I’m sure by now you’ve made the painstaking decision of which capacity your child will return to school in. Be that homeschool, in a brick and mortar school, or online, I know you have chosen what is the best for your family and your child.
If you have chosen to homeschool your Preschool/PreK age child, and find yourself worrying about what a homeschool day should look like, then you’re reading the right blog post. Prior to becoming a work from home mom, I was a Preschool/PreK teacher. Because of this, the thought of teaching my four year old at home doesn’t quite send me into panic mode as I’m sure it may some of you who have never had to do this before. Below are my best tips for how to appropriately homeschool your Preschool/PreK age children.
- Have a designated space & time frame – Create a space in your home that is designated to homeschool. It doesn’t have to be a huge space or something straight off a Pinterest board, but it just needs to be a space where you can keep everything organized, and where your child will know that it’s school time each day. Allow yourself about 2 hours (give or take) in a day to dedicate to school. Kids this age don’t need much – they learn so much from real-life happenings!
- Use your weekly errands as “field trips”– There will be plenty of things you have to get done during the week on top of educating your child, so you might as well make educational use out of them. Need an oil change? Great! Take your kiddo with you and look around the body shop finding simple machines (ramps, axles, wedges, etc) and talk about why those are important and how they help the mechanic do their job. That’s a science lesson right there. Need groceries? Perfect! Have your kids sort (beginning math skill) fruits/veggies (healthy choices) in the cart. Let them help you weigh your produce (more math). You can make mundane tasks exciting and educational for kids, and give yourself a pat on the back for teaching an awesome, hands-on lesson.
- Have a schedule, but be adaptable – A typical schedule should consist of a morning routine where you talk about the day of the week, the month, the weather, the season, etc. You can focus on a different letter, color, and number each week, and introduce new skills to go along with those letters, numbers, and colors. Have a hands-on activity planned for each day whether that be a cooking activity, art project, or a science experiment. Your days will not always go as planned, and that’s ok. A normal school day doesn’t always go as planned either. Kids get hungry, tired, grumpy, bored. You will have to take time to reset and get back on track every now and then, but that is ok!
- Let your kids PLAY – There is absolutely no better way for a child this age to learn than to allow them to play. They build communication skills, learn practical life skills through role-playing, and their imaginations soar! Don’t feel like you constantly have to be teaching them a lesson or doing an activity with them. If you provide them with enough open-ended, easily accessible learning toys and materials, they are going to flourish!
- Join your local library – Kids need books, and I’m sure you have a ton at home. Getting to go to the library, check out books that interest them or that are on topic with what you’re learning that week, is such a great experience for kids. This will also teach them responsibility for having to care for the books that don’t belong to them, and remember to return them to the library on time.
- Don’t be afraid of a mess – I can’t stress this enough. I am a neat freak to my core, but kids need to learn how to use glue and scissors, and they need to explore different art medias. Let them paint and glitter (yes, glitter!!), color with markers and glue Pom Pom balls to construction paper. As long as they work within their dedicated space, and you teach them boundaries for using the items, you can handle a little mess. Having them help clean up the mess is actually a lesson in itself!
- Sensory bins will be your best friend – Kids benefit SO much from ample amounts of sensory play. Purchase a cheap Rubbermaid tub that you can easily store somewhere. Stock up on rice, chickpeas, beans, oats, dry pasta, water, etc. Pour one of these items into the tub with spoons, scoops, and kitchen funnels and watch your kids explore. They learn skills like scooping and pouring, strengthen fine motor skills, and they learn to explore with their senses. You can color the water or the items with food coloring too just to make them that much more exciting!
Remember, kids learn the most from real-life, practical tasks. Having daily tasks to complete such as dressing themselves, brushing their teeth, combing their hair, washing their hands, taking their dishes to the sink, sitting appropriately at the table to eat, and learning to communicate with people other than their immediate family members are going to set them up for success in future years.
Don’t stress too much over precise lesson plans, and don’t worry if your projects don’t turn out Pinterest perfect. Normal school days aren’t picture perfect, and your homeschool days aren’t going to be either. Enjoy this time with your babies, be grateful for the opportunity to grow and learn WITH them, and have fun!
Attached are some fantastic resources for homeschool ideas.
*The Busy Toddler*
*Days with Grey*