Let me tell you a little secret. You… yes YOU, can teach your child.
Even though your little one doesn’t know their left from right, it can still be intimidating to plan a “tot school” for them. Trust me. I know! There can be so much pressure to meet certain standards that learning becomes a chore, instead of the joy it’s supposed to be.
Every tot school is going to look different for individual families. For us, I decided that our 2-3 year old kids would have a monthly theme. We never got around to having a schedule. We basically read a TON of books throughout the day and did a couple (like 2-3) theme related activities a week. See, nothing to be overwhelmed about. And I promise, your child will retain so much!
Before you can plan an entire month of tot school in under an hour, you’re going to have to
Lay the ground work
First things first.
1. Get a Pinterest Account
I have found Pinterest to be the best way to visually organize posts and pages from around the web. (If you need a more detailed Pinterest introduction, this is a good place to start.)
2. Set up some boards.
I like to have one board per monthly theme. (Need some theme ideas? Here’s what we did our first year.) I also have boards for each school subject like math, language or science.
Here’s an example of a themed unit board I have.
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And here’s one that’s focused on a particular subject.
3. Follow Like Minded Pinners and boards
(Shameless plug) Follow my boards and let me do the leg work for you! I have boards on all kinds of different themes (look for the ones that start with Unit: Blah blah blah.) There’s also a bunch of homeschooling boards divided by school subject that you might find useful.
I’m so privilege to be a part of the Kid Blogger Network. Some of the uber famous bloggers come together and have mulitple KBN collaborative boards. Here’s their main one.
4. Pin away!
Have fun with it. Use the search bar. And you’ll have more ideas at your fingertips than you’ll know what to do with!
Alright, now that you’ve got a growing resource…
Let’s get planning!
Each month when I plan a theme, I gather posts for our two areas of focus: Books and Activities.
1. When you’re perusing Pinterest, be sure to pin themed book lists and add them to your boards. Good bloggers will give you a quick synopsis of each book so you’ll have a better idea if they’ll be a good fit for you child.
2. Pick out some books that you think your children will LOVE!
3. Now it’s time to go to your library’s website. Reserve the books you picked out from #2. (Each library is different, but you should be able place holds on the books. Some library’s even let you borrow books from all over the country for free! Talk with your librarian; your local library may be MUCH bigger than you think!) Search for other books your library has on hand that fit your unit theme.
4. Get your books from the Library and have them readily available to read!
Select some fun crafts and learning activities that fit your theme. This is where you’re Pinterest boards get to shine! Go to the board that corresponds with your theme for the month. Pick your favorites that are DOABLE! No need to impress others! Make a list of the strongest possibilities and keep it nearby during the day. (Be sure to note if an activity needs additional supplies.) Whenever boredom strikes, see if there’s an activity you can do together with minimal prep and stress.
Some moms have already done the hard work for you. Gathering book lists and activities sorted by themes. Check them out! Pin what you like and ignore what doesn’t work for you.
That’s it! After you do it one time, you’ll be shocked how quickly you can gather books and plan activities. I bet it won’t even take an hour!
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