Homeschooling with Toddlers

This site contains affiliate links, view the disclosure for more information.

A Simple 3-Part Plan to Homeschool with Toddlers and Love It!

Whether you are just starting out or figuring out what to do with the little ones underfoot, homeschooling with toddlers can become the most joyful part of your homeschool day! 

“What do I do with my toddler?” 

Imagine your children, cozy around the table, wide-eyed and ready for you to spread the daily feast of Viking lore and fungi decomposition when you realize everything has become uncharacteristically quiet. A thought suddenly sends a shiver up your spine…

“Has anyone seen the 3-year old?”

You drop Leif the Lucky and run to the kitchen to discover Bubba the 3-year-old up to his elbow in your Azure Standard bulk chocolate chips. You clean Bubba up and run back to your table where your daughter has started a Calico Critter bake sale and your oldest son has run outside and is now halfway up a tree.

You call everyone back together, and as soon as you all sit down, a little voice squeaks from over the top of the table.

“I needa go pooooottyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyy…”

Iceland will have to wait for now.

Sound familiar?

We get it.

Homeschooling with toddlers can be really, really challenging. Even with best-laid lesson plans and the most curated curriculum in tow, toddlers can throw schedules and plans out the window and make getting through your homeschool day seem impossible.

The problem isn’t you.

It’s life! 

The beauty of having toddlers is that even when covered in unknown sticky substances, their squeaky little voices and delight at exploring the world help us treasure the things that really matter. Each other!

That said, one still must press forward to get something accomplished for today. 

Many will tell you that schooling is unnecessary before age six or that preparing a routine or assignments for your little ones is superfluous. 

However, in our experience, having a plan for your little guys can make the difference between getting through a fraction lesson and pulling out your hair. 

baby, hand, fingers-4297988.jpg

Preparing curriculum for your toddlers is not about pummeling them with academics or being overly structured.

It’s about providing small blocks of structured play that not only stimulate your sweet one’s developmental milestones, but provide you with small chunks of time to help another child with her lessons.

It’s okay to teach a toddler.

You already do it! 

“Who’s mama…..Where’s dada….That’s a dog….Woof Woof!”

We are all homeschooling mamas. We all teach our children from day 1! 

We just want to do it in a way that will be fun for them, help them grow, and help the group to get some learning done!

So, whether your toddler is your oldest little buddy, and you know in your mama gut that they would love some fun planned activities, or your oldest is twelve and you’re trying to teach algebra, I have some solutions to help YOU homeschool your toddler.

And you are going to have a BLAST doing it!

Make a Plan.

notebook, desk, office-5433224.jpg

Now, before we get to ALL the fun stuff ( and there is SO. MUCH. FUN. STUFF!), we need to start with our framework for homeschooling with toddlers.

You are going to set your day around the littlest ones, not the older kids.

Your framework will include THREE main blocks to your homeschooling day. You can move these blocks around based on your schedule and season of life and insert breaks in between them as needed. But these three main blocks will stay consistent. 

  1. Morning Time
  2. Circle Time
  3. Pouch Time

You can rename and reorder each of these blocks as best fits your school and your kiddos. They can even switch around daily depending on how the kids are doing and what you have on the docket for the day. Let’s do a rundown of each block.

1. Morning Time

Whether you call it Morning Time, Gathering Time, Morning Basket, Symposium, or Group Work, this block is when you will accomplish your group tasks with all of your children. These include Doxology, Bible, Scripture Memory, Hymns, Learning Games, Art, Crafts, Language, Missionary Biographies, Catechism…any topics that you would love for your children to learn together. You may choose to place Science/History here for your older kiddos if your lessons are short. If your toddler is your oldest child, you can greatly simplify this into something like Bible, Scripture Memory, Hymn and Poetry. Morning Time works best on a looping schedule.

Your toddlers may or may not catch on to what’s being taught, but you will be together. This can be on-the-lap time if they need a bit more mama, down by your feet if they’re a bit in-between or they can be at the table with the rest of the group for days they are feeling like one of the big kids. Pray and ask the Lord for direction each day!

I prefer to start my day with Morning Time, however, if your toddler struggles with this first, you may consider beginning with Circle Time. If this is challenging for you, it may just be that Bubba needs a little extra mama, and that’s okay! (It happens to all of us!)

Morning Time is an endless plethora of enjoyment and fun and will quickly become the mainstay of what makes your homeschool memorable and awesome! But DON’T get overwhelmed!

2.  Circle Time

Remember in preschool when everyone would sit on a carpet square and sing itsy-bitsy-spider? Well, in homeschool, circle time is WAY better! This is one-on-one (or one-on-two…or three…or 4….+++) time you will spend with your youngest crew, filling tanks, reading, playing, and working on FUNdamentals together! For circle time (sunshine time…calendar time…whatever YOU want to call it!), you will focus on tasks that are geared toward the little ones. You can have a specified area of your schoolroom, or use a trifold board or whiteboard and sneak it away when you’re done! How not to make your house look like a public school classroom

What about the older kids?

That’s what makes circle time so great! As little ones are getting filled up, bigger kids have time to begin their individual tasks. 

What if the older kids need help while I’m doing circle time with the little ones?

If something in their individual work requires mom’s help and attention, you can have the older ones either ask another sibling or flag the work for mom’s help when circle time is done and move to the next task (or, if it’s super quick, of course you can give them brief instruction). 

Circle Time is going to include things like picture books, flashcards, binder work, memory work, nursery rhymes, bible stories, calendar work and anything related. Just like Morning Time, Circle Time works best on a looping schedule and should be fun, sweet, and fairly short. Get started easily and geek out on all of my Circle Time resources here!

3. Pouch Time

To cap off the fun, we move on to Pouch Time…A.K.A….SPROUT POUCHES! After a wiggle break and snack, our family will meet back together at the table. Since little guys have full tanks, full tummies and are all wiggled out, this is a great time for them to do more focused, individual activities while mama reads Plutarch to the big kids!

SPROUT POUCHES are our answer to independent work for little sprouts! Designed for toddlers up through 2nd grade (and also kiddos with special needs), these little guys provide a complete homeschool experience for young ones and can keep little ones on task while you conquer Napoleon with older kiddos. 

You decide how many pouches to fill, customize labels, and make this time exciting and individually crafted for your toddlers and other young kiddos. Do as much or as little as you’d like each day, keep it fun and fresh, and let your tiny sprouts thrive with big-kid-like “school.” 

  • Monarch Butterfly Life Cycle Unit Study – DIGITAL DOWNLOAD

  • Seedlings Beginning Sounds Activity

  • Sprout Pouch Labels – Floral

  • Sprout Pouch Stuffers – Preschool Worksheets – Month 1 DOWNLOADABLE

  • Wise Man/Foolish Man Scripture Character Chart


Gift Yourself Some Time.

Homeschooling with toddlers is challenging! Not every day will run smoothly and you can certainly expect to find Bubba in the chocolate chips at times. But by having a simple plan in place, you can manage your homeschool days with grace and give your littlest learners a loving, enjoyable learning day. 

Using Oak & Sapling’s 3-Block plan of Morning Time, Circle Time and Table Time, you can simplify your school day and make homeschooling with toddlers totally doable and tons of fun!

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Amy Barnes

Wife and Mom-of-6 who loves Jesus and is passionate about sharing true and wholesome resources with the homeschooling community

The Fam


Join the Grove!

spring picture book

10 Enchanting Picture Books for Spring Read-Alouds

Sprout Pouch Stuffers Preschool Worksheets Month 1

Sprout Pouch Stuffers – Preschool Worksheets – Month One

Monarch Life Cycle Study collage

Monarch Butterfly Life Cycle Unit Study

get boys to read

Getting Boys to Read

homeschool multiple

How to Homeschool Multiple Ages

Shopping Cart
Scroll to Top