This vlog might be a little different to what you had thought when you saw “How to homeschool preschool”. Why? You wonder. Because over the years, as I have been in classrooms, and now at home, and have seen the changes that are happening, I really do not feel that our children MUST HAVE preschool in order to set them up for academic success. I do not feel that children need to be given academic material at the ages of 3 and 4.
Might this sound a little controversial? Probably. Am I worried? Not really. If you have been around me for any length of time, you know that I will say you need to do what works for you. And if that means preschool for your children, then you should do that. But do they NEED it? And if we are keeping our children at home, do we have to have a structured preschool curriculum for homeschooling?
HOW TO HOMESCHOOL PRESCHOOL
There are many ways in which preschool can happen in the home. And it doesn’t have to look anything like a school situation. In fact, it really shouldn’t. Don’t feel that your children are missing out on circle time, or structured crafts, etc. like their peers.
This should be the bulk of the day! I saw on a post that you should “Schedule breaks for play time” for preschool at home. Oh, no. You should be allowing free play for much of the day. This is where the bulk of learning will come from. Your child will use their imagination, develop fine and gross motor skills, use problem solving skills, and more.
This is another key element of learning. Read together. Here your child will learn how language works, how to use books, and will be learning the basics of reading.
Do household tasks together
Cooking and cleaning are great teaching tools. Young children like to help and tasks like cooking and cleaning help with fine motor control, following instructions, and learning life skills.
Have toys that encourage imagination
It is important to have toys that encourage imagination. Lego or Duplo, other blocks, dolls, playdough, art supplies, etc. These will be invaluable with free play. And you don’t need to spend a lot of money on toys. Boxes are wonderful. So are empty water bottles. Have a big bucket of sand or grain and use measuring cups, etc.
Follow their lead
If your child is showing interest in something specific, spend time with them on it. By following their lead you are grabbing hold and building on something that excites them. We remember what we are interested in.
Ditch daily worksheets
There is no need to do daily worksheets in pre-K. There are many activities that can be done that will help with fine motor control – like arts and crafts – that will facilitate “learning”. Unless your child is begging you for worksheets, there is no need to ever do any.
Use music, song and games
Music is a wonderful way to teach different concepts. Honestly, this is how most children learn the alphabet! We sing it! Games are another great way to facilitate learning. And this is not just board games or card games. You can play games while out at the store (who can find 3 squares first? Who can find something that starts with “a”? etc.)
Get out of the house
Go on “field trips” – go to the zoo, the library, playgrounds, parks, grocery stores, pet stores. Go and see things other than what is at home.
Have painting and craft supplies that you can use when the inspiration strikes. And don’t just feel that you have to paint on paper or card. Use boxes, the driveway, trees…whatever you can use as a “canvas”. Don’t just do structured crafts. These can be a great starting point, but just copying an idea doesn’t mean creativity. How can your child make it their own? Have a variety of items that spark wondrous ideas.
BUT WHAT IF I WANT A CURRICULUM?
I know that sometimes you just want a curriculum. If you do, then I would encourage you to go with one that is very hands on. The Peaceful Press has a great preschool one that incorporates a lot of Montessori style activities. I would encourage you to limit online curriculum. That can come later. Right now we are looking at the skills they need, the basics of emergent reading and development of fine and gross motor skills. You are not going to get that online.
Preschool is a hot button subject but it doesn’t have to be. There are more preschools who are switching to more play based learning. I understand that. But then there is the pressure that preschools are facing to have children “school ready” for kindergarten, and they are ending up pushing children to be doing things that they are not quite developmentally ready for. That is the societal push to be doing more and sooner.