Early Childhood Homeschooling Made Easy

Taking teaching and your child's future into your own hands.

Our School Room/Kiddie Area – Better known as, toddler school

Last week, my nephew came up to me and said, “I want to learn.  Aunt Jenny, I want to learn.”  It was music to my ears.  I love that he is excited about doing projects, puzzles, coloring, learning songs, etc.  He’ll ask me if we can do a project today, and he’ll get excited when he sees that I bought new craft materials.  It is wonderful to see the love of learning in a child’s eyes.

I am pretty much done working on the kids area now.  I have a few little things to do here and there, but I think it’s come together really well.  I officially showed it to my daughter and my nephew today.  They were so excited to see their area done and ready to use.  The smiles on their faces and the excitement in their eyes made it all worth it to me.

They wasted no time diving into everything to find out what I had hidden in the storage bins for them.  The problem ended up being that they wanted to do everything.  They played with playdoh for a bit.  They colored in coloring books and used stickers.  They sat on the floor and built towers out of blocks.  Kayla looked through flash cards naming the pictures.  Alex played with various other toys.  Then we played around with color viewers so they could see the world in blue, yellow, and red.  They had a blast, and so did I.

They loved seeing the dogs and Sesame Street characters on the wall.  I showed them some of the other stuff I had up on the wall for them to look at, and showed them their personal storage bins.  They wanted me to read them some books, but we never got that far because we had to eat lunch.  They weren’t too disappointed when I told them we’d be hanging out down there again tomorrow.

I am very happy with how everything turned out so far.  I wanted an area that is colorful and kid friendly.  I wanted a place where we’d have enough room to sing and dance, do yoga, play games, do craft projects together (and not stress over the mess), and just plain focus on what we’re doing.  Sometimes it can be hard to focus when there are three dogs around.  (Yes, we have three dogs.)  So it’s nice to be able to take the kids down to the basement, away from distractions.

I like to refer to it as toddler school, even though my nephew is on his way out of his toddler years.  Alex is almost 3 1/2 now.  I know some people say the toddler years are from ages 1-3, while others say ages 1-4.  I think I am somewhere in between.  I see the toddler years as being from about age 1 to 3 1/2 or so.  Alex is seeming less like a toddler all the time, but he still hasn’t quite entered that “kid” stage to me yet.  Maybe it has to do with the fact that he’s still potty training, and is so small for his age.  (And I’m not ready for him to grow up.)  I’m not sure.  All I know is I still consider him to be a toddler.  Kayla, who will be two in November, is definitely my little toddler baby.  She is so eager to learn new things, and she’s into everything.  Her and Alex are such a cute pair.  They learn a lot from each other, good and bad.  Since Kayla doesn’t have a sibling yet, I am so glad she has him around to play with all the time.  I watch him a few days a week, so they have plenty of time together.

Right now, my goal is to let them learn through play and projects.  We will focus on colors, the alphabet, and numbers…but the main focus is letting them learn by having fun.  At this age, kids learn from pretty much everything they do.  It is amazing how they absorb everything.  I want to play off of their natural ability to learn from doing everyday kids stuff.  They are both young, so there is no need for some strict curriculum.  They can learn from coloring, painting, building with blocks, playing games, doing puzzles, singing songs, dancing, doing yoga, decorating pumkins, etc.  There is one thing I can guarantee, we will be singing and dancing…and having lots of fun.  🙂

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Getting Organized

My goal over the last week has been to get organized.  I’ve been working on it here and there, but over the weekend I really buckled down and made some progress.  Some of my main areas for organization was the master bedroom, Kayla’s room, and an area in the basement for the kids (Kayla and her cousin, Alex).  I already worked on the living room a couple weeks ago, so it was time to move on to more pressing areas.  I’m sure all the parents reading this blog post understand how kids stuff seems to take over the house.  I swear, I never thought of our house as small until after Kayla was born.  Now it seems like if we have a second child, we will quickly outgrow this house.

There seems to be toys, stuffed animals, puzzles, flash cards, books, and craft materials all over the house.  The living room and master bedroom have been taken over by all of her stuff.  It is unreal how much stuff a kid who isn’t even two yet can own.  I was having a hard time walking around the master bedroom because of the amount of kids books and whatnot we had in there.  I think I have the situation under control now, which is a major relief.  I’ve been determined to move more of her stuff to her bedroom and to our finished basement.  My husband has pretty much claimed the finished basement as his man cave ever since he moved in, but I am finally putting my foot down and re-claiming part of the basement for a kids area.  In order to do this, I had to start working on the area while my husband was out of the house.  If he was here, he probably would have come up with excuses about why it’s a bad idea to have the kids in the basement instead of on the main floor.  I didn’t want to hear it.  So while he was over at one of his sister’s house for the night to play cards with his siblings, I took the opportunity to start working on my kids area.  I was proud of how much I accomplished in such a short amount of time.  Yay me!

It seems to be coming together fast.  There are only a few more things I want to do in the basement to get it ready for this week.  Kayla is already enjoying the area, and I know my nephew will be excited to see it on Tuesday.  There’s storage, a table and chairs, toys, books, and more.  We have plenty of room to do yoga, do circle time with songs and books, and build with blocks.  And since it’s the basement, I won’t have to worry as much about art projects ending up on the carpet.  The carpet down there is a dark color, and it’s easier to clean.  Not to mention, it’s more acceptable to have a less than perfect carpet in your basement family room, than in your living room.  Or at least that’s how I feel.

Once I make a few last touches, I will be posting pictures of what I’ve done on this blog.  Until then, I have shared some nice school room ideas on my Facebook page from other blogs and articles.  Check them out for some great ideas.

Do you have a designated school room/kids area in your house?  What types of things do you have to make it kid friendly?  What do you think is essential for a school room/kids area?  Please share your thoughts, opinion, suggestions, etc.  I’d love to hear from you.

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