I’m not sure what your preschool years looked like for you, but the only memory I have of preschool is being punished the day that Santa was suppose to visit our school. I recall sitting on my cot and hearing Santa’s bells and reindeer outside the building where all the other good little boys and girls gathered. That moment scarred me for life and also fed my belief in Santa for a very long time. Now this has nothing to do with how to homeschool a preschooler, but I feel closer to you now that you know part of my twisted past.
I think we can all agree that early education sets the foundation for a lifetime of learning. If you are homeschooling a preschooler this year or are homeschooling older children and have a preschooler underfoot, I hope you will find some ideas and inspiration in this post.
I’m going to stop right here and say that although I don’t personally feel that formal learning needs to begin at this age, I do believe that there are important things we can do with our littles to set them up for success once they hit the grade school years.
Read a lot. Read as much as you possibly can with them. Rhyming books, books with repetition, ABC books and good quality picture books will help your children begin to notice patterns in words. Great stories allow for conversation to happen and comprehension skills begin to develop. Read all different types of genre’s to your children. Get them excited about space with books on the moon- then go out and observe it!
If you read to your children a lot at this age, they will soon develop their own interest in reading and once they have learned to read on their own, the world of learning is completely open to them.
This is not the time to push learning how to read, unless they are open to it. Take the natural approach and point out letters, figures of speech or punctuation. Our youngest loved pointing out quotation marks after I told her what they meant.
Practice Counting and other Math concepts:
We live in a world with numbers. You can literally count everything. Point out numbers when you see them. Count items at the grocery store, passing cars, count while putting grapes on their plate. You can begin to teach them number sense before they can even talk. We do this anyway “You can have 2 crackers” while holding up 2 fingers. Skip count while you hop around the back yard.
Point out shapes while they are eating cheerios or slices of cheese, Play eye spy with shapes while your out on a walk or driving.
Practice non-standard measurement by measuring things with items they have in their room. “how many stuffed animals long is your bed?” “How many blocks high is this table?”
Homeschooling preschool doesn’t have to involve math worksheets and a curriculum.
I can’t tell you how many games of Hi Ho Cherry-O® we played, but I was certainly glad the day we outgrew that game and I could pass it on to the next unsuspecting mom. But that game and UNO® taught my youngest how to count and recognize numbers. Games also teach sequence, colors, patterns, teamwork, how to loose or be a good winner (And you better believe I never lost on purpose! Everyone can’t be winners- but that’s a soapbox for another day.) Games are also helpful in lengthening attention spans and working on verbal skills.
Get them Outside:
This probably should have been number one on the list. Your children will learn more about the world around them by experiencing it outside then what you can teach them from a book. Research has shown that high quality outdoor learning experiences have proven to:
- -Develop children’s reflective and inquisitive thinking along with problem-solving approaches in ‘real’ situations
- – Assist with gross and fine-motor development
- -Develop a love, appreciation and respect for nature and all that is living
- -Teaches them to deal with adversity in less than ideal weather conditions.
And those are just a few of the benefits of getting them outside.
Homeschooling your preschooler doesn’t have to be stressful or formal. This is the perfect age to introduce learning to them while everything is still exciting and new. You might just find out that they have checked off all those so called Kindergarten milestones before they ever reach that age!
Check out this post on teaching patterns! It can easily be adapted for a fun preschool activity!
What are you currently doing in your homeschool preschool?
If you haven’t had a chance to build up your Preschool Game Arsenal, here are a few suggestion: