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Copyright 2006 Julie Shepherd Knapp
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Copyright 2006 Julie Shepherd Knapp.  All rights reserved.
about the book
The Homeschool Diner's Guide to
Homeschooling Special Situations

What About Babies and Toddlers?

by Julie Shepherd Knapp, copyright 2006, 2007

Not many parents formally homeschool their babies and toddlers -- these
little ones are much too busy learning about themselves and their world
to be interested in workbooks or curriculum!  Babies and toddlers learn
by seeing, touching, hearing, smelling, tasting, and doing -- thru natural
exploration and discovery.  Think of all the things a two year old has
learned!  He's learned all about the people in his family.  He's taught his
body to sit, crawl, walk, run, and climb.  He's learned to understand
words and can even say some of his favorites.  He's learning about
emotions, and feelings, and rules... and so many other things!  

So, what do parents mean when they say, "I guess we've been
homeschooling since she was born"?  They are talking about all the
ways that parents help their little ones learn about the world --
everything from pointing out new animals, colors, and flowers, to gently
guiding them in learning how to use a spoon.  Parents are always on the
look-out for toys or games that baby might enjoy.  Parents help their
babies learn how to communicate by talking and singing. They take
babies along on outings to meet new people and see new sights  --
helping children see that there are many wondrous things in the world!

It is possible to teach a baby or toddler to read, recognize quantities, to
memorize presidents, types of airplanes, or other bits of "encyclopedic"
information... and if you search, you will find companies that will sell you
books and curriculum to do just that!  But I can't help but wonder if that
would take time away from her very important
real job of learning about
her world and how she fits into it.  Babies are wired to take in and
process information... and there are plenty of real-life things for babies
and toddlers to learn about.  

Do keep in mind, though, that there are some highly intelligent children
who learn much earlier and quicker than typical children.  If you have
one of these
bright early-bloomers who truly wants to memorize all the
different types of construction equipment or state capitals, or is insisting
that you help them learn to read... it wouldn't make much sense to hold
them back or deny them what they want to know.  If you find that your
baby or toddler is talking much sooner than expected, working on
puzzles and mazes meant for much older children, or teaching
themselves to read -- take a look at the Diner's
Is Your Child Gifted?
section to find out more about how to homeschool your accelerated

Of course, even if you aren't spending time formally teaching your baby
or toddler, they will still have a huge impact on your homeschool daily
life!  Having children under three in the household can be a challenge
for parents who are trying to homeschool their older children.  Having
both a baby and a toddler in the same home calls for some serious
planning, as well as some creative problem solving... and hopefully a
little help from another adult or older child.  But it certainly can be done
(and is done by many :-)))

Advice and Resources

We're going to have a Baby -- How can we homeschool?

How can we homeschool with a toddler in the house?

Learning to Communicate

Online Support

Homeschooling Toddlers -- a Yahoo! group for parents
homeschooling their toddlers and/or homeschooling around their toddlers
Homeschooling a Houseful -- for those with large families trying to
homeschool many different age groups at the same time.

Twenty-ish AP Moms -- a support group for young mothers practicing
attachment parenting., and other forms of instinctive and gentle
parenting, natural living, homeschooling, etc
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special situations
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homeschool basics
"Children learn to smile from their parents." ~~ Shinichi Suzuki