Homeschooling Your Toddler

We all know education is an important part of growing up and finding your place in life. And as a parent, you have several choices on how your children receive that education, such as homeschooling, which begins even when children are toddlers. How has homeschooling changed over the years? What resources are available to you? And what are some of the common misconceptions about the homeschooling process?

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    Unsure which toys are best for your tot? We’ll break down the latest and greatest toys that not only entertain, but also help improve your child’s developmental skills.

Episode Transcript

Parent Savers
Home Schooling Your Toddler


Please be advised, this transcription was performed from a company independent of New Mommy Media, LLC. As such, translation was required which may alter the accuracy of the transcription.

[Theme Music]

RACHEL RAINBOLT: Parents can be pulled in many different directions when it comes to schooling. While many have decided that homeschooling will work best for them, they may not realize that the process can begin well before school age.

I’m Rachel Rainbolt author of Sage Homeschooling and Sage Parenting. Today, we’re talking about: “Homeschooling with your toddler.” This is Parent Savers Episode 98.

[Theme Music/Intro]

JOHNER RIEHL: Welcome once again everybody to Parent Savers broadcasting from the Birth Education Centre of San Diego. Parent Savers is your weekly online on-the-go support group for parents from the new born years to kindergarten. I’m your host Johner Riehl. Thanks again to all of our loyal listeners who join us week-in and week-out and thanks also to those of you who are listening for the first time.

As you may know, you can join our Parent Savers Club and receive special access to bonus content after each new show plus special giveaways and discounts from time-to-time. If you haven’t already, please make sure to download the free Parent Savers App available in the Android and iTunes Marketplace and you automatically have access to all the great parenting advice and conversation we have on Parent Savers every week.

Obviously, there are some more people in the room. Let’s meet everybody. We’ll be talking about: “Homeschooling your toddler.” My name is Johner and I have three boys – a seven year old, a five year old and a two year old. We do not home school but in reading Rachel’s book and we have friends that home school – I mean there’s definitely a lot of things that I think resonate with us.

So, I think it’s a really interesting topic and I’m really looking forward to also talking about starting the process early as well.

EMILY NGUYEN: I’m Emily Nguyen. I also have three boys – an eight-year old, a five-year old and a two-year old; almost two year old. We do home school; my oldest, my middle and my youngest, all of them.


NITA MELITA: Hi. I’m Nita Melita. I have two kids – a boy and a girl. My son is five and my daughter is three. I’m formerly homeschooling my son and my daughter joins in. So, she participates.

ERIN ESTEVES: Cool. Well, I’m Erin Esteves. OG Mama Sita, Officially Geriatric – that’s me. I have one boy and his name is Cash and he’s about 2 ½. Also, I just wanted to point out that if you would like to participate in our shows but you can’t make it to the studio, you can be a virtual panellist.

You can like us on Facebook. You can shoot as a question. You can also hash tag #ParentSaverVP to Twitter. Our Sunny, she is the master of all things that twit. So, be sure and send us your questions.

JOHNER RIEHL: Yes, we love having you guys participate and when we do record the shows, we put out topics but we also do it throughout the week, weeks leading out to having our experts on. So, definitely chime in and join us and we love including your questions on the show.

[Theme Music]

JOHNER RIEHL: Before we talk about today’s topic: “Homeschooling your toddler” we’re going to take a look at an app that we’ve all checked out – and let you guys know what we think and whether it’s an app that we can recommend. Today, we’re talking about ABC Wildlife from Peapod Labs, LLC and the app icon is kind of a little kid dressed up as a tiger. It’s really cute.

So, it’s $2.99; it’s available on the app store for IOS. What it is: “It’s a way for kids to learn about all these different animals.” There’s a grid that’s presented at the front and it’s got different letters. You click and you see this beautiful picture of the animal, it spelled out in pretty neat letters at the bottom. You can interact with the pictures in a lot of different ways.

RACHEL RAINBOLT: Yes, it has a YouTube video on it. It has like fun facts about the animal and a lot of them have little games that you can do revolving around information about the animal too.

JOHNER RIEHL: So, what’s cool is just from playing around with it is that: “It’s interesting for a lot of broad range of ages.”

RACHEL RAINBOLT: What I love about it is that: “There’s really nothing that a toddler can click where they need the help of an adult

JOHNER RIEHL: Right, that’s awesome.

RACHEL RAINBOLT: Which is great for places like in the car when you can’t help them – so he can click on anything any video, any animal, any button and it will show him something interesting. My older kids can dive more into like a spelling and the fun facts like the scientific end of it. So, it really appeases all of my herd equally.

JOHNER RIEHL: Even the videos are right in the app too.

ERIN ESTEVES: Yes and there’s no way they can charge anything.


EMILY NGUYEN: Yes, no in-app purchasing.

JOHNER RIEHL: Yes, there’s not that available but if you like again, if you haven’t done it already, get to your settings on your phone and turn off in-app purchases like that’s the first thing you have to do if you let your kids use your phone at all.

Yes, I know you have to turn it off because otherwise, you can end up like somebody in this room with a $ 150 worth of Smurf Berries. It happens and it’s almost like a rite of passage for parents now. I’m sorry to get side-track. But, all we finally had our first in-app purchase inevertly from our kid.

I guess our kids are really growing up that they really done it. So, you have to turn that off otherwise, they’re totally going to charge stuff. But, this app is really cool. It’s got these great pictures of – I saw a jackal and a snail. I think there’s a ton of animals.

RACHEL RAINBOLT: Polar bears, yes all kinds of animals.

JOHNER RIEHL: More than one for each letter. So, there’s a ton of really, really cool stuff. I think that some people react to – I have to spend $3 on an app but you’re getting the peace of mind that there’s nothing that they’re going to be able to do in there that you don’t want them to be.

RACHEL RAINBOLT: There are very few apps that I would expose my toddler too just because there are always things that they can click, we’re on exits and stuffs it’s about and – a lot of it I feel like it’s kind of like candy for the brain. It’s kind of just not that great for humans; sort of spins your wheels but you’re not getting anywhere. But, this one’s really cool.

It’s like you can get up close with polar bears, birds, jaguars and watch the videos. It’s sort of like an intro to accessing information through the internet even like from a really early age.

JOHNER RIEHL: Yes. There are just tons of different educational aspects to it.


JOHNER RIEHL: So, what’s the verdict? Thumbs up or thumbs down for Parent Savers?

ERIN ESTEVES: I will go with up, thumbs up.

JOHNER RIEHL: Thumbs up for me, what do you guys think?

EMILY NGUYEN: Definitely.

NITA MELITA: We’ve not use it but I already give it thumbs up. It looks great. I’m totally getting it.

JOHNER RIEHL: Nice. So, definitely recommending it; we’ll have all the information on our episode page on the website.

EMILY NGUYEN: It is possible. I think ABC Wildlife also has some other ABC

JOHNER RIEHL: Yes, I think it’s a series.

EMILY NGUYEN: It’s a series. So, if you like that one, the other ones that we viewers again are very age-appropriate for three year old, toddler even the older child.

JOHNER RIEHL: Nice, ABC Wildlife from PeaPod Labs. Go check it out in the app store, Parent Savers recommended it.

[Theme Music]

JOHNER RIEHL: Today’s topic on Parent Savers is: “Homeschooling your toddler.” Today, we’re talking with Rachel Rainbolt who’s going to tell us about her homeschooling experience and how even toddlers can be a part of homeschooling environment and process. So, thanks for joining us.

RACHEL RAINBOLT: Thanks for having me.

JOHNER RIEHL: So, before we talk about homeschooling toddlers; why don’t you tell us a little about your path to get to homeschooling? I know you talked about it a little bit in your book too.

RACHEL RAINBOLT: I was raised in traditional school so I really didn’t question that there was any other path. I wasn’t really aware that there is any other path for like regular people like me. When it was time to put my first into kindergarten, it didn’t really feel right. Handing him over to these strangers and this big school really wasn’t setting right. But again, I just sort of assume: “This is what everybody does.”

JOHNER RIEHL: So, many parenting decisions. A lot and you have to really look at them are – wait, this is how I did it.


JOHNER RIEHL: But, it doesn’t feel right and it’s really hard to break that momentum. You didn’t even do it right there.

RACHEL RAINBOLT: No. This is like what I do. I like to investigate parenting choices. I write about them and still, just the archetype of traditional school was so pervasive that even I couldn’t get around it. Yes, any time you’re doing something like because everyone else does it, that’s just like I’ve read that.

JOHNER RIEHL: It shouldn’t, right? Then, even if you consciously decide that you wanted to do it that’s just

RACHEL RAINBOLT: Yes, just doing it because you think you have too.

JOHNER RIEHL: But, school is really a lot. I like that.

RACHEL RAINBOLT: Yes, it is. So, we put him in school and then over the course of the few years just his fiery passionate curiosity and love of learning was just being totally snuffed out. So, then I really started looking into other options.

It was just sort of his natural state was sort of going away and being changed to what you had to be – like to be successful and traditional school. I want it to work for him.

JOHNER RIEHL: So, you started. Did he go through first grade or was it after kindergarten?

RACHEL RAINBOLT: It was in middle of second grade when we made the switch.


RACHEL RAINBOLT: We first switched to the home school program through the district to sort of like training wheels into the homeschooling world; because it was like the same work at the same level with a lot of involvement from the district. Then, we sort of – at the end of that school year, we launched into homeschooling through a charter.

JOHNER RIEHL: Got it. I will say for our oldest, this is in first grade. I mean I actually see him blossoming and thriving in that environment. So, I do think that it’s each kid – it can’t be different. So, we’re not here to say: “You have to go home school your kids but we’re talking about some of the really great parts of it.”

RACHEL RAINBOLT: We would just want to open parents’ minds to the idea that there is a whole world of options. That you don’t just – you’re not just stuck in the one thing that you think you have to do.

JOHNER RIEHL: Right, exactly. So, what do you think are some of the misconceptions about homeschooling?

RACHEL RAINBOLT: There are so many that it’s like extremist. There is a common misconception that it’s only associated with like a devoutly religious population.

JOHNER RIEHL: Great. Everyone it’s little has on the prayer.


ERIN ESTEVES: Sister-wives.

RACHEL RAINBOLT: Yes. But, it’s not social. I used to tell myself – anytime, I would start to think about homeschooling; I would say: “Well, my son is so social like it would never work for him.” But, we have far more social opportunities now that we home school then he was getting in traditional school.

JOHNER RIEHL: Yes, it doesn’t mean isolation.

RACHEL RAINBOLT: Yes, it doesn’t mean isolation at all whatsoever. That they would be academically behind; I think that was a fear that my husband had. Hopefully, he doesn’t mind me calling him out here.

NITA MELITA: Same here.

RACHEL RAINBOLT: Sort of a fear and misconception of that but we found the opposite that just without sort of the structure like you’re doing this today and then the bell rings and then you’re done with it. Tomorrow, you do that. They’re really free to just keep going and excel. So, I would say: “All of my kids are ahead of sort of the traditional school timeline academically.”


RACHEL RAINBOLT: Then, the teacher role too that I think there’s a misconception that if you home school, you have to sort of become something different. You have to be a teacher like where you stand in front of the room, you lecture to your kids, and you have your books and things like that. But, it’s really not like that at all. It’s really just an extension of the relationship you already have where you are sort of your kid’s guide to the universe. You just get to continue that.

JOHNER RIEHL: Do you have like a place in your house that set up where you do-do curriculum or lessons? Somebody who does at home school like I imagine: “You’re homeschooled; you must have a classroom setup in a corner.”

RACHEL RAINBOLT: No, in my home; we do not have like a classroom setup. My kids will do their work in the hammock, in the backyard. We’ll go to a museum downtown and a local park. Well, we sort of do it everywhere. It’s just sort of folded into our lives.

We do have a room. I have a bunch of pictures of them in Pinterest which I call our “Play Room” because that has all of our toys, all of our curricula like all the books and there’s a desk with a laptop on it. So, that it can have like a charging station. It’s where the iPads are. So, it’s sort of like the – sort of like the launching

ERIN ESTEVES: The library.

RACHEL RAINBOLT: Yes, the library.

ERIN ESTEVES: It’s the library.

RACHEL RAINBOLT: Yes, the study. But, they’re not often in that room actually doing the work. So like yesterday, my littlest one was napping on my chest and then my other one was snuggled next to me on the couch. We’re going over his reading stuff that sort of how it works.

JOHNER RIEHL: That’s unlike most families probably. These days have at least one dedicated room in their house just kind of given over to the kids.

ERIN ESTEVES: The office.

JOHNER RIEHL: That they can play with.

RACHEL RAINBOLT: Ours is open to our living room; so it’s like one big space but it’s just sort of occupies like one portion of that big open space.

EMILY NGUYEN: Ours is like that too. It’s like a playroom that has evolved. We have a big kid. We call it our project table that has art supplies always available, books close-by, paper readily available, scissors, tape and glue because the other thing that we try to instil on our kids is that: “Whatever they’re working on is work. I mean what looks like play to us is really valuable work.”

RACHEL RAINBOLT: Play is the work of childhood.

EMILY NGUYEN: Exactly. I think we tend to separate that and say: “You’re doing school work or you’re playing.” The implication is: “The play is not valuable.” So, we call it our project table. We do some school stuff there that we do.

RACHEL RAINBOLT: It’s not valuable and it doesn’t lead to real learning.

EMILY NGUYEN: To real learning.

RACHEL RAINBOLT: “Real Learning.”

EMILY NGUYEN: Exactly, yes.

JOHNER RIEHL: Which is so pretty much the opposite of what’s true


JOHNER RIEHL: That’s why kids play, that’s how they’re learning.

EMILY NGUYEN: Yes, that’s how they learn and it’s hard work with what they’re doing.

JOHNER RIEHL: It’s interesting that you say that: “Art Supplies.” We have art supplies out at our house and we have so many families come over and say: “Our kids love coming over because they get to paint here.”

NITA MELITA: Yes, they’re shocked.

JOHNER RIEHL: Yes, washable paint. They liked it like we have an art station set-up for them. But, a lot of parents like don’t want it because they don’t want to deal with the mess.

RACHEL RAINBOLT: There’s a lot of like as parents, we tend to limit like our kids experiences because of fears of them taking risks or concern about messes

JOHNER RIEHL: Or too much stuff in the house.

RACHEL RAINBOLT: Too much that clutter and things like that and my house is on clutter but I’m a big fan of like learning happens through living life and in order for that to take place, you have to have experiences.

So, like we don’t have a whole lot of like toys that do the playing for you; but we have a whole lot of supplies like you said like: paint, tape – you’d be surprised on how much fun they could have and how much like structural engineering they can learn from like some cardboard recyclables and a whole bunch of tape, stuff like that.

JOHNER RIEHL: I think for parents that even art, even taking of homeschooling better interested about the topic – a lot of the stuff you say is: “How a kid...?” That’s how some of the principles can be applied to the life like I remember we learned at our preschool something that we just had two toys that don’t do the play for them. It’s huge. But, I think homeschooling is a lot about thinking about things from that perspective.

NITA MELITA: Yes, they become a little more selective about what objects you do bring in. That’s what I’ve noticed is: “How can this stimulate them? How can it build motor skills? How can instil some imagination and creativity versus a toy that will just – they usually lose interest in those non-imaginative.


JOHNER RIEHL: They do one thing and it does it for them.

NITA MELITA: So, it is a little homeschooling is: “A little bit about picking and choosing what you’re going to have in that area.” So, decide in your house.

ERIN ESTEVES: So, you all sound so savvy about this. You talk about toys that do the playing, toys that don’t. This will motor skills blah-blah-blah. No disrespect but I’m just

JOHNER RIEHL: Is it intimidating?

ERIN ESTEVES: Yes, it’s daunting. It’s horrifying. So, I read Sage Parenting. I read Rachel’s book and I really have to recommend it because it laid things out in a very plain, simple and achievable way, things that I had never occurred to me and it made homeschooling in bite-sized.

For those of you that are listening that you haven’t a clue – I’d always been tease at my education essentially made me the perfect governess. But, I didn’t know how to apply that to my child. So, even though you guys are saying all of these stuff here; it’s still a little scary.

RACHEL RAINBOLT: I’ll hold your hand, we can do it.

ERIN ESTEVES: So, the point I’m trying to make is: “Thank you.”


ERIN ESTEVES: Thank you for the book and it really gave me a starting point and a guide. So, I’m very excited and look forward.

JOHNER RIEHL: Do you think that you might home school Cash?

ERIN ESTEVES: Absolutely.


ERIN ESTEVES: 100%. It’s funny because this is something my husband and I had always talked about before but I was really afraid of it because it was something like I just said this: “Super daunting and like where do you start? What does it mean? Do I have to get a map to pull that in front of the ceiling?’




JOHNER RIEHL: Where do you get those overhead projectors?


EMILY NGUYEN: Just get the whiteboard.

ERIN ESTEVES: I had no idea good things that like the PE would be incorporated through your school district; or that I have no idea that things that you had access to. I’m really excited about it because there’s a really cool charter school in San Diego that’s a French Language Immersion. I’m like: “I wonder if they do a home school program.” So, I’m very excited.

JOHNER RIEHL: So, let’s close out this first half. But, we’re talking about a lot of homeschooling and that obviously applies to older kids like what age do, is it traditional or just the district supported if you’re partnering with other schools homeschooling?

RACHEL RAINBOLT: Well, if you’re going through like a district – you’re talking about kindergarten entrance.

JOHNER RIEHL: Right, it’s about five or six.

RACHEL RAINBOLT: Yes, from the moment your baby is born and like placed on your chest, you’re teaching them love, security and trust. Everything from homeschooling just extends from there. You’re just always teaching and you’re child is always learning from you.

So, it doesn’t necessarily have to look like you’re a teacher and you’re a student. It’s an extension of this parent-child relationship that you get to sort of flush out and enjoy.

JOHNER RIEHL: It’s weird. It seems like we need to do is: “Blow up everything people think about homeschooling.”



JOHNER RIEHL: If you think about it as from the moment they’re placed on the mom’s skin for the first time and you’re the guide – of course, you could home school your toddler. But I think some people might think: “I never would have thought that I’m homeschooling my toddler.”

EMILY NGUYEN: I think a common misconception also is that: “You need to have the background of an educator.” People always say to me: “You were a teacher.” I always think: “Well, yes I was an early childhood educator but I’m teaching my eight-year old because I can.”

We know our children best. A lot of it is not about feeding in the information. It’s about helping them blossom in their curiosity. Acting as the support and acting as the mediator.

ERIN ESTEVES: If you say those again but those words are scary.



ERIN ESTEVES: Those words insinuate that I know what the freak is going on with child development. What I want to say is that: “I have a perfect example of something that before yesterday or before I finish reading the book, I never would have associated as a homeschooling moment and that’s explaining to my 2 ½ year old the difference between glass and plastic.”


ERIN ESTEVES: He can use the plastic cups, glasses cups. He can pick those up at will but the ones with glass; he needs help from mommy or daddy. I realized: “Hello.” That’s homeschooling.


RACHEL RAINBOLT: Yesterday, I was drinking a drink that had ice in it and my two year old was poking the ice and he said: “Cold.” I said: “Yes, that is cold.” Where else is there cold? He ran over to the freezer and he said: “Open.” So, I opened the freezer and he is touching the ice cream and the ice packs cold.

I said: “What about hot? Where is there hot?” He pointed up to the sink. So, I picked him up. We filled the sink with hot water. Again, this is one of these things where you don’t – you can be an attentive parent and not have to try to shelter them from everything you think might be too risky.

Filled it with hot water while I was right there and we put the ice from my drink in the hot water. He took a spoon and mixed it around like hot. Where did ice go? Where did ice go? Talking all about that, that’s home school. He’s two.

JOHNER RIEHL: Right. We’re thinking about that as just

RACHEL RAINBOLT: That’s science.

JOHNER RIEHL: Engage parenting but its homeschooling. So, let’s take a break. So, we guys put this on two segments. We’ll talk more about: “Setting up and dealing with toddlers and what we can, what things the family should set up and have and how they could just incorporate into their lives.” That was an awesome teaching moment that you guys both talked about. We’ll be right back.

[Theme Music]

JOHNER RIEHL: Welcome back everybody. Thanks for listening to Parent Savers. Today, we’re talking about homeschooling your toddler with Rachel Rainbolt. So, let’s talk about materials though; I mean we don’t have the set up, a classroom but what are some good things for families to have on hand or around the house when they’re homeschooling. I’m using it in quotes now because I feel like it’s almost like his birthday. It’s very loaded.



RACHEL RAINBOLT: I completely agree. I love that. All of you listeners just visualize air quotes.


RACHEL RAINBOLT: So, tools for creation like we talked about things that don’t do the plain for you. So, things like wooden blocks, crayons. I was just telling Emily the other day, I really into PVC right now. It sort of goes to what you were saying: “How would you know to even think of that?” So, I try to break it down in the book like some ideas; but – yes, we went to home depot and got a bunch of like two-foot long PVC

JOHNER RIEHL: They are so cheap.

RACHEL RAINBOLT: PVC scraps. So, cheap with a bunch of different joints that you could buy

JOHNER RIEHL: Connectors.


RACHEL RAINBOLT: Just sent them into the backyard and they like attach the hose to the end and created different channels and put little toys that they had into it. They had made raises and they had to work together and they built structures and all of these from – I mean we spent probably $15 on PVC.

JOHNER RIEHL: Right. If you would go and try to buy that toy, like I’m sure would be $50 or $75 for the special PVC.

RACHEL RAINBOLT: Yes, absolutely.

JOHNER RIEHL: It’s funny that you said that: “We do that on the back too.” We put them into the bath tub and just have kind of fun.

RACHEL RAINBOLT: Yes, PVC is great at the bath.

NITA MELITA: Yes, you are thinking in terms of supplies like that.

EMILY NGUYEN: I was just going to say: “I think what you were saying about feeling like – I’m not creative. I wouldn’t think of that. You do.” You start to see the world in a different way. I think you start to see things.

My husband brought PVC home a couple of years ago because he was fixing one of our pipes. I did see it. I think: “That’s great.” We happen to have bricks lying round which I wouldn’t recommend for all children. However, I would monitor them very carefully but you start to see the world that way when you were looking for it.

I think you have to trust that you would see it that way.

NITA MELITA: Maybe, in just lately how it’s been raining. It just launched into this whole discussion about water cycles. Even for a toddler, you can explain how the water even just where is it going. They understand that enough that it goes in the garden goes out to the ocean. These concepts – you can take anything in your daily life for toddlers especially and just turn it into an hour of lesson and not even feel like you were teaching. It is amazing.

ERIN ESTEVES: That’s something that I also wanted to bring up is that: “Now, that you get girls have really delve into this; now you’re speaking and seeing things with those catch-phrase.” With those: “Motor skills and all those other neat things that I’m not there yet but hopefully, I’ll be.”

RACHEL RAINBOLT: Because you witness how they grow. For example, plastic and glass – those are great supplies for home school. One is heavy, one is shinier. You can some see-through some plastics. You can always see through but you can delve into whole learning that will stand from just having those supplies around.

JOHNER RIEHL: But what if the learning takes you as a parent to where you don’t know the answer?

RACHEL RAINBOLT: That’s a great question. That’s where you get to act as sort of somebody who can help teach them to access that information on your own. Because even if you do know the answer, I don’t always give the answer to my kids because I think my ultimate objective is to foster that love of learning and teach them how to be their best selves. That’s not always going to require me standing between them in the information.

So, like I teach them; if they asked me a question – how could we find that answer? Well, we can hop into the computer and do a search. Well, baby asked the other day, what a whirl pool was and I said: “Well, would you like to read words about what a whirlpool is or would you like to see a video of a whirlpool.” He said: “Video.” I said: “Great, where you can find that.” YouTube, I can help on the iPad. Perfect, let’s do it.

He brought it over and we looked it up. He had some more specific questions like: “I want to learn more. So, we can look at some words?” Then, that could be overwhelming for a five year old. Page after page – so, I skimmed through and found a couple that where in sort of bite-sized chunks for him and pull those up.

JOHNER RIEHL: But, you didn’t wake up and said: “Here is my whirlpool lesson for today.”

RACHEL RAINBOLT: Nope, exactly.

JOHNER RIEHL: You were just kind of able to

RACHEL RAINBOLT: I’ve led. He said: “Mom, what’s a whirlpool?” Where did he got that from? I have no clue. It’s so fun they come up with these questions and you don’t have no idea what inspire it. Maybe he watched the toilet flush, I have no idea.


RACHEL RAINBOLT: He wanted to know and just as long as you don’t stay in the way, they will continue to have all of these questions just exploding out of them. You can teach them how to run after that and chase that information.

JOHNER RIEHL: The earlier I think that you can nurture answering and engaging them on their questions, the better I think they talk about how. If you don’t answer your kid’s questions now

RACHEL RAINBOLT: Especially, we’re talking about toddlers with a why’s’.

JOHNER RIEHL: Then, they can quit asking you questions.

RACHEL RAINBOLT: That “why” is step one of becoming a life-long learner. Answer the “why,” show them how to answer it themselves, give them materials so that they can discover the why on their own.

JOHNER RIEHL: Mine just turned five year old, he mastered the why question. It blew my mind because he would be like: “Why is that trashcan out today?” I don’t know. I said: “Why do you think?” He’ll say to me: “Why do you think?” So, yes, why won’t I tell him why do you think; or maybe he didn’t but he would get answer out of it. He wants to hear the – they’re so curious.

RACHEL RAINBOLT: Yes, you can channel to find that information themselves. So, let’s meet back here at the window on Tuesday at 8:00 and see what happens to the trashcans.

JOHNER RIEHL: All right, so let’s talk about older siblings because I think that’s a probably how a lot of people would get into this epiphany realization that they’re homeschooling their toddlers or plus here at the show and realising it. So, how do you involve kind of your older siblings to help the younger one; or the younger ones more kind of pulled up by what you’re doing with the older sibling

RACHEL RAINBOLT: Well, it’s great because I really don’t actively do much in the way of encouraging it. I focus on actively encouraging, respectful, connected relationships between the siblings. I have three little ones where eight, five and two. But, the learning, the home school cooperation – again, it’s just an extension of that existing relationships.

So, my older one will be learning something and he’ll get so excited and said: “My God, baby come look at this. Did you realize that da-da-da whatever it is” and he’s like: “What? How does that happen? Wes, come look at this.” It just extends down the line and up because the younger ones will ask questions to the older ones.

They’re more willing and able to find out more complicated things. So, they’ll do the research for it and come back and explain it to the younger ones. So, it really goes in all different directions.

JOHNER RIEHL: Having multiple kids, those moments – and they don’t always happen. But, they happen a lot but those moments when they are working together as a team and they almost don’t need you and they’re kind of working it’s amazing.


RACHEL RAINBOLT: When I have found that with homeschooling that aspect of their relationship has dramatically increased.

JOHNER RIEHL: That’s awesome.

RACHEL RAINBOLT: Exactly. When they were in school, they were like part time brothers; whereas now, they’re like fulltime brothers. So, they know that they’re each other’s greatest asset in our house. If mom’s busy like they have each other to help find out that information and share that information with whereas before, it was kind of like: “The school environment got all of that energy, all that greatness and then we were kind of like left with what was left over.”

EMILY NGUYEN: The meltdown when they got home.

RACHEL RAINBOLT: Yes, exactly. Now, it’s the other way around.

JOHNER RIEHL: Because they really do hold in the energy in school. They’re holding that stuff.

EMILY NGUYEN: They have too. Yes because they need to sit and keep quiet and use all of the resources for that.

ERIN ESTEVES: Well, I don’t know about you guys but I remember so vividly and clearly being in elementary school and thinking about myself: “This doesn’t work.” I knew for a fact by the time I was in middle school and high school, I was just like: “These schedules are insane.”

There’s no point. It doesn’t make any sense. But another one of my concerns was the idea of a full time school schedule; that’s like eight hours of school work, how can I do that in my home?

EMILY NGUYEN: Plus homework and all of that.

RACHEL RAINBOLT: It’s really cool because it doesn’t feel like work when you’re doing it. So, we don’t technically unschooled, we do home school. So, basically what that means to me is that: “We actually have some curriculum books that we use in the sort of structured way.”

Then, I tell my kids: “They have to choose three things of the curriculum shelf each home school day.” So, that’s three days a week for us. Two days, they go to a learning centre.

JOHNER RIEHL: But they probably enjoy it.

RACHEL RAINBOLT: But, they enjoy it because they get to choose what it is. Yes, they can do it on the trampoline. They can discuss it with me. If something and it sparks their interest, they can spend the next two hours; sort of falling down that rabbit hole and looking for more information about it. It’s not like: “okay, it starts. You cross this T. You colour in this hat and then it’s over.”

JOHNER RIEHL: All right, well we need to wrap it up. So, what would be I guess the last thing that you guys want to make sure especially for people with toddlers maybe in Erin’s situation; or if they have a young kid maybe one, maybe two that are interested in homeschooling, when can they start and what can they do?

RACHEL RAINBOLT: Start today, wherever you are, wherever you’re at and just embrace life and living and all of the learning that comes from that especially from like the connected lifestyle. Just get to know your kid and help them to get to know the world. That is homeschooling – air quotes.

JOHNER RIEHL: Yes, air quotes on homeschooling. Well, thanks so much for joining us. We have information about the book and everything on our website on the episode page. Also, what is your website?


JOHNER RIEHL: Great. So, people can definitely visit that as well. For more information, visit We’re going to continue the conversation with some bonus content for members of our Parent Savers Club.

After the show, we’re going to talk a little bit more about the cost of homeschooling. So, that’s going to be kind of an interesting breakdown. So, for more information about that and the Parent Savers Club, please visit .

[Theme Music]

BRIAN MILLER: Hello Parent Savers. I’m Brian Miller. I’m the owner of Geppetto’s Toy Stores here in San Diego and I’m going to talk to you about toys for your 6 month old to about 1 year old. Toys for that age are so exciting. At that age, your children just exploring everything; with their fingers, with their toes, with their mouths – the more colourful, the better; things that are easy to grasp.

But that six month age, your child’s really learning their pincer grasp; their four fingers and their thumb. So, things start easy to pick up; our great small motor skill for that age. Teething, part of exploration is putting things in their mouths – so you want to make sure they’re safe. You want to make sure: “No small parts.”

Don’t put any toys in the freezer because that will hurt their gums. But a cold toy sometimes feels good. Things that are made for teething are really important. Also, your child’s larger motor skills are working at that time and about 6 months to 9 months are sitting up. So, things that can sit on the floor where they’re going to play with them maybe nesting blocks or soft stocking blocks, something that can stack and they can tumble over – that’s very fun.

Also, time on their tummy; tummy time is really important. So, things with sound cause your child to turn and listen and see what’s going on. At the end of that stage, sort of nine months to a year “cause and effect.” Kids love seeing what you can do and make a toy change or make noise. So, this toy telephone by turning them on and making it ring, that’s a cause and effect toy.

Also, peek-a-boo, “object permanence” – when you see something and it’s gone and then it comes back, that’s why kids love peek-a-boo. That’s a skill they’re learning, “object permanence.” Then, as they’re going toward a year, larger motor skills, they’re starting to walk. They’re starting to crawl.

Where they’re crawling suddenly is simple as a ball can motivate a child to crawl. Then, as they begin to walk, they’re going to be cruising. So, walking around to table or even a walker that’s very stable is great for a child of that age. You can visit our website for more information or for future ideas; listen to Parent Savers for more toy tips in the future.

JOHNER RIEHL: That wraps things up for today’s episode of Parent Savers. Thanks so much for joining us.

Don’t forget to check out our sister shows:

• Preggie Pals for expecting parents
• The Boob Group for moms who breastfeed their babies and
• Twin Talks for parents of multiples.

Next week, we’ll be talking about: “Taking your child to the Emergency Room” which is actually something we have some experience with. Even recent experience actually – now that I think about it. And The Boob Group like moms who breastfeed their babies. Do we talk about breastfeeding other?


JOHNER RIEHL: Other things besides their human children?

ERIN ESTEVES: They have been mentions at literature but you won’t get any.

JOHNER RIEHL: Exactly. So, maybe we won’t call it exactly they aren’t more on parents. All right, thanks so much for joining us. This is Parent Savers, empowering new parents.

This has been a New Mommy Media production. Information and material contained in this episode are presented for educational purposes only. Statements and opinions expressed in this episode are not necessarily those of New Mommy Media and should not be considered facts. Though information in which areas are related to be accurate, it is not intended to replace or substitute for professional, Medical or advisor care and should not be used for diagnosing or treating health care problem or disease or prescribing any medications. If you have questions or concerns regarding your physical or mental health or the health of your baby, please seek assistance from a qualified health care provider.

SUNNY GAULT: New Mommy Media is expanding our line up of shows for new and expecting parents. If you have an idea for a new series or if you’re a business or organization interested in joining our network of shows through a co-branded podcast, visit .

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