1-year-olds - Getting school done, Encouragement

Using MFW Preschool & Pre-K Packages, as well as occupying babies and toddlers while teaching
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1-year-olds - Getting school done, Encouragement

Unread post by niki » Mon Feb 12, 2007 4:09 pm

bristowschool wrote:We are doing MFW 1st with our first grader and ECC with our 4th grader. We also have a 20 month old boy who is quite rambunctious and spirited. I am having a really hard time getting the school work done with him around.

I've tried to move school to his nap time, but that doesn't leave me any time to get anything done without him getting into trouble. I have tried to set him up with a tv show that he loves, activities with us at the table, coloring/painting, puzzles etc. If he sits at the table with us, then he throws the toys or crayons at the kids while they are working. If I try to read with them on the couch he is climbing over us and won't sit still for the story, but also won't leave us alone if I set him up with something else.

Help!! How do those of you with toddlers do this?
It's an earned privilege for our 2 y.o. (and all our toddlers - I have two four year olds too) to be at the table and not interrupt too much... :) when they get disruptive they lose the privilege. I put a chair in the doorway of our "school room" aka dining room table as a reminder that school time is important and the kids need to cooperate to learn. She also knows that we want her with us and "isn't it sad that you can't be with us at the table, we really want you in here but you have to act right. We'll try again in a little bit."

Is it frustrating? YES - to everyone. But your 20m.o. will learn to respect school time. I'd say at the beginning of the school year (and some days are better than others) it took a month or so for her and the other little ones to figure out what an important time school is and when they don't interrupt so much we get done sooner. I'll tell them they get school one-on-one when we get done or the big kids have a break. For her I'll read her a book (one of her choice and one of mine - and that's school). Then the 4y.o.s I spend maybe 5-10 minutes each with them in a workbook... Playdough really works well too during school time.

Sorry, a little long winded. Be encouraged. They will grow out of it! Then we'll be sad they get big so fast! Just my 2cents

Strong Tower Academy
DD 6th DS 5th DD 3rd


Unread post by cbollin » Mon Feb 12, 2007 4:35 pm

{hug}. Like Niki said, be encouraged... it does change and get better.

It sounds like a time of adjustment for the whole family. The older children and mom are just adjusting to homeschooling. And the 20month old has just "lost" the "fun mom" from the time when the siblings were in a classroom.

I like how David Hazell describes it --- September 1st is the worst day in a toddler's life. It's when "fun mom" leaves and "school mom" arrives. She no longer has time for toddler and toddler wants to let her know that!

in your situation, September 1st was delayed by a few months.

It changes all the time with a toddler's growth. And what works in one family may or may not work in all families. Or what works one week, forget it the next week. :)

here are a few things that helped us at different times.

*Try to spend some focused time giving your youngest child the time needed with you before you start some individual school tasks with other children.

*Try to assign one of the older children specific time to play with the toddler while you work one on one with the other child.

*Try to find ways that the toddler can be in the same room with you and involved in some little way. I used to carry my toddler in a sling style carrier (backpacks and front packs never worked for me b/c of my size) and would do some stuff altogether. The youngest was so crabby all the time (I know now that was medical related but...) Even these days, my yongest will play in the school room for a few minutes IF oldest sister is just sitting near her and gives the occassional "good job" to her. So, that's when I do out loud history reading. Well.... my youngest is a lot older than your toddler so maybe that won't work this week for you.

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Unread post by Lucy » Mon Feb 12, 2007 7:16 pm

Great suggestions again by Crystal--you're on a roll!

Another would be to try and do some schooling while the toddler is napping in the afternoon. This would be a good time to do that reading or project that may take your attention. Just another thought.

wife to Lee and mom to Twila 18 (girl) and Noel 16(boy). Happy MFW user since 2002.

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Unread post by Ariasarias » Mon Feb 12, 2007 8:40 pm

I don't have a lot of insight; I have a 17 mo. old that is driving us batty too. I have one in 1st and a 3 yr old that sometimes "does school" (aka a worksheet that mommy makes her finish or coloring at the table with us).
What has worked for us this week:

* I do a little bit of school while everyone is finishing breakfast (baby is strapped in and typically happy, except today when she screamed at everyone all day)
*After everyone is dressed and teeth brushed, we all have a little fun together dancing to music; if they are really lucky they may get tv for 30 minutes (this normally means mommy has a little more cleaning up to do)
*After that we go back to school for a while. I try to set the little ones up with something, but it doesn't always work. I try to save some of their toys or make up little activities that they can only do during that time. The baby likes to color for a while in her highchair sometimes, but that not might work for a rambunxious boy. Maybe he would like rolling a car in a paper towel tube, or playing with some rice, or playdough. My 3dd has been trained that she has to be cooperative if she is at the table. I guess I need to begin to train the baby too. When I get to a point that that my oldest needs to do some alone work, I send her to the bedroom by herself to finish and then I can focus a little more on the little ones and try to make some lunch.
*Whatever doesn't get done, we do after the little ones are down. I also do my reading with 3dd before her nap and sometimes I leave alone work for my oldest during this time.
* I've had to teach my oldest that sometimes it's inevitable that we will be interupted and I need her help in being patient with me. I always try to have her alone work set up just in case we have those moments. This morning I sent her to practice her violin early because the baby kept screaming at us and I couldn't help her.

Thank you for posting this. I am hoping to get more ideas. Even though I posted my thoughts, I really feel like I don't get much more done than school (if even that) in the day.
Nicole :)
Nicole, wife to Claudio since 1996, and mom to dd (2000), dd (2003), dd (2005), and ds (2009).

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Unread post by tiffany » Wed Feb 14, 2007 10:57 am


Sorry you are having so much trouble. I have had 4 boys, three of them active. Some of the ideas you have already tried have worked for me at some point.

Since he is very active, he might still be a bit young to settle in with a TV program. As he gets older, this might work better. My 3 and 5 year old usually have a half hour TV and snack break sometime midmorning. Sometimes finding the program they like is the challenge too. Checking out some library videos might help with that. Most of my boys wouldn't settle for a TV program until they were 2 years old. You could also try a special drawer or container with activities for him just during schooltime. You would need to rotate these to keep the interest.

With our schedule we do a bit of juggling to allow the youngest to have playtime or storytime with one of his older siblings, while I finish a subject with the other ones.

We also split our day with bible, math and language arts in the morning and the rest of our subjects in the afternoon, while the 3 year old is napping. This afternoon session is usually short enough that I can have a 1/2 hour break as well during naptime. More involved projects are saved for weekends or when Dad's home. Actually Dad has taken over our science projects for now.

It will get easier as he gets older. I know of some families who have the luxury of a grandparents help for part of the school day. I don't know if that is an option for you.

I have to remind myself sometimes often that loving family relationships are more important than any schedule. I am a fairly task driven person. I want to see that chore and school chart checked off so I can get a break. But the reality is that there are opportunities for growth as a Christian, as a parent and as a family in those crazy phases. Some days you'll just have to pick and choose what you feel is most important for the day.
Wife to Tim ('88)
Mother to Sophie 16, Jonathan 14, Joey 12, Noah 10, Matthew 8, Eli 4
Have completed MFWK, MFW 1st grade, ECC, CTG, RTR, Exp.-1850,1850-Mod., HS Ancients, HS World
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Unread post by Homeschooling6 » Fri Feb 16, 2007 2:47 pm

I don't have much advice as I am in the same boat as you are =)

Sometimes I do read alouds at the table with animal crackers.

I teach with my toddler in my arms at times

I put him in front of the T.V. for a half hour watching "The Letter Factory" or "The Little People"

I put him in his crib for a half hour each morning. Yes, he still in a crib ;)

I have a 4yr, 5yr & 6yr old that can play with him while I teach my two older ones.

I would love to put my toddler in a part time daycare, maybe 3 days out of the week for 4hrs a day, but I can't afford it.

Linda Mom to
Joshua 5/98, Annette 9/99, Caleb 9/00, Brent 10/01, Ethan 1/03, Lance 8/04
Currently using texbooks.

Our Blog http://training6hearts4him.blogspot.com

Julie in MN
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? busy 18 month old toddler :)

Unread post by Julie in MN » Sat Aug 08, 2009 11:24 am

*leah wrote:I am thinking a bit ahead, well not too much...next month is SEPTEMBER! Anyhoooooooo ;) My little guy is sooooo busy. I have not had such an active toddler. His biggest kick is climbing on EVERYTHING. That really is all he wants to do and it is a struggle to get him engaged in activities or play. I know it will get easier when his gets an imagination but I can't remember what age that is???????

Have any of you had a toddler like this? Did you have any "tricks" to keep them occupied. We are doing adventures this year which I think may take a bit longer than 1st and I am worried about how to wrangle the tot. :-)
Hi Leah,
There are a lot of been-there-done-that ideas here:

And I will tell you that my grandson is 2.5 now and it's soooooo much easier. He plays with cars and puzzles and his tall stacker and is just more "civilized" than when he was wearing us out as a one year old!

Julie, married 29 yrs, finding our way without Shane
Reid (21) college student; used MFW 3rd-12th grades (2004-2014)
Alexandra (29) mother; hs from 10th grade (2002)
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Re: ? busy 18 month old toddler :)

Unread post by ManyXsBlessed » Sat Aug 08, 2009 1:34 pm

Hi Leah,

We are in the same boat! We have a very active little girl. Last year was difficult as well because she wanted to be apart of everything "school". Each time I would start to read anything she would start yelling "La La La La" and try to read, too. :) We started our new school year last week and this time it is much easier, so far. I purchased a workbox for her and I put several different activities in there to do and keep her busy, such as, color crayons and coloring pages, building blocks to stack, books to look at it, stringing activities, easy puzzles, stickers to help her stick on pages, legos (she loves legos),they don't hold attention long yet but she tries to play with them. I also got her started on a video. Hey, you have to do what works! She watches a video each morning on very very low while we do our reading. Also, she loves buckling buckles so we have a helmet that we unbuckle and she buckles over and over again. I also turned our family room into a complete play room for her with a ton of toys, a mini picnic table for her to work on her "work", and to sit and climb on. She has ride on toys and a play kitchen, too. I was determined to keep her busy! LOL

Ask me in a week how it is going and it might be a totally different story! :)
Mom to 3 boys (12, 10, and 7) and a baby girl
MFW EX-1850, Winter Promise LA, Apologia Gen, Teaching Textbooks, and A Beka

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Re: ? busy 18 month old toddler :)

Unread post by BHelf » Sat Aug 08, 2009 2:20 pm

Your post about your daughter liking to buckle made me think of a toy we got for our toddlers...it's by Melissa & Doug and I think it's called Locks and Latches or something. Very neat--you should check it out!
ManyXsBlessed wrote:Thanks, I will! :)
Wife to DH for almost 13 years
Mommy to Eileen-9, Merrick-6, Adalynn-5 and Karis--19 months

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Re: ? busy 18 month old toddler :)

Unread post by *leah » Mon Aug 10, 2009 5:35 pm

Julie, Thank you for that wonderful link. Why did I not think to look in the archives! ;)

ManyXsBlessed, I am giggling over the lalalalala story! :) Thank you for all of your wonderful ideas. I am not sure he has that attention span yet but he will get there. I am also going to turn our family room into a big play area. I just bought a big fun toy at a yard sale and it will stay in hiding until school starts. :) Stocking up a bit.... ;)

Thanks ladies for your help and encouragement. :)
:) Leah
mom to Jake 9 CtoG, Lily 6 1st, Nathan 3
(K 2007-2008,1st 2008-2009,adventures 2009-2010, ecc 2010-2011, ctog 2011-2012),

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Re: ? busy 18 month old toddler :)

Unread post by tiffany » Fri Aug 21, 2009 11:33 am

We just bought a good gate for our playroom to start out the school year. It has been great to keep him in his place. He is a wanderer and goes straight for the places he shouldn't be. Also, we use short 30 min. tv shows occassionally. His favorite are Wiggles, Diego and Barney. He loves music. As the year progresses, I need to pull out some more things for him that the other kids have outgrown, like our wooden blocks, Thomas train set and our Kindermusik books and cds. He is extremely active, so I'm not sure what to expect. I do know from Family Movie Night that he will not be able to sit with us often! Family Movie Night is on hiatus for awhile. :-) I plan to have older kids take turns with him and use nap time as we have in the past with other toddlers. It's tough I know, but those toddler years are so precious.
Wife to Tim ('88)
Mother to Sophie 16, Jonathan 14, Joey 12, Noah 10, Matthew 8, Eli 4
Have completed MFWK, MFW 1st grade, ECC, CTG, RTR, Exp.-1850,1850-Mod., HS Ancients, HS World
Fall of '11 ECC,HS Ancients, HS U.S. History to 1877

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