We reached a point about 6 months ago that I was at my wits end. I was [thankfully!] so busy with my photography business and blogging -- just so tired and struggling to complete the day-to-day life tasks. Honestly, I needed a break and decided that the answer for me would be Mother's Day Out. If you're not familiar with this type of program, it's basically two days a week that you can drop your toddler off (usually at a church) for a 5 hour program. It's an awesome opportunity for socialization and to give us mommies a much needed break to get things done or even rest (could you imagine?!). I began literally counting down the days.
Then, my focus changed about 3 months ago. I started taking much better care of myself personally, with working out and clean eating. I began studying God's Word more, although not nearly as often as I'd like to be. I got out of a funk that I didn't even realize I was in. It wasn't like other "funks"... I don't believe I was depressed. I just wasn't living up to my potential. I think this is an easy thing for stay/work at home moms to fall into.
Fast forward to the last couple of weeks. I still hadn't enrolled Benjamin in an MDO program and the closer it was getting to the actual first day, the more weary of it I became. Benjamin is a very bright boy (and I'm not just saying that because he's mine) but I don't believe he's ready to be in this type of environment. Sunday School is still a battle of tears each week and he is a little bit shy even in the playgroup of friends he's had for all of his little life. I'm completely okay with this. Sure, I wish that he was a little easier separated and maybe a bit more social, but it's not holding him back from anything. Plus, he's probably an introvert like me because he definitely thrives in smaller groups or one-on-one settings. I'd rather nurture this any day, than shame it.
Enter "Tot School". To tell you the truth, I didn't even know there was a name for it until two days ago. I was talking to my friend, Maggie, who is also keeping her daughter home this year. The natural next step was to begin pinning toddler activities/projects. The more I researched and read, the more I developed a clearer vision for what I want for Benjamin this year. I am absolutely convinced that keeping him home [for now] is the right thing for us.
So, what is Tot School? "Tot School isn't really school at all, it is simply a name given to the idea of learning through play at home during the younger years." [origin] I quickly stumbled upon a series called Truth for Tots by Jenni Mullinix. She writes about her own Tot School philosophy, focus, and curriculum plan, here. It's basically right on the money for me. I'm still fine tuning our own plan, which will also include physical activity, story time at the library, and weekly playdates/field trips with friends, but this is an awesome jumping off point! In the meantime, I can be found on Pinterest pinning toddler activities and Tot School ideas, here.
Even though we're not officially starting Tot School until August 25th, I couldn't wait to do this activity with Benjamin today. COLOR SORTING! I used felt that I already had to make squares large enough to put trinkets and toys on. Then, I filled this plastic tote box with things in the matching colors for him to sort through.
Benjamin doesn't know his colors at all yet but he's eager to copy anything we say. "Purple" has been a word he's had for quite some time and it's seriously cute. He must like saying it, too, because every color was "purple". (Ha!) This was an easy activity and kept him occupied for quite some time. We'll definitely bring this one back out in the coming days and weeks.
Are you schooling (or unschooling) your toddler at home? What are your favorite activities or resources?