I Can’t Homeschool Because of the Little Ones

” So, when are you going to enroll her in mother’s morning out?”

How to Homeschool Preschoolers at Hodgepodge That’s the question I heard most often when our eldest was just a little more than a year old. It’s also the question the Lord used to work on my heart about homeschooling.

Before I go any further, I am here to share the how tos of homeschooling with little ones. I fully believe that every family should seek the Lord’s will in what is best for each of their children. I know families that homeschool and still take little ones to the local church for preschool.

But if the Lord is tugging on your heart too about keeping your littlest ones at home, I can offer encouragement. I understand the need to have just a small span of time to focus on something other than your preschooler. That needed time could be teaching and working with your older children. Or it might simply be that you are in survival mode and needing to breathe or get a shower.

See, I knew I wanted to keep my child home with me. She learned so easily at home, was very bright, loved books. My close friend, Jeana, shared a possible answer to What About the Little Ones. She told me about morning room time. Today, I share it with you. Morning room time is the best, overall answer for so many of the challenges with little ones.

Morning Room Time Habit at Hodgepodge

Morning Room Time – How Mama Can Be in Two Places at One Time

It’s how I can practice ABCs, sing the B-I-B-L-E and get some laundry done – all at the same time. My husband and I made a CD recording of these basics and more. We recorded both my husband’s voice and mine – for our child to listen to for up to 40 minutes. What’s included?

  • Practice time learning our address
  • Polite manners for ‘big church’
  • Bible verses to memorize
  • Fun Veggie Tales songs
  • enough listening material to take up 40 minutes

Creative Family Times A simple script is available in Creative Family Times.

Morning room time is a habit built with practice. Your smallest ones can listen to your recording for five to 10 minutes in the crib while watching a mobile. Slowly add longer time over the course of days and weeks.

Toddlers can stack blocks, thumb through books, play with a few favorite toys just designated for room time. This small amount of time is a gift not only to the parent and older siblings but a gift to the child practicing room time. A small amount of alone time, playing independently, gives the child time to build small motor skills working puzzles. No one else is showing him how to stack blocks or line up small figures in a line. He is working on that independently. Do you see the beauty? The overall benefits for the whole family?

“Morning Room Time is the habit that blesses all ages. It’s how I can be in two places at once! Both helping our littlest ones and helping the older ones with math or some other subject. Plus, little ones learn how to play quietly, by themselves for a short span of time. This is an important skill. Having some quiet, alone time allows your little one the opportunity to work on small motor skills, build attention span and learn the contentment of playing alone. Do you see how this is a gift in a busy household? As my children have grown, I see so many other skills they have that stem from the morning room time habit…”

What About the Little Ones? @habitshappyhome Morning Room Time Series

I’ve written a series on the Morning Room Time habit. These posts detail how to practice the habit, what is on a room time CD and how to make your recording. A series of how tos:

Here’s a question I’ve heard a few times lately as well: How can I get math done with my older ones with my toddlers roaming about? We sit down to do our math lesson and my little ones crawl on the table!

Morning room time made it possible for me to have time to teach older children – especially math – through five babies and a dozen years of homeschooling so far. It’s a tried and true habit. Each of our children knew when morning room time was. And when the CD ended, they knew it was time to clean up. There were times we had two in morning room time. It’s a habit to stick with for babies to about five years of age.

How Morning Room Time Builds Important Skills for Later My children have all outgrown morning room time now *sniff* but I continue to see the benefits. And they still wander off about mid-morning, for just a bit of a quiet break. They find something to do like in the photo above. In this post, I share all those post-morning room time benefits I’ve seen: How Morning Room Time Builds Skills for Later.

After five children participating in morning room time, I continue to see the benefits:

  • Concentration.
  • Attention span.
  • Listening while playing.
  • Small motor skills.
  • A love of music.
  • Playing independently.

Occupying the Littles During School Time

And that brings me to a Google Hangout I participated in on Occupying the Littles During School Time. Enjoy this short video full of seasoned advice from fellow homeschool mothers with many thanks to Lauren Hill of Mama’s Learning Corner for leading our discussion…

But my child will miss out on all those wonderful preschool activities!

Yes, your child might not make handprint paintings with a room full of preschoolers. But you can give your child opportunity for artistic times with all your children. Plan some special preschool learning times. Activity bags are a great idea. And here is how we do it in at our house:

homeschool desk

In summary

If the Lord has placed that desire to homeschool your children, He will equip and encourage you. This morning room time habit is exactly what He provided for us. Building this habit, in small time increments and practicing wasn’t always easy. But I encourage you to stick with it. That morning room time is a gift to your child. And folks, the time is oh so short with your little ones.

Of course there are other strategies and helpful habits I can share more about in the future but room time is the best one.

Haven’t I commanded you? Strength! Courage! Don’t be timid; don’t get discouraged. God, your God, is with you every step you take. Joshua 1:9

Homeschooling hardcover trans More I Can’t Homeschool FAQs Answered at Hodgepodge

Homeschool Preschool Resources at Hodgepodge Resources for Homeschooling with Little Ones from Fellow Homeschoolers

From LittleSanctuary:

Kathy at Cornerstone Confessions has a preschool section of her site.

Kristin at Teaching Stars – shares Adding Layers to Your Lessons

Cindy West has a preschool section of Our Journey Westward  with practical lesson ideas – ABC’s, living math, seasonal, etc.

More “how-to” posts from Cindy:

Saxon Math manipulatives Karen at Bible Based Homeschooling {on a budget} has a section for preschool full of encouragement!

Kendra Fletcher’s site, Preschoolers and Peace, is devoted to homeschooling the hearts of little ones:

morning room time Jamie at The Unlikely Homeschool offers more practical encouragement:

Heather Haupt at Cultivated Lives is passionate about homeschooling little ones:

Preschool at Home Pinterest boards full of resources!

I Can't Homeschool Because...

Think you can’t homeschool because…or are you hearing those same type statements in your circles of friends and family? Be encouraged by my fellow iHomeschool Network bloggers who have each written the answer to their own I can’t…

How about you? Have your heard a version of “I can’t homeschool because of the little ones?” What are your tips for homeschooling preschoolers?


  1. 3


    I’m soaking this stuff up. I’ve read your posts about this for so long and thought it was a fabulous idea but now that I actually HAVE little ones, I need to figure out all the “how’s”! So yay for this post! And for sharing all those other great posts I need to go read, too!
    Jamie {See Jamie blog} recently posted..Sense of Humor RequiredMy Profile

    • 4


      Jamie – I think you have hit on an important point – ‘now that I have little ones’ – with more children to love there is often a need for more organization. I hope that all will read this and be encouraged. Starting morning room time can be overwhelming.

      I should have mentioned here (and did in the other posts I linked to) that you can ‘jump start’ morning room time by using a CD or music you already have. Start small now – and work on recording your voices along and along. Maybe aim for the summer to have your Morning Room Time recording ready. By then you’ve practiced the habit. And what fun to have a recording of mom and dad!

      Also, this habit can be adapted to YOUR day. Use it in the afternoon. Whatever way blesses your family. I could write a post on how I’ve heard… “I Can’t Do Morning Room Time Because…” :)

  2. 8

    Kendra Fletcher says

    Wowza, Tricia! This is one in credible resource! Thank you, and I’m spreading the word to my readers and anyone who needs some terrific ideas for managing little ones.


  3. 10

    Hayley says

    I am totally bookmarking this post! I am homeschooling my kids Tessa who is 7 and currently in first grade and Brandon who is 9 and currently in fourth grade next year. I also have a 20 month old son Ryan who will 26 months old by the time we start school.I admit the part of homeschooling that was freaking me out was not curriculum or schedules but how to deal with a toddler. Thank you for such a informative (and linkful)post. God bless you and your family.

  4. 12

    Laura says

    I do the exact same thing, except ours is afternoon room time. Instead of my son taking a nap, he goes in his room and plays quietly by himself. He seems to enjoy it and I love having the extra time to get other things completed around the house or for work.

    • 14


      Hi Kristi – There’s always a time a child does not want to do morning room time. We do start out in short increments of time. Five minutes, building to 10 and so on. Then we celebrate those small successes each time. It may take time for your child to get used to it. But if you stick with it and working through any short amount of dislike/crying, the blessings are huge! Best wishes on building your morning room time habit.

  5. 15


    This is a wonderful post!

    Honestly, preschool and toddler age was {sniffle, sniffle} my favorite time of teaching. Homeshooling with preschool age children really never seemed that hard for us. Call me strange….it’s ok. I often hear others say it’s difficult to teach their other children while having littles under foot. Not to say that there aren’t days that are difficult.

    We still do LTT {this is our morning time, Learning Together Time} ages 7, 8, & 10. Of course our learning activities are a bit different now but we still enjoy it nonetheless.

    Thank you for this post
    Brandy @ Our Thrifty Home recently posted..How tiny amphibians changed our course!My Profile

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