What to do with the younger child?

So you are homeschooling a child, and you have a younger one too. What do you do with the younger child?

It can be a tough questions. If the younger child is also school aged, the question is easy to answer: You do school with them too. You can have both children work on math at the same time. Both children can work on phonic, spelling…..the list goes on. Developing differentiated lesson plans based on the same science concept can help both children learn science.

But sometimes the second (or more) child is too young, or so much younger, that these strategies won’t work. So what do you do?

In our house we have a young one who is not yet 2, and an older one. I have $1 books from Target (they are great!) on letters and numbers that I let the younger one work with. So while I do math with my oldest, my youngest sits at the table and works on her numbers. I say “works” very generously. She will sit there while I could the pictures (the 3 bugs, 3 cards, 3 hearts) and will let me help her trace the number 3 once. Then she wants to color all over the page. Which is a fine activity for a 22 month old.

While she might not be actively learning, she is engaged. She is at the table with us, doing the same thing we are doing. She’s learning, early, that we work on stuff at the table as a family. She is also hearing what I am doing with Nicholas. I think she probably understands more than I think she does. It is my hope that by hearing and observing – and sometimes  participating – she will soon develop her own knowledge.

Sometimes we play games everyone can play. When we do our word traveling game – we build words with Post-its on the wall – Abby is the delivery person. Nicholas has the letters and gives them to Abby to put on the wall by me. It involves her, yet helps him.

And sometimes she just colors in her coloring book.

So what do you do? You have to split your time, figure out ways to keep the younger one involved and occupied, and enjoy all the time you have together as a family.

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