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We are an eclectic homeschool, using mainly Classical Conversations, A.C.E.(Accelerated Christian Education) and The Montessori Method.

Monday, October 20, 2014

How to Occupy Little Ones with Homeschooling

Greetings Natural Homeschool readers!

I am Brenda from Schooling a Monkey. I have two daughters, aged 8 (Monkey) and nearly 2 (Bo). My oldest daughter, Monkey, is in third grade.

Since Monkey is in third grade, she is in school for several hours each day. We try to arrange most of her school to occur during nap time, but on the days that Bo takes a short nap, or doesn’t nap at all, we’ve had to come up with alternative activities to keep Bo occupied while Monkey and I do school.

Here is what we do to keep toddlers occupied during homeschooling:

Let Them Do School

Bo likes to copy what she sees Monkey doing. If Monkey is working with a pencil, Bo wants a pencil. If she sees Monkey with a marker, she wants a marker. So, while Monkey is doing school, I try to give Bo similar items (that are toddler-safe). This will keep her occupied for up to 5 minutes in most cases.

Offer a Special Toy

We have a few toys that we give Bo to play with during school. These toys are classic, sturdy toys she can play with on her own. Her favorite toys are:
  • Blocks
  • Trains
  • Playdough
  • Baby dolls
  • Puzzles
  • Dollhouse people
  • Plastic kitchen storage containers

Give Them Books

Bo loves to look at books. Sometimes, I will give her books to look at in her high chair while we are doing school, and sometimes I set her on the floor. Right now, her favorite books are the colorful board books with flaps to turn.


Since Bo has the attention span of about 40 seconds, she must be re-directed to new activities often. I don’t think there is any way around this, so we work around it. Monkey doesn’t mind the breaks from school while Bo is redirected. If Bo gets too distracting, I put Monkey on something she can do alone and spend some quality time with Bo for a while. Then we return to school when she is occupied or wait until she goes down for a nap.

Messy Play

Bo likes to get messy and she likes to “clean up.” She loves pouring something from one container to another like water or rice. She also enjoys cleaning up spills with a rag or paper towel. One day she was quite amused by spreading cheese all over the table. Sometimes a few minutes of concentrated study time are worth the extra hassle of clean-up later!

Feed Them

Bo loves to eat. Often, she won’t sit still unless she is eating. Sometimes I give her a snack to eat to keep her calm and still while we get some school done. Right now, her favorite foods are bananas, bell pepper boats, veggie sticks, fruit of any kind, puree pouches, tomatoes, cheese, and crackers.

Try Room (or Crib) Time

When all else fails, I put Bo in her room to play for a few minutes. I make sure her room is safe from choking hazards, electrical plugs, falls, etc. so she can play without danger. Then we provide her a few toys and allow her to play for 10-15 minutes. The bonus to this strategy is that when she returns, she is often calmer than when she left the room. If your toddler will stay in a crib or playpen, you might be able to provide slightly longer alone play. I only recommend this option if you can be 100 percent sure the toddler is completely safe in the room alone. Use a baby gate so you can still keep an eye on the toddler during alone play. If you have any additional older children, you could have them alternate baby-watching with school time.

Simple Tips to Keep Toddlers Occupied during Homeschooling

The key to working with children of drastically different ages is to keep things simple and allow for plenty of flexibility. If we do something that I know Bo can’t do (like a complicated science project), we save that activity for when she is sleeping. Some days, we might not be able to get everything do, so we save it for a day when Bo does take a nap. Flexibility and grace on all sides get us through each day!

Brenda is a homeschooling mom to two girls and a freelance writer and blogger at Schooling a Monkey. She spends most of her days teaching school, racing after Bo, and trying to keep the floor clean. Follow along with the Schooling a Monkey adventures on Facebook or Twitter! 

This post contains affiliate links. To learn more, please click here

Sunday, October 19, 2014

Homemade Toiletries Round-up

If you have been looking for ways to save money and be more eco-friendly as you clean your home, look no further.
Here we have put together an amazing round-up of homemade recipes that will not only make your home beautifully clean (because they work so well), but they will also save you money.


These recipes are easy to make using minimal amounts of ingredients, and they will take you a step closer to having a healthier home. Take a look at this awesome list. It is broken up into categories to make recipes easier to find.
Each category will have one featured post and then more recipes below. We hope you enjoy making these.
Also, include your children whenever possible. If they take ownership over helping make (and use!) these cleaners, they may become more aware of what it takes to clean the house and hopefully will help keep it cleaner.

 To read the entire post, please click here.

Friday, October 17, 2014

Bedroom Cleaning Chart for Children (Free Printable included)

It hasn’t always been common knowledge that toddlers and preschoolers are capable of successfully performing tasks to help keep the house clean. But now, as a society, we are finally catching up a bit more with wonderful teaching methods like The Montessori Method, and we are starting to help our children get on the right path to independence. 

Preschoolers and even toddlers are capable of performing small tasks, be it picking their blocks up or wiping the table.
Messes are part of childhood and that is ok, but we also need to clean them up. In our home, this was becoming a bit of an issue, so I am sharing with you this post with an easy way to keep a preschooler’s room clean. As a bonus, this post comes with a FREE printable of the chart! Read on to find out what we did.

To see the entire post and get the FREE printable, click here.

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Our Sweet Playroom Makeover

I am so happy that you are here to look at our playroom makeover! We are so proud and we are really loving it.
Our playroom used to be cluttered, full of tiny trinkets that made big messes and toys that never got played with. It was exhausting to go these two routes to get it cleaned:
1. Nag and nag to get it all picked up
2. Take forever to get it cleaned and organized myself

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

A Little Bird Told Me "Every Wednesday" Linky Party #12

Hello, everyone! The Natural Homeschool is so excited to welcome you to this week's Linky Party.

We have so many fantastic bloggers out there that are writing some fabulous posts and we would love for them to share what they're most proud of.

 Here are our awesome featured posts this week:

1. Craving Some Creativity: Pumpkin Table Centerpiece
2. Twigg Studios: Masala Chai Pumpkin Pancakes with Caramel Apples
3. Our Adventure Story: 25 Free Fall Printables
4. Starts at Eight: Our Favorite Pumpkin Books for Kids

Don't forget to check out The Natural Homeschool's Some of Our Favorite Fall Books post! We had a blast reading these!

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