Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Toddlers and Teens (MT Addendum)

I just can't give this topic a rest. I hear the frustrations that many of you face as you deal with the daily realities of children who do not cooperate with your well-laid plans.  For the most part the non-cooperators are either toddlers or teens.

I have tried to think back and remember how I handled my toddlers during the intense years. For about 2 years I did that thing where I scheduled out all my children's hours during the day and evening and always had the toddlers assigned to an older child. This was perfect for that short but intense time of my life. That was around the time I skipped Morning Time one year. I regretted skipping it later but things were pretty desperate and I didn't have the confidence that about Morning Time that I do now.

We also did not have a TV. This probably changed things considerably for me. I am not critical of those who have a TV and use it with their toddlers only I am sure that not having one changed the dynamic for me.

It helped that the children were born into MT and eased their way into participating. I remember my now 21yo son peeking up out of his bassinet every morning. I kept his bassinet in the living room during MT and he drifted in and out, sometimes peeking his head over the edge to smile at us. Most of my babies were more high maintenance than this though. 

I strongly believed in toddlers taking naps and conned most of my children into taking them well into their first grade year. 

I happen to think that one of the main selling points of MT is that the younger children are being stretched to understand things far beyond the usual toddler fare.  The best I can say is deal with the interruptions and keep a goin'. 

I made all the children sit quietly through the Bible time and I think this was good preparation for sitting in church,  but after that I let the toddlers play on the floor. I did not have twins but I don't imagine it would work to let them play together. They must play quietly by themselves or else chaos and fights ensue.

I really feel badly that I don't have any magic answers about toddlers but I did have MT with toddlers for years and years and years and somehow we muddled through.  Sometimes I melted down. Sometimes I cried. Sometimes they made me laugh when I should not have been laughing. Sometimes I spanked them.  Sometimes I asked all the children to pray while I dealt with one particular child in another room and sometimes that took up the entire morning. As a matter of fact, take the time you need to take to make sure your children obey you.  If your children do not obey you then you cannot possibly homeschool in any meaningful way.  You will have times of peace followed by times of testing. Keep a goin'.  It still is going to add up.

If I only had toddlers I would add things to MT very slowly when they were ready keeping it joyful.

As for teens, I used to let my high school students go very early in MT. Now MT is geared only to the 2 I have at home so that is not as necessary.  My high school students might be doing their own work in another room but often they would hover within earshot and throw out comments or run in to prove they knew the names of more presidents.

If I was starting MT with a group of kids and had an older, disruptive teen, I would probably not bring the whole house down trying to get cooperation from that child. I would try to let that child see that I would work with him by letting him out of MT but I would still make sure that child had a challenging amount of school work.  It is always sad to let a child go like this but sometimes it has to be done and you know that child may still grow up to tell you how helpful MT was.

Children are born persons. Treat them with respect but keep your standards and expectations high because having low standards is demeaning and insulting to the personhood of your child.  Expect obedience and make it happen. Don't have a lot of rules but make sure you follow through on every single rule you do have. OR Else. Or else your life will be miserable and you will not find the joy you were meant to have in your children.

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