Homeschooling a 2nd Grade with a 2 year old in the house

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We are officially in our 2nd year of homeschooling now. I have a 2nd grade boy and a 2 year old boy. I think the most challenging part of homeschooling, so far this year, has been trying to homeschool my older son, while my younger son is around.
This is a new problem for us this year. You see, last year, my youngest took morning naps. This year he doesn’t take naps in the morning, which means he is up while we’re homeschooling. Here are some of the thoughts that I’ve had in order to fix this “problem”:

  • Pray – A Lot! This helps me to remember that God is really in control of our homeschool.
  • Read blogs of people who have toddlers and homeschool at the same time – This has really helped to realize that I’m not alone.
  • Change our homeschooling time to the afternoon – This won’t work because my oldest son and I are better focused in the morning time.
  • Put together “school” items for my younger child to do while I am working with my oldest. **Insert the Busy Basket!**

**Busy Basket**

I have certain toys and activities that are not always available to my younger son. He has too many toys, anyways, and most of these are items that I want to be able to do with him (parent supervision). As I was looking though some blogs on the internet, I thought of the Busy Basket. I put various activities that he is able to do by himself with little help from me into a basket. This basket is kept on a shelf and is only brought down during “school” time. I called it the Busy Basket, not because I just want my son to be busy (because I would like for him to be learning as well), but because it sounded so nice with the word basket.
He didn’t really like them on the first day, but on the second day he really explored all of the items in the baskets. I’m hoping this will continue to work well. I love him exploring things on his own and coming up with ways to use them. Here’s what I put in this one week’s busy basket:

  • foam numbers – I put magnets on the backs of these and put them on an old cookie sheet.
  • foam shapes
  • different colored poker chips – He really liked the sound these made!
  • 1-9 numbered paper plates – He has really liked plates lately, so I figured this would be a hit.
  • measuring tape inside of a measuring cup
  • a bag of pom poms
  • penne noodles with pipe cleaners – These are sort of like lacing. He “laces” the pipe cleaner through the noodle. We use pipe cleaners because they are stiffer than yarn and easier for his little fingers. This is great for fine motor control.
  • bead jar – I simply put some large beads in an old (and cleaned out) children’s vitamin jar. He loves to unscrew the top and shake out the beads.
  • sponge blocks – I bought a package of 10 sponges from the Dollar Tree. I then cut each sponge into 4 pieces. This gave us 40 multi-colored blocks that were safe for our boy who likes to throw everything.
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