What Does Homeschooling Look Like When Your Children are All Little?

What Does Homeschooling Look Like When Your Children are All Little? | RaisingArrows.net

I received an email not too long ago from a mother who was worried that she would never be a successful homeschool mom because she couldn’t seem to orchestrate a decent schedule for her 3 small children ages 3 and under that involved all the necessary components of a “successful” homeschool day. This isn’t the first email I’ve received from a desperate mother worried sick she won’t be a good homeschool mom.  It is a fear that holds many of us hostage.  Today, I want to give you one piece of advice that I hope frees you from this bondage.

Mother your children as if you never intend to homeschool them.

Now, listen…I don’t say this lightly.  I say this because when you have only small children, you have no reason to worry over their education and stress about your flaws as a teacher.  It isn’t time for that.

DO NOT squander these years!

Don't squander the little years! | RaisingArrows.net

I never intended to homeschool.  I honestly didn’t even know it existed.  I mothered my son.  I built Buzz Lightyear wings from cardboard boxes for him, I “fished” in mud puddles with him, and I read and read and read to him.  I lived the life of a mother, not a homeschooler because I wasn’t thinking ahead to a time of workbooks and math drills.

We makes things so hard on ourselves.  We beat ourselves down with troubles not our own.  A mother of small children has no need for workbooks, computer software, or the latest gimmick that will have her child reading in 4 days.  A mother who worries she won’t homeschool “good enough” is wasting her time and squandering those precious “little people” moments.  Someday she will look back and wish she could do the “little people” moments all over again because those were the easy days.  {Yes, really.}

So, what does homeschooling look like in a houseful of only young children?

*It looks like piles and piles of good storybooks.

*It looks like playdough and puzzles.

*It looks like music and Scripture.

*It looks like baking cookies and nature hikes.

It truly is a time for the Wonderment Curriculum – that FREE curriculum that comes from living life and enjoying those young children entrusted to your care.  Forget all the “homeschool mom” stuff.  Just be MOM.

I know it is hard to trust and let go of that need to analyze every educational opportunity, but your little children deserve a mama who mothers them.  The teaching will come naturally as you walk alongside them.

You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might.  And these words that I command you today shall be on your heart.  You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise.
Deuteronomy 6:5-7

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32 thoughts on “What Does Homeschooling Look Like When Your Children are All Little?

  1. I love this post! My eldest is now 14 (oh.my.word.) and my youngest just 10 months, and I love homeschooling, but adore the “just a mom” years. They are fleeting. I was reading something recently about continuing to be a mom and never transforming to anything like the “teacher-y” images we carry in our heads. What if, like always, we just became moms who are gently doing the next thing? Perhaps the next thing is nursing, or shoe tying, or handwriting, or Algebra. :)

    Thank you for sharing your dear heart! What a sigh of relief for a young mom!

  2. I think you hit the nail right on the head. Our youngest right now – is 6 – we have been trying for one more – not sure if that will ever be a reality or not at this point – but I know our 2 older children – I really wish I would have had this advice when they were 2!!! Enjoy your children!!! Before you know it – they are grown and starting lives of their own!

  3. Well said Amy!

    I was at the Doctor’s office getting a check up on my three year old a couple of days ago and as she went through the required developmental questions on the screen the intern asked “What grade is he in?” I thought to myself…seriously, he is THREE!

  4. Lori, that’s ridiculous! At three?! Wow! My daughter should be in Kindergarten, but we officially start at 1st grade. Every once in a while I worry or feel bad that I’m not formerly teaching her, but I haven’t had one yet that hasn’t learned to read, so I’m sticking with it! ;)

  5. I love this. Mine aren’t as little any more, (my youngest is now 5,) and there are still days when it looks a lot like this! And I’ve learned that that’s okay. Sometimes our scheduling does more to hinder our kids’ real education that encourage it.

    I wish I could go back and redo those early years with one of my children in particular! I was so obsessed with academic success I really blew it in the end. Had I taken this sort of approach, I feel we would be much farther along right now. I’m not making the same mistake with my current Kindergartner!

  6. Oh I wish…
    Homeschooling preteens/teenagers is so much harder than littles! Hormones and general craziness and my Manlings all hit a slump around the 8/9th grade years where they didn’t want to do ANYTHING. Nothing. Not even read–(and that included my bookworms!) I truly miss the days when we could all curl up together and just read and do some fun stuff. Now I’m lucky if they’ll even speak to me after the headache just to get the Basics done. (Two whole hours, guys, really???)

    Don’t get me wrong–they all still love to have me read to them (hubs included). But we’re rarely all in the house TOGETHER anymore for me to actually start a book.

    Every mom who’s still got Littles–hug them close and enjoy the time you have. It goes so fast. Faster than you’d ever imagine.

  7. I think I just took a really big deep breath!! This article speaks truth!! I only have on little one right now (my 4 others are school age) and I struggle with just letting him be a baby instead of thinking “Oh my gosh, he just turned one and he still isn’t speaking!” It will come. We will read, talk, play, and read some more and it will come. No curriculum for babies is needed!

  8. Great stuff. My blog is aimed at mothers with only littles. I hope you don’t mind me sharing this on my Favorite Find Friday. It’s a great reminder that the best way to ‘teach’ your children is just by being a Mom and explaining life as we go along. Textbooks have their place later on, but not now. Thanks for writing, Amy!

  9. YES!!! I’ve had people ask me the same kind of questions even when they’re parenting a baby. I tell them the same thing. Don’t worry about it. Don’t even think about it until MAYBE a year before they would start kindergarten. Just enjoy them.

  10. Thank you for his post! It actually made me cry! I worry about this with having 3 boys ages 4,3&2 wondering how its even possible?! We are already doing some of those things together everyday. :)

  11. This is exactly how I mothered my biggies when they were littlies and we had the most wonderful time. But how do I stop myself feeling so guilty that I can’t do the same with my current littlies because I am home schooling the biggies. It’s a constant juggling act trying to meet the needs of everyone and I often worry that everyone is being shortchanged. I wish I could let go of the guilt, but I never seem to have time to just play with baby.

  12. http://fromonemommy2another.blogspot.com

    Thank you for the advice! I’m new to blogging, my blog is above for Christian Moms. I have two little ones and I think it can be overwhelming at times to feel like you need more structure. But I agree, I don’t want miss out on the fun of learning and be so eager to turn it into a “classroom” setting.

    Thanks for the encouragement!

  13. I started getting that before my daughter turned two. FIL asked how I’m going to feel when she is in school next year. Um, she’ll only be two. Now that she is almost three, both sides of the family keep asking which school she is going to attend next year, including my husband. She will still only be three and Jk and Sk are full day here. I feel that is too much, too young to be at school all day.
    We only have one child, but we got to lots of drop in programs and the park.
    I would love to homeschool until grade one.

  14. So when did you step up to ‘homeschooling’ rather than just mothering? At what age did things change?
    Very interested. I have a nearly 7 year old girl and two boys aged 3 and 5. The 5 year old is not interested in formal schooling yet and yet funnily enough picks up a lot just by being ‘mothered’.

    • I think it is wise to always keep mothering at the forefront of everything. You can definitely teach successfully and be very nurturing at the same time. No need to switch off the mom side and switch on the teacher. ;)

      • Absolutely. I didn’t mean to leave mothering behind. However in your article you wrote about mothering as if you weren’t homeschooling…. how old were your children when you started being deliberate about adding in a homeschooling component?

  15. I think we moms feel this pressure to start them early. There always seems to be this unspoken comparison that is alive and well among mommies–even homeschooling ones. Then there is societal pressure of being “just mommies.” Even though we know it’s the most important job, we hear the whispers in our heads that we’re not doing enough.

    I am a mom of littles. My youngest turns one tomorrow. My oldest will be four at the end of this month; my middle child turns three during the early days of the new year. I’m happy most days that the kids are fed something sort of nutritious, the laundry is sort of caught up and I can brush my teeth as I’m blessed with early risers that think sleeps is for wimps. The youngest is still up at night. Sometimes I become really nervous when I hear mom say this is the easy time.

    Right now I focus on being mom, but I include learning in everything they do. They’ve learned their ABCs just by singing them and pointing them out. They love the educational toys where they learn. Colors, numbers, etc. are learned or are being learned by every day interactions. I don’t want to push them, as everything I have read says to wait. I know, if I’m honest, that a lot of it is so I can be proud at what I’VE taught my children. A bit boastful, yes? But I don’t want to be like that. There’s a reason why we plan to homeschool. The Lord has placed it upon my heart as well as the numerous other reasons to homeschool. And that is what I’m trying to remember. It’s about the children.

    So I am using the precious little spare time I have to educate myself. I’m reading about child development, the types of schooling, and even reading classics that I never read as a child. And I remind myself that the littles have a hard enough job right now of being little.

  16. I am so glad for this post , as I am living in Riyadh and most of the time I feel leftout as there is no good homeschool around. And as a working women , I hardly get time to play or give them a quality time . I feel so guilty , I cried and prayed to ALLAH to make me a good mom. Your post is indeed a cool breeze for me.

  17. I found your blog today through this great, grace-filled post, and went on to read about your journey through Emily’s story. What a beautiful writing gift you have! I am so blessed by how you honor God in your pain. The time I just spent reading was true worship. Thank you.

  18. What a great post! I think a lot of people really do need to hear this. Thankfully, I know this and am totally taking this approach with my twin preschoolers and baby boy. Each day is a learning experience, but not because I have scheduled “educational” time.