Can You Homeschool Your Preschooler? – Absolutely!
8 Fun and Simple Steps to Homeschool Success
The thought of homeschooling your preschooler may sound impossible at first; something that only those with the greatest amount of patience, time and money can do. However, it is actually pretty easy and is very rewarding for both you and your child. With a few tips and tricks, you can do this too, no matter what your situation or level of experience.
Your home, library, computer, backyard and local park are probably already stocked to the brim with most of the necessary supplies. Also, you can find just about any answer, lesson plan, experiment, project, math worksheet, etc. on the internet, free of charge!
You won’t cover all of the subjects each day. You can vary what you do and make it work for you, as well as following the cues of your child. Remember to relax and enjoy this time, and then the learning will begin!
Here are some steps to begin:
1. Workspace: You don’t have to have a special set-up to do this, especially if space is limited. A kitchen table covered with a plastic tablecloth and old newspapers on the floor could work very well for projects. If you have more space, you might want to consider designating a small area in a family room or kitchen with a small table and some supplies such as crayons, paper, art supplies, books, puzzles, and educational toys.
2. Reading: Your preschooler may not be ready to read yet, but you can certainly read to your child! Pointing to words and pictures will help your preschooler connect the words to the objects. Use posters, flash cards and don’t forget that good old ABC song! The library is also a great resource, and they often have regular story times. Let your child pick out some books to check out while you are there. At home, keep a variety of books on a lower shelf or table where your child can reach them easily. In addition, try keeping a stack of books near your child’s bedside and have a designated reading time before going to sleep.
3. Math: Your child should know how to count from 1-10 before they begin Kindergarten. Help your child count different items like fingers and toes, eggs you use while cooking, crackers and cookies, ducks in a pond, etc. Anywhere you go, you can find something interesting to count. For some physical activity at the same time, try counting jumping jacks, or how many steps it takes to run to a tree, the ideas are limitless. Have them start a piggy bank and give them a variety of coins to begin. Puzzles and games that teach patterns and shapes are also important supplements for teaching math skills.
4. Science: Letting your child explore goes a long way in learning science. Your own backyard is full of great science opportunities. Check out your local community and visit parks, local museums and nature centers. Talk to you child about things they observe each day, listen to their questions, and look up answers together that you might not know. Answer their questions and tell them interesting facts about things. If you don’t know the answers, look it up together. Find some fun projects such as a big bowl full of bubble soap, or a plastic bin filled with sand and water. The love to feel the dry and wet sand. You can even add some toys such as rubber ducks or plastic dinosaurs to make it even more fun. Also, have some science exploring tools handy for backyard expeditions. Try going on a bug hunt to see them up close with a magnifying glass. Go bird watching together with binoculars!
5. Writing: Children are generally expected to write their names before they enter Kindergarten. With practice, they will be able to do that. Let them experiment; the key is to guide them. Show them how you write their name. Try encouraging them to trace their name. You can also write the letters out with small dotted lines and have them connect the dots. Over time, they will begin doing it themselves. Children like making cards or writing letters. Put out some folded paper and writing supplies such as crayons, markers, and rubber stamps, envelopes and let them be creative. Do you have any old stationary sets? Kids love these for writing cards and letters.
6. Art: The fun is unlimited! There are so many fun projects to do. Kids love to use scissors, markers, rubber stamps, paint, paintbrushes, dough, glue, yarn, glitter, sequins, buttons, etc! They love to feel goopy paper mache, slippery fingerpaints and sticky craft dough. You have access to an infinite number of FREE preschool art projects on the internet! Many of the projects are ideas and secret recipes that have been passed around by preschool teachers for many years! There are also many books that you can buy from teacher or art and craft stores.
7. Music: Research has shown that both art and music are very important for brain development and learning, and are just as important as the other school subjects for a well-round education. Try playing soft music in the background at different times during the day and try different styles too. Have a music time or circle time where you can sing and dance together. There are many children’s music CD’s to choose from or you can just make your own music! Try putting together a bin of easy instruments, such as; a kazoo, harmonica, maracas, bells, recorders, triangles, tambourines, small drums, etc. Many parent/teacher and school supply stores carry a full line of these simple instruments and they are usually higher quality instruments than what you would find in a regular toy store.
8. Physical Education: It is important that your child exercise each day. If you don’t have your own play structure or sidewalks, try going regularly to your local parks. Bring the bike, scooter, and skates along. Check out your local parks and recreation department as well. They offer a wide variety of activities as well, including swimming lessons. If you are inside on rainy days, music and dance are always a hit. You could also purchase a big exercise ball or use one of the many game console exercise programs.
A Few Extra Tips:
- Instead of buying cartons of craft dough, fingerpaints or goopy stuff, look online for tried and true recipes to make your own.
- A trip to the grocery store, bank or even walking your dog can be the greatest opportunities for learning!
- Many stores carry workbooks for preschoolers in all the school subjects and can be used as supplements. They are good practice for Kindergarten.
- This probably goes without saying, but please make sure any supplies you buy for your child are age appropriate and safe.