You don’t. You play with a toddler. It is through play that your baby, infant, toddler, child builds the foundations necessary to be a learner. There are a million ways to do this and there is no one right way to homeschooling so early.
At 3.5, all she has to be concerned is growing the love of learning and making it like play that they don’t even know it’s school. The moment they feel it is frustrating or boring, and associate that with the word “school,” then that goes that. It’s going to be like pushing a mule up the hill. What kid doesn’t want to play? How many kids start moaning and groaning when one says, “Ok, playtime is over, time to do school”?
I’ve done homeschooling in such a way that I’m running after her to catch up as she runs towards all the fun and learning there is to do. I refrain from calling anything “school” or refer to school work as “hard” when I am around her. Of course there are times when those words are to be of use but for the most part, we take advantage if all the other adjectives available in the English language such as ‘challenging,’ or refer to a problem as a ‘journey with many steps.’ Nothing is straight up ‘hard’ to do.
When learning, ask her, “What fun learning would you like to do today? This week? This year?” There is no governing body that tells you what you have to do at the early ages. That governing body us you. It’s kind of a hard concept at first as we have been conditioned throughout our life to follow ‘standards’ or to ‘reach the highest quality expectations.’ We want the best for our little ones and the best is really up to you.
When they are of kinder and older, there are minimum state standards set by the state but even then, you still have the ultimate say in what your kids learn. New homeschoolers get overwhelmed with all the curriculum or where to start when homeschooling. I know I was. It was like the moment you found out you were going to be a mom and you found yourself in a world of a million baby products you think you need to have in order to be a great mom. Same feeling with homeschooling but with curriculum. We feel as if we need everything to be a great teacher. After years of being a mom, you have a much better sense of what works and what doesn’t for you and your baby. Totally the same with homeschooling. For those who insist on a starting point, I say this: start with a library card and take advantage of all of its activities. The library has been a great part in building my child’s learning and continues to reap its effects many many years later.
At any point of “school” you do with your child and others, check in with her to see how she’s liking it. Some kids may not always like anything but at this age, it is easy to mold their perspective and your teaching style to what is more fitting or on school being fun. It only takes a little bit of work and creativity – especially at this age, it’s quite easy.
Build that love of learning foundation and the future possibilities are endless. I schooled since she was born. Others would have looked at us and seen it as nothing more than a mom playing with her child. I call it playing with a purpose, an educational purpose 🙂