School Plus Dash: A Day In The Life

Before we started homeschool, people would look at Dash with wide eyes and say things like “How are you going to teach school with HIM???”  And I would answer them with this well thought out response: “I have NO IDEA.”

And I didn’t.

I didn’t really know how it would work.  I just knew it could work.  I knew that others (some with many more kids than me) managed to successfully homeschool and that we could do it too.  Yes, even with Dash, who by himself may have the energy output and destructive power equivalent of three calmer children.  So, yes, I knew that somehow it would work and I’m happy so say that it is indeed WORKING.  (mostly)

Of course, there are days when this kind of thing happens:


homeschool with a toddler = messes

There’s no use crying over smashed tomatoes. But a few tears might be shed over a broken Williams Sonoma plate.

Of course, stuff like that happens around here anyways.  That is why I only have four plates left out of the original set of eight.  That’s right kids, HALF of the plates are gone!  See, learning all the time…

ANYWAYS.  Following the theme of iHomeschool Network’s last week of The Not Back To School Blog Hop, I thought I’d share with you a bit about how we’re scheduling homeschool with a toddler.

What is my Secret Weapon?  Here’s a hint:

homeschooling with a toddlerNo, my Secret Weapon is not decorating with subliminal messages.  Well, maybe it is ONE of my Secret Weapons.  But the point is, getting up before everyone else REALLY makes the day go smoother.  And  since Beau is an early riser, we can get some of his work done together before the littler guys get up.

Finn, on the other hand is NOT an early riser.  He doesn’t sleep super late, but WHAT A RELIEF it is not to have to wake him up.  He comes downstairs on his own around 8:00am and every once in awhile he will actually speak words that resemble a greeting, instead of just growling and retreating under a blanket.*

*Disclaimer:  Some mornings do not go quite like this.  Like this morning, I was sleeping on Dash’s floor, with a migraine, and woke up to the sound of an obnoxious Nickelodeon show about alien rabbits, blaring from the TV downstairs.  Finn thought he could sneak in some TV if he got up early enough.  I’m not sure if it was all that early.  The Early Bird can go jump in a lake when I have a migraine.

Okay, so my inner drill sergeant feels guilty about ever letting anyone sleep.  Drill Sergeant Mommy thinks everyone should get up at 6:30 and start being productive members of society just like if they were in public school.  But a more reasonable inner voice tells me to respect the child’s need to sleep and work on setting an example of early morning industriousness myself (when I don’t have a blinding headache.)

After everyone has had breakfast we do our calendar, check the weather, and do some reading.   Then everyone does a little bit of chores to get the house spiffed up for the day.  NO, they aren’t working their poor little fingers to the bone.  But they are learning some life skills.  If these boys get married someday, their wives will be very thankful that they know how to wipe down a bathroom.

Next we do “Gym” using a workout video.  Fitness is important to us and being naturally skinny doesn’t exactly run in the family.  So I want to show the boys how to have good fitness habits.  NO, I am NOT making the little children do P90X!  We just pick something short with good music and they bounce around and do jumping jacks and whatnot.  We don’t always have 100% participation, but I can ALWAYS count on Dash’s participation!

homeschooling with a toddler

After Gym we do most of our schoolwork.  Thank goodness Dash just started getting into Lego Duplos!  He also has a toddler safe magnet set he likes to stick on the magnetic white board.  I keep the magnet set hidden and bring it out when we need it, so it doesn’t lose it’s novelty too quickly.  If he wants to be up at the table with the big boys, he has his very own pencil pouch with chubby crayons and washable markers.

homeschooling with a toddler

Usually we take a recess before lunch.  If the weather is pleasant enough we will go outside to ride bikes and scooters.  After lunch Dash is *usually* ready for his nap.


homeschooling with a toddler

Shhh, Baby sleeping!

Nap time is when we can do fun stuff like board games, art projects, and science experiments!  Um, wait, please don’t tell Dash what he’s missing.  I’m afraid he may never nap again…  Or we do some nice, quiet reading aloud time.  Yeah, you can tell Dash about that.

So, by the time Dash wakes up, we usually have everything crossed off our list for the day.  Then the big boys have time to work on what they enjoy most,  (usually this equals Lego Time.)  Although sometimes it means reading or drawing or writing or just letting little imaginations go wild.  After 3:00pm they can watch a TV show (Wild Kratts is their current favorite) or play an IPad game.  Then they are back at it with the Legos until dinner.   And Dash is with me, probably in the kitchen, throwing clean dishes back in the sink.

homeschool with a toddler

Do things always go smoothly with Dash around?  Ha!  I’m sure if you have to ask that, you haven’t been reading The Ordinary Chaos for long.  Life with Dash can be a wild ride, but he is part of the family and we are working on developing a family culture of learning.  As he gets older it will be easier, but I’m confident that even now, he’s not hindering anyone’s progress.  The kids seem to be thriving in a comfortable, loving environment where they are free to move around, get messy, and explore what interests them.  All with little brother close by, trying to keep up with the big guys.  🙂






  1. I love the pictures! This is my first year in many years that I have had to school with a toddler- and while mine isn’t as “busy” as yours sounds- I definitely have my hands full. We are still working out the kinks of having what I like to call a successful school day (which for me is simply doing school without a screaming toddler trying to stand on the school table) 🙂

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