My Toddler’s “Home-School” ‘Lesson Plans’

I like using emojis in my posts, but I feel like they have a tendency to come out looking a little “Lucky Charms Essay.” Also it’s a lot of work to copy and paste them from the website I get them from when working from a desktop, so I haven’t really been doing it as much.

Anyway.

Hello, my Gals!

Since I am blessed with the opportunity to be a SAHM and to be able to do some work from home, I have been trying to make the most of it by giving my son some kind of enriching experience every day, and make every experience an opportunity for learning.

So having said all that, I thought I’d have this update’s topic be our “Home-School” plan. Keep in mind, every child is different and this is what worked for us. But if you’re looking to home school your little one(s), I hope that you find this post helpful in one way or another!

Never Too Early

I concentrated more so on fine motor skills with Vinny during his baby months. He’s always been just ahead of the curve when it comes to fine motor skills, and he was more or less walking by the time he was 10 months old (I might do a separate post on how I worked on fine motor skills using Mikey, as he’s going through all of that now).

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I did enroll him in an ASL class for Babies when he was about 9 months old, as well as a few music classes and play groups here and there

However, I never realized how early I could really start him on learning all of the basics like colors, shapes, etc! I feel like a lot of parents don’t realize how early you can introduce their babies to these concepts, and how fun and (relatively) easy it is to do so!

So here’s a little more on how I got Vinny to master his shapes, colors, numbers 1-10, and the entire Alphabet by 20 months old. Which may be impressive to some of you, and maybe to others, as Hillary Duff would say, “So Yesterday.”

Here’s some videos of Vinny identifying some letters and shapes back in January, when he was 17 months old (they came out huge and sideways and I just don’t have the time to fix them so I’m sorry!)

But it’s like I read somewhere, you can’t compare the Sun to the Moon to the stars–because they all shine on their own time.

Intro To Learning

I feel like reading to our babies is so, so, crucial to not just their academic development, but their social and emotional development, as well. I’ve read that studies suggest reading to your child helps to strengthen empathy, as they’re hearing about and relating to the characters in books, and hearing the emotions come alive through your voice.

I started reading kids books out loud that we got at our baby shower while I was still pregnant with Vinny. And when he was a young infant, about 3-4 months, and he wasn’t trying to crawl/walk/run everywhere, I would read him mid to late elementary school reading level chapter-books. I knew he wouldn’t retain anything I read from them, but I like to think that he was watching my mouth movements and enjoying absorbing words.

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Vinny’s Currently “Reading” List. The top four that we read at least 5 times each each day. I highly recommend all of them! Check out your local Library or Mom and Pop bookstore!

Of course I would read him the cardboard baby books as well! The pictures and easy-to-absorb stories are essential for babies, I feel.

We started doing some type of definitive lesson “Plan” when Vinny about 15/16 months, with activities games geared toward different subjects. But before that, once he was walking around and a little more interactive, we did a lot of learning through reading and play.

When we played when he was younger, I always pointed out what colors and shapes certain things were, to kind of build a foundation of these concepts. And I still do now. I know this kind of goes without saying, but I think it really does make a difference in how they pick it up later!

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A little independent “reading” time with some classical music.

Now, Vinny is obsessed with books! He could sit there and listen to someone read to him for hours. And each time we read a book, I try to point out different colors, shapes, animals, etc. I always look for something in the pictures to teach him about.

One of his favorite books is “Bubbles Bubbles,” an interactive Sesame Street Book we got for his first birthday. This is how he learned half of the body parts he’s able to identify, because we’ve made it a game each time we read the book.

Now when I read any of his other books (often 3-5 times each day), whenever they mention a body part, i.e. “Little Nutbrown Hare stretched his arms as wide as they would go,” I reach for Vinny’s arm and emphasize that that is his arm as I read the book. Once we do this enough times, I’ll quiz him after I read a sentence with a body part and ask him, “Where are your knees?”

Our “School Of Learning”

I have been looking into different learning/teaching techniques, such as Unschooling, Montessori, and Waldorf to see what would best fit not only Vinny’s unique style of learning, but my own capabilities and strengths as a home-teacher.

In as small of a nutshell as I can come up with, Unschooling focuses much more on real world and practical life skills than academic skills (think balancing a checkbook vs. Mitochondria is the powerhouse of the cell), and both Montessori and Waldorf focus on child-led learning, with the teacher being more of a coach and celebrating the child’s independence as he or she explores skills and education.

Click here if you want to see an awesome real-life Montessori playroom my SIL at Becoming Rivera has set up for my brilliant little niece!

The style I’ve personally gravitated the most towards is Waldorf, which involves a lot of teaching through storytelling (perfect since Vinny loves reading and being told stories so much), fantasy, art and music. It’s also very nature-focused, with a lot of their teaching material and journals being colored with natural watercolors and doodles, instead of the sterile, primary-colored, artificial aesthetic of typical schools.

However, the parts of Waldorf I don’t agree with are that full-fledged Waldorf teachers don’t believe in having a child learn to read before age 7, and they are completely anti-technology and screen-time.

Personally, I would love it if Vinny was interested in learning to read before this age, and I do rely on videos (sometimes more than I should) in teaching Vinny certain content, especially when I need to get work done and don’t have a sitter.

Utilizing Media

When I was pregnant, as much as I hate to admit, Vinny would sometimes get up to 2.5 hours of screen-time a day! *cringe* Now I try to limit it to 1 hour a day, split up throughout the day if possible. On days I have to work, he sometimes gets the whole hour at once. Maybe a little bit more…but, I always try to keep the sources strictly educational, forgoing the mind-numbing Saturday-Morning type cartoons.

Our favorites are Jack Hartman, Bounce Patrol, Scratch Garden, Simple Little Songs, Go Noodle! Rachel and the Treeschoolers, Story Bots, and of course, the classic, tried-and-true, good old Sesame Street!

Some examples of “Brain Break” media that I like that are still enriching and educational but I don’t consider to be teaching tools necessarily are Puffin Rock, If You Give A Mouse A Cookie, and Hilda.

PSA: Please be sure to properly vet all of the content your children may see! Apps like Netflix and PBS are easier to trust, but YouTube can be extremely sketchy. If you use a lot of YouTube like me, please make sure the videos you show are from verified channels (not ones that have random numbers in them, etc). Try to make playlists for your children with videos that you’ve already approved, and turn auto-play off so that you don’t run the risk of any bad videos getting through!

Daily Routine

Before Mikey came along, and before I had read about Waldorf’s “Block” system of teaching (more on that later), I had Vinny on a sort of daily/weekly home-school schedule. I personally think that this was helpful in accelerating his understanding of his shapes, colors, numbers, and letters at such a young age.

Here was (and still is, just modified very slightly for block learning) Vinny’s daily schedule. We try to keep up as much with this as possible, while still accommodating to Mikey’s feeding, tummy-time, diaper changes, etc. Most days we are successful! A lot of the time I can have Mikey do tummy time or play in his gym while Vinny and I are doing “lessons.”

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Mikey at 2 weeks learning to play on his gym.

7AM Wakeup, refresh (diaper and outfit change)
7:30 Breakfast (peanut butter toast and scrambled eggs)
8:00 Free-play and video playlist with subject of the day (Mom works during this time)
9:15 Story time, read books dealing with subject of the day, or use picture focus on subject of the day (what color is this? What shape is this? How many X are there in this picture?)
10:00 Playtime again, listening to music (Mom tries to get some chores done)
11:00 “Snacktivity” Time. Vinny gets a snack of bananas, fruit bars, or crackers.
11:15 Activity dealing with subject of the day
12:30 Naptime
2:30/3 Lunchtime (usually some kind of nitrate/nitrite free lunch meat, cherry tomatoes, cheese stick)
3:30 More free-range playtime and story time, reviewing subjects of the day
5:00 Dinnertime (Some kind of protein and veggies, like shredded chicken and broccoli)
6:00 Bedtime routine begins (bath, teeth brushing, etc)
7:00 Time for bed!

Monday: Colors
Tuesday: Numbers/Counting
Wednesday: Shapes
Thursday: Alphabet/Letters
Friday: “Science” (One “Science experiment” found on Pinterest)
Saturday: Music/Art (Water pad drawing, play-dough, play instruments, etc)
Sunday: Bible Study (Readings from Bible for Babies and child-friendly bible videos)

To save this post from being too long, I am going to refer you all to Pintrest for themed activities for your kids, since every child learns different anyway! For the majority of our activities, I literally searched, “Teaching Shapes/Letters/Etc Toddlers” into Pinterest and came up with tons of fun things to do! So just search what you want to teach for your age level and have fun!

Main Lesson Blocks

While I’m psyched that Vinny has picked up all of these concepts relatively quickly, at the same time I worry that I’ve overwhelmed him, and I don’t want him to burn out. To keep his love of learning strong, while at the same time not exhausting him, I’ve decided to gear more toward using Waldorf’s Main Lesson Blocks.

Main Lesson Blocks are based around topics that suit the child’s developmental stage and interests. For example, since Vinny knows all of his letters, and is completely obsessed with hearing the ABC’s being sung, I’m gearing our current Block towards phonemic awareness to help introduce how letters are used in words and to help him build his own vocabulary and say words properly.

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My version of a Lesson Block Plan. As Vinny gets older, he’ll be filling out lesson books like these, but for now, I’ll try to get the hang of the Waldorf-style watercolor learning aesthetic.

Blocks are taught on rotation, and each “Block” lasts around three to six weeks. During this time, one subject is the primary focus, as mentioned before. The main lesson blocks are taught in the morning, with the rest of the day open for free play and other activities.

Here’s a helpful article that I found helpful in understanding Block style teaching.

I’ve also come around to weekly fine motor and life skills activities, something I see a lot of with Montessori. Truthfully, I probably should have started with fms activities sooner, but better late than never! And it’s still plenty early to do life skills activities.

Most recently, I’ve taken a Xylitol container and cut a slit in it for him to put all of my old credit cards into. He LOVES this, and took to it very quickly!

We also work on some day-to-day skills and get him involved in chores. Vinny loves wiping up messes he’s made at the table and sweeping, and his favorite chore is to help me empty the dishwasher. It’s so cute!

Another huge and sideways video of him when we first started with the dishwasher chore when he was 19 months:

Big Things Ahead

The daunting life skills challenge we have ahead of us is potty training! Dun Dun Dun!
Vinny will be 2 in August. We’ve already gotten him off of the bottle and the pacifer, so this is the next step!

My goal is to have him potty trained by two, or a little bit after two. So for a few months now we’ve been trying to get the hang of his bathroom cues, have him sit on his potty clothed and praise him for doing so, read to him potty training books and show him potty training cartoons from vetted YouTube sources. We’ve also had training underwear we’re excited to try! I’ll have a separate post on potty training when/if I’m successful. Pray for us!

But potty training is something basic around this age (more or less–of course every child is different! This age just happens to be the average, from what I’ve seen). My other practical life skill I’d like us to focus on this “block” is learning to recognize emotions and develop empathy.


So that’s all for now! I know it was kind of a lot. I’ll keep on experimenting and see what sticks! I’ll most likely have an update post later on on how Block learning has been working so stay tuned!

Are there any seasoned home-schooling Moms out there with more words of wisdom? Let us know in the comments!

Thanks for reading, my gals! 😘😘

👀If you’re new here, and this content or any of my upcoming content interests you, make sure you add your email and follow so you don’t miss any updates! 😁😁 And if you’re already following, thank you and bless your heart and soul! 🙏🏼🥰🤗

📋 Upcoming Content: How We Avoid Marital Burnout With Multiple Kids (Babies), and Two Vs. One: How To Survive 2 Under 2

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Educational Activities With Easter Eggs

Hello, My Gals,

Happy Good Friday to all who celebrate! On this day, we observe how Jesus died for our sins 🙏💓

It’s also the time of year where we put candy in plastic eggs and hide them for little ones to excitedly discover 🐣🐰🍫

My little ones are still too young for Easter Egg hunts, but my oldest at 20 months has had a plastic egg obsession for a month or two now. And he hasn’t even seen all of those surprise egg videos on YouTube. He likes them without knowing they’re “cool” 😎🤓😂

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We still use his Christmas outfit as pajamas XD Hey, if you can get clothes to survive through the toddler wringer, use them as much as possible!

And since he loves playing with these things so much, I figured I would try to incorporate them into our daily learning routine, and thought I’d share our activities with my fellow home-schooling Mamas!

#️⃣Counting🔢

Okay, so maybe this is one of the more obvious activities, but it’s a good one! I got a dozen colorful plastic eggs at Target for only $1!! 🙌🙌 And I held on to Vinny’s Easter Basket he got from his Auntie Angie last year.

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So cute!

For this counting activity, I simply scatter ten of the plastic eggs about the living room floor, and let Vinny collect them into the basket, counting how many eggs to in as he does so. Then when and if he takes the eggs out, I count them as he does that.

Another fun thing we started doing is putting pom-poms inside the eggs, and then cracking them over his head. He absolutely loves this activity. We simply take the plastic egg apart, put pom-poms inside while counting them, and then take the egg and count up to the number of pom-poms inside and crack!

The anticipation of the pom-poms falling on him makes this an engaging counting exercise. He begins to associate higher numbers as meaning more of something by waiting a little longer for the pom-poms to fall, depending on how many we put in.

I would definitely do this activity supervised with kids under 3, and make sure you clean them all up afterwards!

🎨Colors🖌

Though most of them come in just a few pastel shades, playing with plastic eggs is a great way to strengthen color skills.

While we play with them, I will say aloud which color each egg is while Vinny picks it up. Pretty simple and straight-forward.

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But then I like to take it a step further. While he takes a nap or overnight while he’s asleep, I’ll take some of the eggs and switch the color shells around. Then the next time we play with them, I’ll say, “Uh-Oh! These don’t match! Let’s find their matching colors!”

For this activity, we take the eggs apart (one of Vinny’s favorite things to do with the eggs), and then I will hold up the shell for Vinny to find the matching color to. Once we put the matches together, I’ll say the color aloud to Vinny. Again, pretty simple and straight-forward, but fun!

✋Opposites🤚

I know, how can you teach opposites using plastic eggs?

By getting different sizes!

I got six larger sized plastic eggs from Target for $3. I initially got them to put on our floating shelves for seasonal decoration, but since I ended up with some left over, I figured I’d let Vinny add them to his collection. I also intend to fill them with some healthy gummy snacks, semi-dark chocolate, and cheddar bunnies for his Easter treats.😋

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Anyway, since he has these different sized eggs, I figured I’d use them to teach him the difference between “Big” and “Small.”

For this activity, I’ll simply put the two different sized eggs of the same color together and tell him which one is big and which one is small.

Sometimes I’ll even put the smaller egg inside of the larger egg, creating sort of a nesting doll. When Vinny cracks open the large egg, I’ll say “Big!” and then when he gets a hold of the other egg, I’ll say “Small!” He got the concept pretty quick the first time we did these exercises, and would point to the big one and say “big!” and to the small ones and say “small!”

We’ve also been going over the concept of “Apart” and “Together” using the eggs. When he takes them apart, I’ll say “Apart!” and then pick up the shells and put them together, saying “Together!” After a while, Vinny would pick up pieces, hand them to me, and say “Together!” as if to ask me to put them together for him.


These are just a few examples of some imaginative games you can play with your little ones as a fun way to help them learn! 😁😆💡📚

What are some other activities and games using eggs I haven’t thought of? Let us know in the comments! 💬

Thanks for reading, my gals! 😘😘

👀If you’re new here, and this content or any of my upcoming content interests you, make sure you add your email and follow so you don’t miss any updates! 😁😁 And if you’re already following, thank you and bless your heart and soul! 🙏🏼🥰🤗

📋 Upcoming Content: My (Stay-At-Home) Mom Guilt, My Son’s “Home-Nursery-School Curriculum,” and Two Vs. One: How To Survive 2 Under 2