It's my fourth trip down the homeschool preschool lane, and I have to say that this one is the most pleasant one I've taken so far.
And I think it's because I've finally, FINALLY learned how to make homeschool preschool simple, enjoyable and joy-filled.
For many of us, being a homeschool mom starts in when our kids are in preschool or kindergarten. But sometimes, our enthusiasm to “get started” in homeschooling (and finally try all those fun ideas!) isn't a good match for the typical four-to-five-year-old attention span.
Convinced that we must follow a curriculum and a “plan,” we push them to sit down and to get “school” done. Yep, I wrote a whole book about how well that worked out for me with my oldest son!
While there are great homeschool preschool ideas, after homeschooling through this age now four times, I have to say that the best homeschool preschool method really is to keep it simple, free-form and fun!
Our Favorite Homeschool Preschool Resources
We do have two books that we regularly work through:
get it here on Amazon
I've heard about this reading program from many friends for a long time. We were using other resources when my other kids were little (a few had some learning issues we were working with), but this time I wanted something simple and easy.
This book has totally delivered! It really does take only about 15 minutes a day, and I've been amazed to see how quickly my youngest son has been about to start sounding out words and to read.
The program takes kids step by step learning and sounding out the sounds. I would totally recommend this book, especially if some of the other reading curriculum seems a bit overwhelming.
If your child is ready to start learning basic handwriting skills, then I'd start with this excellent, Bible-based handwriting curriculum (you can see my review here of this program).
I love that it's a gentle way to slowly introduce handwriting skills (when a child is ready), practice fine motor skills and to incorporate sharing about character qualities/principles at the same time. You can purchase the book as either a digital download here or as a printed version on Amazon.
We also keep a steady supply of preschool-aged library books. My son's favorite right now are the ones like this one where there's a symbol in the text that represents a word and he gets to “read” along with me.
I am a firm believer that reading aloud to our kids (especially those in the preschool and early elementary ages) is the most important thing we can do as home educators! So our homeschool preschool includes at least one or two reading times a day. We read everything from Dr. Seuss to Eric Carle; activity books like ABC books and Look-And-Find books; Bible stories and those with strong character messages.
Here's some of our family's must-have read-alouds. These are pulled out nearly every week!
How I Organize Our Homeschool Preschool
I want our homeschool preschool to be about building relationships and lots of learning play. And since I'm homeschooling four kids now, it has to be simple!
So over the summer, I organized our homeschool preschool supplies into five different bins–one for each of the following areas, plus one for independent learning:
- Math (learning numbers, colors)
- Pre-Reading Skills (beginning phonics, learning the alphabet)
- Handwriting/Fine Motor Skills (drawing, art, writing letters)
- Large Motor Skills (games like sidewalk chalk, frisbee, bubbles, hopscotch, jump rope)
I have collected quite a few homeschool preschool items over the years, so there has been very little that I've had to buy for my youngest son's preschool activities. They're an eclectic mix of stuff I've found on Pinterest, activity kits and games I've purchased.
My kids are blessed to be part of a learning program where they attend classes from 9:00-3:30 two days a week, and so my preschooler and I do the bulk of his “teaching” while the older kids are at these classes.
I simply pull a one or two items from each of these bins on these “teaching” days. If the activity is a hit, sometimes we'll do the same activity several days in a row.
But many days, I just follow what he wants to learn about. Here's a video (and one of our activities) from the day he discovered that clouds move:
I also have a bin for independent learning so that my preschooler has some fun learning activities to do on the other days when I must focus on teaching the older kids.
8 Tips for A Simple Homeschool Preschool
1) Refer to it “game time” or “play time” with your child. This reminds that the child (and you) that this is going to be fun!
2) Keep it light and loose. There's no need to have a fancy lesson plan or to “make” a child sit down and do something. It's really about exploring and playing.
3) Be willing to follow the whims and fancies of the child. If they want to learn about butterflies, grab a book on butterflies from the library or look up something online!
4) Spend time outside exploring and discovering. Take walks! Play in a garden! Look up at the sky! Gather fallen leaves! Exploring the world around them helps them develop a great love for learning which is absolutely critical in the later homeschool years.
After we painted clouds and learned about clouds, we went outside and watched them move:
6) Don't be afraid to make things up on the spot. This video is an example of something I just came up with after we purchased the Alphabet City book:
7) Remember–your child's biggest reward is to be with you! This simple fact reminds me that I need to lighten up and make our homeschool preschool time together as enjoyable as possible.
8) Most of all, enjoy this time with your child! Relax… I promise the days of calculus and essay writing will be here before you know it!