8 Mistakes to Avoid When Homeschooling Your Toddler
Homeschooling toddlers is a whole different ball game. Are you feeling overwhelmed?
This is normal—homeschooling these precious big babies isn’t an easy job!
But if you organize yourself and learn from other people’s mistakes, it can become an inspiring experience that marks the beginning of a long, satisfying homeschooling journey.
Keep reading to learn what’s required to homeschool a toddler and what mistakes you should avoid at this early stage.
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The Joy of Homeschooling Toddlers
There’s no doubt that homeschooling toddlers is a challenging job. Just having and raising a toddler is quite a challenge. In addition, assuming the responsibility of providing them with an education can be overwhelming if not done correctly.
From picking the right preschool curriculum to creating efficient lesson plans and finding pre-K homeschool ideas, homeschooling toddlers can be time-consuming.
Let’s find out some of the most common mistakes parents of toddlers make to help you avoid them. This way, you enjoy a smooth homeschooling experience.
8 Mistakes to Avoid When Homeschooling Toddlers
In the following list, you’ll find eight common (but easy-to-avoid) mistakes parents make when homeschooling toddlers and advice on how to avoid them.
1. Not Focusing on Reading and Writing
I know we’re talking about toddlers. So, there are limitations to what they’re ready to learn at this young age. However, two areas of education that you can focus on developing are reading and writing.
You should be reading stories to your child and giving them books that introduce them to the magical world of letters and words. You can do this by watching videos, playing games, and singing nursery rhymes, to keep it fun and attractive for your child.
2. Teaching the Alphabet Instead of Phonemes
Let’s say you’re focused on introducing your child to the world of reading and writing, but are you doing it the right way?
Intuitively, most parents (and many teachers) teach toddlers the 26 letters of the alphabet. Then people expect that they can start putting them together like a puzzle. But this approach is flawed as these weird figures don’t say much to children who, in many cases, are still learning to talk.
You must first teach your child the 44 sounds or phonemes of the English language.
Sounds are repeatable and make sense for your toddler, as they can learn those and start playing to put together different sounds and create their first words. While the letters do need to be introduced, it’s important to focus on their sounds rather than on their names.
3. Forgetting About Learning Styles
If you have more than one child, you’ve likely noticed that every child learns differently!
Part of a homeschooling parent’s job is to identify our child’s learning style. This is of the utmost importance, and the earlier you do this, the better.
In the 1990s, Harvard social scientist Howard Gardner observed that “students have different kinds of minds, and therefore learn, remember, perform, and understand in different ways.”
The seven learning styles that he identified are:
Nowadays, there’s even talk of up to 10 learning styles!
After you identify your child’s learning style, you can look for activities at home that are appropriate for them.
4. Too Much Work, Not Enough Play
Research has shown that children of all ages learn through play and that playing games is one of the best ways to keep their attention and motivation.
This becomes even more important when talking about a two or a three-year-old. Toddlers are still discovering the world around them, and the way they do that is through play. For that reason, you need to fill your homeschool schedule with fun activities, educational toys, and attractive games for your child.
You can also do some “traditional” work, but it’s best for it to be the exception and not the rule.
With time, that proportion will change, and there will be more work and less play. But for now, your toddler will appreciate having a lot of playtime!
5. Neglecting Your Homeschool Classroom
Sometimes, newbie parents think they can homeschool in their kitchen or living room and keep with their lives as if nothing happened.
Don’t make that mistake!
If you’re serious about homeschooling, you need to dedicate a specific area of your home to your homeschool classroom and design it accordingly.
For inspiration, check out this list of 11 Fun and Inspiring Kindergarten Homeschool Classroom Ideas!
6. Not Adding a Foreign Language Early On
Nowadays, the benefits of bilingualism are widely accepted and supported by science.
However, researchers agree on the benefits of learning a second language and point to studies that suggest that the earlier a child starts learning a language, the better.
Learning a second language at a younger age is similar to learning their native language. Toddlers follow the same natural learning process as they do with their native language, which results in an easier language learning experience. So, if you agree with what the experts say, why not start as soon as possible?
7. Skipping Breaks
This is a common trend among homeschooling parents.
With the idea of having the afternoon off or being able to go somewhere else, they skip breaks to finish the homeschool day earlier. However, you can’t rush the learning process of your child.
Breaks exist for a reason, and our minds need some rest from time to time. When talking about toddlers, this need is even more pressing.
Besides, if your schedule is well-designed, you should have enough time to do other things. So try to follow the schedule you designed and respect your child’s learning process.
You might like: 10 Sample Homeschool Schedules You Can Copy
8. Not Setting a Routine
I’ve had the opportunity of teaching at every level, from kindergarten to university. And the teachers that I respect the most are kindergarten teachers.
Those little kids can eat you alive if you aren’t well prepared and set a routine for them to follow during the day. I learned this the hard way. But you don’t have to.
Young children need a routine that keeps them focused and interested. If you fail to set a routine for your toddler, the odds are that your days will become more difficult and chaotic.
Set a homeschool routine and make sure to follow it every day. Once your child learns it, they will follow it effortlessly, and you’ll also be able to focus on your child’s learning process more thoroughly.
Avoid These Mistakes to Improve Your Homeschooling Experience
Sometimes finding things to do with two-year-olds can be difficult, making the whole homeschooling experience feel overwhelming. However, learning from other people’s mistakes can be a great strategy to improve your homeschooling experience.
Try to avoid making the mistakes mentioned in this post, and you’ll see that homeschooling toddlers don’t have to be that hard. But, remember, you’re not alone!
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