them into Harvard.....yet.

One last thing, do not refer to what you are doing at home (items 1-10 on the list) as homeschooling.  Most homeschoolers will tell you it is called 'parenting' and we all did it.  We started homeschooling our children when the state told us it was now the time we were legally required to turn their daily care and education over to a government or private institution.  THAT is when we started homeschooling.

For those that do not agree with my advice, continue to search out for information on 'schooling' your little one.  There is a ton on the internet for you to find, given how 'early education' obsessed we are as a society despite all the research that shows it is a detriment.  If my advice offends you, I would offer that you are not as strong in your conviction that 'schooling' your baby is right and recommend you spend time reflecting on that rather than writing me an angry letter.


~Mari B.

11 comments:

  1. play in the MUD -- you forgot MUD!!! sheesh...... :)

    - Du

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  2. Great advice! As long as you create the conditions for fun exploration I think the natural curiosity and interest in learning will flourish. I see this everyday with my own daughter (5yo). We often here that children won't learn what they need without structure but children don't know this. They're just curious and the more we can help them satisfy their curiosity and support them in the exploration the more they will learn.

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  3. I'm a mom to teenage homeschoolers. My journey is nearing the end for my oldest. I have to say that if I had it to do all over again, I would have spent the first 10 years of their lives just playing in the mud, no math facts, no spelling lists. THAT is my only regret. Being anal and rigid about curriculum did not produce the results I was expecting. When I finally let go of the need to control, the results were phenomenal. My advice to young parents would be this....
    RELAX. Save your money, don't buy curriculum. If you really want Johnny to learn the alphabet at 2, buy some colored shaving cream and make letters on the wall of the bathtub. No fancy curriculum can give your child a leg-up as well as you "playing" with him can.

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  4. Well said!!! Your blog is wonderful. I just discovered it last week and have spent a lot of time reading through your previous posts. It has been time very well spent!!!

    We moved to New England from southern California last year and the differences in homeschooling between the two has been quite a shock. We left behind a fabulous community of unschooling families to walk straight into the "it's Ivy League or Die" community. It is wonderful to see someone saying that it's ok to just laugh and cuddle and have fun with your kids.

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  5. Thank you everyone! And the 'play in the mud' was implied! lol

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