After Squeaker was born, the decision was made that I would stay at home with her. Partially because we couldn’t afford daycare or a babysitter but mostly because it was something I wanted to do. Later on, I started wondering if homeschooling would be in our future as well. And, at the very least, we would homeschool preschool and pre-K, with Kindergarten as a possibility as well. We might go beyond that but we haven’t decided 100% just yet. Squeaker is 17 months old as of this post so here’s how I’m preparing to homeschool my toddler.
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Making the Decision to Homeschool My Toddler
Years ago, if you had asked me about the possibility of homeschooling my toddler, I would have said no. They’re toddlers, so why would they need formal education at that age? Then I thought about my place of employment (I worked at a daycare) and looked at the curriculum available for toddlers.
You’d be surprised… and of course I couldn’t resist the urge to buy a few things even though I still had all of my curriculum books from when I worked in daycare. Granted, it was mostly for preschool age so I wasn’t about to draw up lesson plans but I could at least get some ideas.
It wasn’t until years later, after my pregnancy with Squeaker, that I realized it is very possible to homeschool a toddler. But why would someone want to do that? Isn’t preschool adequate enough?
And then I started to question, was I really qualified to homeschool my toddler? Sure, I have my associates degree and I’ve worked in a daycare setting before. But does that qualify me to homeschool her?
At first, I was more focused on preschool age (3-4) and that was how I came across several homeschooling blogs. Then, I learned about Tot School and thought, hey- I can do that!
Am I qualified to homeschool my toddler?
As her mom, I’d say yes- I am qualified to homeschool my toddler. Because for me, homeschooling at this age, isn’t about formal curriculum.
It’s about child led learning, play based learning, exploring the world at her pace, and following her lead. It’s about reading to her and letting her have access to books.
So how else am I preparing to homeschool my toddler?
For us, it was a matter of deciding how to teach her when the time would finally be right for her to have more formal lessons. And for me, it came down to a personal preference of Montessori with a little Waldorf because I felt that it complemented the Montessori method and philosophy.
For that foundation, I purchased You Are Your Child’s First Teacher (Waldorf) and we also use our copy of How To Raise An Amazing Child The Montessori Way. I also purchased Teaching Montessori In The Home – The Preschool Years, The Toddler’s Busy Book, Home Learning Year by Year, and Busy Toddler, Happy Mom.
All of this while keeping in mind- she’s a toddler (or at the time, still a baby and not quite ready for any of this) and that a formal curriculum may not work with her.
That didn’t stop me from downloading printable packets and purchasing clip art to make my own packets, of course.
But, the more I looked, the more I realized that preparing to homeschool my toddler was more about preparing myself than anything.
So, I went back to Amazon and looked through books that were available through the Kindle Unlimited program. Which was also the point that I set up a notebook so I could take notes for the books I already had and for the books that I would be getting.
I prefer hard copies of books, so I figured it would give me a great way to get used to the book and then decide if it would be worth getting the hard copy.
After a mere hour of browsing, I ended up with the following to add to my reading list: Sensory Play, Help Your Preschooler Build A Better Brain, Don’t Waste Your Time Homeschooling, Simplify Your Homeschool Day, and The Toddler’s Busy Book for Beginners.
Then as I continued to evaluate what I had on the Kindle, what I purchased already, what I had downloaded, and posts that I bookmarked… I came to a realization. Even if I was just preparing for preschool (and possibly kindergarten), in my head I was already preparing to go beyond that.
For me, homeschooling is about customizing a curriculum to my child. Homeschooling is about heart schooling. Homeschooling is about our family values, learning about different cultures and traditions, instilling a strong sense of faith, and a life long love for learning.
And I learned all of this while preparing to homeschool my toddler. While we haven’t planned to homeschool past preK, I can also use these plans to develop a solid afterschool program for her and a summer program for her. But we still have time for that.
She’s only a toddler, after all.
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