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Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Schooling for 2 Year Olds

Now, I have not been strict (come on, my kids are 2 and 1, their attention spans are...well...nonexistent), but for the past year I have been working on getting the kiddos some learning.

Obviously, 2 year old preschool wasn't really an option for a few reasons.
1. It's expensive because the twins weren't potty trained until around 2 1/2
and 2. This is why I stay home! To take care of the kids, feed them, clothe them, make sure they're learning their ABCs and how to tie their shoes...or atleast velcro the straps.

So I've had some friends ask questions about our schooling. I would say it's pretty elementary (or preschooly) and my kids are far from "advanced" but I do think they'll be ready to start preschool in the fall with a strong foundation if that's what we choose to do, or continue with a homeschool program.

So here's what we've been doing...
A friend recommended ABC Jesus Loves Me and their 2 year old curriculum. After checking out what else google showed me, I realized that this was a good curriculum..It had all the basics and seemed to cover them in a way that I could handle and I thought they could too. I'm no teacher, nor have I ever wanted to be, so this has been a learning experience for me too!

Please ignore Amelia's terrible bed head. She doesn't always like me messing with her hair in the morning, and clearly, it looks so wonderful on its own....

So what our days look like? We usually try to squeeze our learning time in each morning. We do that in a variety of ways, but usually it involves working on a letter, number, color, shape and doing some sort of activity. The twins rarely pay attention til I begin an activity, but for whatever the letter/shape/color of the week is so I try to incorporate it in play time no matter what we're doing by asking the twins the colors or shapes of their toys. If we're reading stories I have them attempt to find letters for me. If they point to letters I go through the name of the letter, if it's a big or little letter and what sound it makes. The actual sitting down learning time is probably less than 20 minutes. They just don't have the attention span yet and feed off of each other's energy, but here's a quick glimpse of what a pretty perfect morning looks like:

  • Breakfast
  • Show the kids the number, letter, color, etc. usually going through a poster of what it all is. 
  • Explain the craft
  • Let them work on the craft/activity for a few minutes with my help.
  • Let them work on it for a few minutes on their own
  • Go through some flash cards of the letters/numbers/colors we've already done all mixed up to see if they're retaining any information.
  • Mass chaos ensues and we call it quits for awhile.
  • Later we'll read a story from the library and talk about our weekly theme. We try to point out letter/color/shapes from the book.
  • More chaos, running around the house in circles, screaming in the backyard
  • Mommy still hasn't finished her coffee so she puts on the DVD for a few minutes and tries to blog/social media/work while finishing the coffee and try to ignore the mess.
  • We have clean up/organize time and go through their toys to be put away
  • I want to rip my hair out and usually resort to feeding the wild ones
  • Nap time! My kids don't need naps when they're tired, when they turn into unruly monsters, it's time to take a break and lay down for a bit. Usually by 11:30am they're in bed.
I usually prep for the next day during nap time, while they're watching a movie or eating, or at night after they're in bed. The pro of having multiple kids is that they entertain themselves pretty well, so I do usually have some time during the day without kids hanging on me. Usually.

We also make weekly library trips. The twins can pick out a book and they'll usually "help" Ben pick out a book. We've met some great librarians who will help me find a book to fit whatever the theme of the week is like the jungle, cows, etc.

Now, sometimes, things get busy, we have a lot of doctors appointments, the kids get sick, so we haven't religiously stuck to the schedule, but I try to work on things as much as I can and make it fun for them.

Here is a must-have list of our "school supplies" and things we've use a lot of.
  • A good printer. I print out a lot of things for crafts and projects and to make a poster.
  • Poster board and construction paper
  • Markers, crayons, pencils, and lots of scrap paper for the projects
  • Preschool Prep DVDs and flashcards. We found these on sale and bought a few more for cheap from friends when their kids started school. These shows are all PAINFUL for adults, but the kids love them. So I recommend starting a blog so you have something to do while your kids watch these, or a good dinner prep time?
  • Leapfrog Letter Factory: a friend recommended this, but if you see Amelia naming letters and their sounds and words that start with that letter, you can thank this DVD. 
  • A cheap basic CD player. We have some books on CD the kids can play and read a long with and some music CDs that the kids will listen to and sing along while we're playing.
As for next school year, I'm not sure what we're going to do. We will finish Jack's IEP in the next few weeks, after that I will see what sort of school help he needs. If Jack goes to school, I will probably put Amelia in school as well. That will give me time to focus on doing the 2 year old program with Benjamin next year. I think he will catch on really quickly since he's been exposed to all of this the past year. 

Do you homeschool? Or do any sort of organized schooling with your toddlers? Have any tips for us while we're starting out? 

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