Learning at Home and School for Toddlers!

A few years back you would have found me knee-deep in projects and paperwork in my elementary school classroom, teaching the fourth-grade.  I loved being a teacher!  It taught me to sharpen my skills creatively and to become organized enough to teach 28 students well, to the best of my ability.   Once I became pregnant with Anna Ruth I knew I wanted to stay home full-time.  We made the necessary changes for me to be able to be a stay-at-home mama (like driving older vehicles and shopping at thrift stores) and here I am now, two kids and a few years down the road.  

I realize I am very fortunate to be able to stay home.  The "sacrifices" we make for this to be possible aren't sacrifices in my book at all.  I have a whole entire lifetime to jump back into a teaching career.  I have two more years until Anna Ruth is off to school....and these little years of her being at home and taught by me will be gone. (gulp)  I am honored to be the girls' teacher at home until they're ready to spread their wings in kindergarten!  

So now that we're ready for preschool to start (the girls go to a local program a day or two a week) I also wanted to start structuring some of our art/learning time a bit more at home, on the days they don't have preschool.  My plan is to do art journals in the morning and teach them all kinds of creative techniques and fun things they can put on the page.  We'll probably include letters, numbers, shapes, and colors as well in this learning time!  In the afternoons I've been setting enticing play/art stations out on the dining room table for them to find and explore.  It's working wonderfully!!

This particular day I set out these random items and paint.

Look at Betsy Grace go! She surprised me this day by putting a tiny bit of paint on the paper and some on her belly button (lol).  She then grabbed these two crayons and went to town! What great coordination!
This awesomeness is what Anna Ruth created from her painting session!! 
 We've made homemade play-dough before and I'm sorta a fan.  I like the way it smells and feel like it's safer for the girls but it got moldy far too quickly last time.  So for this week we just picked up some play-dough at the grocery store!  This is what the girls woke up to.....
 Anna Ruth was the surpriser this day.  She played for ONE whole hour with the play-dough! While talking to me the whole time, of course.  Can you spot her candle she made?!   
 (it's a plastic knife people, with supervision. )

I expected Betsy Grace to dig right into the play-dough and get it everywhere. Not so.  She carefully stuck these dry pieces of pasta in and then wasn't quite sure what to do with herself.  
 These are the drawing pads I picked up for the girls to use for art journals!  They are 24 pages each and we plan on using each side.  The paper is WAY nicer than regular typing paper and Anna Ruth is excited to have blank pages.  I bought a bigger notebook for myself so I can join right in!

This Charley Harper coloring book was another favorite find of mine while preparing for this school year.  You can find these on Amazon.  They're a little more expensive than the Wal-Mart coloring books (they run around $8) but something about them make my girls slow down.  Anna Ruth usually takes quite a while to color one of these.  Plus they're fun for me!!
Our school story for the year is sounding fun. 

I admit, I always get a bit nervous/teary about sending the girls to preschool.  Although I'm not sure why-Anna Ruth is already asking to go to kindergarten.  Two more years for me to brave up for that!

For those wondering, since I do get asked this a LOT, we don't plan on homeschooling.  Our girls will go to public school and someday when everybody's back in school, I plan on continuing my career as an artist and also getting back to teaching in the public schools!  For now, we just keep doing the next right thing we know to do. 

Do you plan learning time for your kiddos? 
Have any tips for me?


  1. Have you heard of the Ed Emberly drawing books?? I imagine you have with your teaching experience but, just in case you haven't, here's a link.


    I am as crafty as a big rock--probably less so, actually, but my kiddos LOVED these books. Happy drawing with your happy girls!

  2. I've heard of those but had forgotten about them! Thank-you so much for reminding me! :)


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