Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Curriculum for Homeschooling Toddlers

My mom and I started homeschooling my son when he was just 5 months old. Yes, you read that right! We started simple - songs, reading to him, putting up posters and constantly talking to him. I believe that babies can understand us. Even in my womb, I talked to my son a lot and I read to him a lot. I also listened to a lot of different kinds of music too.

When he was 7 months old, he already knew the alphabet, can count from 1 to 10, colors and shapes. He even knows the different kinds of triangles, thanks to my mom. I come from a family of educators. My grandma was a teacher, my mom was a college professor and my sister is a SPED specialist, with several doctoral degrees. She also teaches graduate students. I think this background also played a vital role in my son's early education.

My son is twice exceptional - ADHD and gifted. Some of you might say that "oh, it's because your son is gifted that is why it was easy for him to learn such things at a young age." Well, I say there is no harm in starting your child on the path to education at an early age whether he has special needs or not, is gifted, or is twice exceptional.

In this post, I will give you a curriculum that you can use for your own toddler. There are three major subjects I will focus on - Communication Arts (which is divided into Language and Reading), Math and Science. I believe these three are the most important subjects to build a solid foundation on.

Comm Arts

The Alphabet 

This is the first thing that we taught our son. There are some teaching methods that will disagree with my approach. There are also methods that do not follow the sequence of the alphabet, saying that some letters are easier to learn than others. You do what you think is right for you and your child. I don't have a teaching background like the rest of my family and I didn't do a lot of research back then so I started with the ABC song. It was never a problem for us. We just sang the ABC song to my son a few times a day. When he was already able to talk, he already knew the song by heart.

I think about the same time, we also introduced him to the alphabet poster I got. I would point to the letters while I sang the song. So even though my son couldn't talk yet, he could point to the letters when I asked him. He was walking by 7 months. He was very mobile at a young age and can go to the posters on the wall and point to the letters.


Reading at this age meant reading to him and with him. I would put him on my lap and we would read a book together. Sometimes I would point to the easy words such as I, me, and, us, etc. Then I would point to the pictures and ask questions. Read to your child while he is still in your womb and it will do wonders with his learning ability. My son has developed a love for books. You won't believe how big our book collection is. 

Nursery Rhymes

Let's face it. Some nursery rhymes come across as silly. Some even have lyrics that we don't want our kids to hear. I stick to nursery rhymes that have both sense and substance. My son knows Wheels on the Bus, Old McDonald, BINGO, Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star and a few others. I choose the songs he listens to. Also, when using YouTube, pay attention to the quality of the song/video. I immediately change the video if the singer has an accent/pronunciation/grammar that I don't want my son to learn. Some videos aimed at kids also have violent content. Kids are like sponges. They pick up things easily so guard them well at this early age. 

Fruit and Vegetable Names

I think the child should know what he is eating right? My son learned his vegetables and fruits at an early age because I always tell him exactly what I'm giving him. It may be in mush form but I have a book or photo on hand to show him what the fruit looks like before mom blitzed it in the processor.

I also have some books with pictures of fruits and vegetables in them. Toys also help with food identification. 


Colors, Shapes, Numbers

With Math, colors, shapes and numbers were our first lessons. Again, I used posters for colors and shapes. For numbers, I did the same thing with the alphabet. I just recited them to him. Then my mom would get my son's hand and count his fingers. We also have those number puzzle mats which my husband stuck to the wall beside the bed to prevent my son from getting hurt should he accidentally trip over the pillows or fall. These helped a lot with number recognition. The puzzle mats also helped with color recognition. At 7 months, my son could go up to a tile and say blue or red or pink. 



Animal identification is also a skill that your toddler should know. He should be able to identify pet animals - cat, dog, fish, bird, etc. Then you can move on to farm animals - cow, horse, goat, sheep, carabao, ducks, etc. Sea creatures - fish, jelly fish, star fish, turtle, crabs, etc. Jungle animals - lion, tiger, elephant, giraffe and so on. Save the classification part for when he is a preschooler. Start with the animals with the easiest names to pronounce. 

Parts of the Body

Teaching parts of the body to a toddler is easy. Start with the face. Have your child stand in front of the mirror and then point to the parts and say their names out loud. Then ask your child to do the same. After that, ask your child to point to your nose, eyes, ears, mouth, etc. 

You can also use a chart for this but I prefer the first approach. We did have some pictures of the parts of the body from our school books so we used those.

What does your child like?

My son showed an interest in cars and vehicles at an early age so I built upon that and taught him the names of different transportation. Take a cue from your child's likes and incorporate them into his lessons. When my son already knew the different modes of transportation, I used his toy vehicles for more challenging lessons such as sight word reading, name spelling, color identification, etc. 

Suggested Books

Here are just some books that we used when my son was a toddler. We have a ton of books, mostly story books for his age at the time. Most learning came out of practical everyday things and through play. 

Feel and fit/touch and fit books are great for toddlers as they like to explore different textures with their hands. My son loves this book. Even now, when he sees this, he grabs it and reads all by himself. This is a book that teaches different types of transportation and the sound/action they do. 

Glitter books were also a hit with my son. I got these two on sale. Aside from charts, shapes books also worked well in our homeschool. 

For colours, we used these two books but I believe we had more. I already gave away a lot of our toddler books to make way for present and future books. The Crayola one is especially good. I got both of these on sale again. 

Chicka Chicka Boom Boom is a classic book. We have both the letters and numbers edition. My son just asks for his Chicka books from time to time even after all these years. 

Suggested Materials

Here are some of the materials we used for our Toddler Homeschool.

Mr. Potato Head for body part identification. Up until now, we still have lots of fun with the different Mr. Potato Head characters that we have. This toy fosters creativity and helps with fine motor practice. 

Crayons. I let my son hold crayons at an early age. I would always supervise him when he doodles. Also, at 7 months, my son did not put things in his mouth so I was confident with giving him crayons. There are different types of crayons now in the market. Try a few things to see what works for your child. 

Wooden toys such as this bus. This is a new toy but my son has been playing with toy vehicles forever. This big toy is perfect for pushing and pulling. 

It even has characters inside for further activities for older kids. 

Hammer and Pegs set. This is great for fine motor practice and color identification. Also counting lessons. 

This Piny Pon car set is great for older kids who don't put things in their mouth. 

If you are going to buy small cars, choose quality brands such as Hot Wheels and Tomica so you can be sure that the small parts won't come off. 

Alphabet blocks are also a hit. 

We have plenty of these wooden puzzles. My son mastered the puzzle below at 7 months old. 

We pretty much started playing with lots of toys at 5 months including Play-Doh. Like I said, he didn't put stuff in his mouth so I introduced Play-Doh to him. Until now, he has a blast playing with our Play-Doh sets. This is great to strengthen those tiny fingers to get them ready for writing.

These were the starting points of our homeschool journey. If you want more ideas for your own homeschool, subscribe to my blog and also to my YouTube channel where you will find the latest happenings in our homeschool. 

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