This has been the most frequently asked question I have gotten since March 2020. As Covid ramps up in many areas while still waiting for the under 12-year-olds to be eligible for vaccination, more and more parents are opting to homeschool their preschoolers. Some of you are excited to homeschool, and many of you aren’t. For some of you, this is a necessity but was never part of your plan. Here’s the thing, even if it’s not part of your plan, you can do this. Let me show you how to homeschool preschool.
Before I go further, I must disclose that I am a classroom teacher, and I firmly believe in the benefits of attending preschool but recognize that there are a bazillion reasons why you are making this choice and am happy to help you make the most of this no matter why you have decided this is best for your child.
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How to homeschool preschool
You don’t need a curriculum.
I know there are many preschool curriculums out there, and they look so easy to use. Just follow a lesson each day, and voila, your child will get a great early childhood education. Only they won’t. In early childhood education, we frown upon boxed curriculum because it’s too rigid. Set lessons can’t easily be adjusted for learners, especially if the teachers using that curriculum are new to teaching. It’s not easy to adjust lessons if you haven’t taught the lesson before. Most quality learning in my classroom isn’t from cute printable activities ( though we do enjoy some). It happens with simple interactive games and activities that teach foundational literacy, math, and other skills through play. Boxed curriculums are rarely filled with these simple and absolutely essential activities. Instead of an expensive boxed curriculum, gather resources and create your toolbox with resources created for preschoolers by educators who understand early childhood development and how children learn.
Preschool At -Home Must Have Resources
Everyday Preschool – this book has 170 activities divided into nine learning areas: literacy, math, science, fine motor, and more. Written by a preschool teacher with a Master’s in early childhood education and development ( me) for parents who don’t have a million supplies at home or 4 hours a day to devote to creating a facsimile of a classroom at home. These activities are created with early childhood state standards and children’s varying developmental levels in mind.
Busy Little Hands – Art Play Activities for Preschoolers this beautiful book will help any parent embrace true process art. Step-by-step instructions with clear photographs help any parent become an amazing early childhood art teacher. Written by an early childhood educator with a Master’s in Education, this book is fun and on target for helping your child develop while exploring amazing activities.
Setting The Stage for Rock Star Readers – When my c0-author and I wrote this book for teachers, I imagined teachers in preschool classrooms, daycares, and micro-schools using it, but it’s become a popular book with home educators too. While Raising A Rock-Star Reader, our first book with Scholastic, was written with parents in mind, this one really speaks to those parents who have decided to teach their children at home. This book’s foundational literacy activities complement the dozens in Everyday Preschool and dive a little deeper into the why. If you are eager to create a strong literacy foundation, I am really proud to have my name on this book and would suggest it whether I co-authored it or not.
Make a homeschool routine and stick to it.
Make a simple routine and stick to it. Children thrive with predictability. Maybe you just do preschool a few days a week. Maybe it’s just in the morning. Whatever works for you, just be consistent. If you need help creating a schedule, here is one I suggest.
Each adult-directed activity is short. Playtime should be long and as child-directed as you can swing. While a preschooler may attend preschool outside the home for 4 hours a day, you are not expected to have 4 full hours of homeschool preschool. With one child, instructional time greatly decreases, but learning isn’t. 5-10 minutes per activity is awesome. Sometimes your child will dive in deep and want to keep doing an activity all day… let them! That is one huge benefit of homeschooling. You can throw the plan out the window more easily than a teacher in a classroom could, although we do it when we can!
Homeschool Preschool Lesson Planning
Now use the resources you have gathered to fill in your lesson plan. Download this planning sheet for free here.
I love using themes, and research supports that children learn background knowledge and vocabulary that helps develop important literacy skills when you use themes. A simple way to do this is to gather books about a similar topic and read them for your morning book and bedtime book while leaving a few others in a book basket for your child to enjoy on their own. Add in a few activities over the next few days that support this theme, and that’s it. Or you can also purchase thematic units like the ones I created to supplement preschool themes. Use lessons in these units as needed. They are not meant to be complete curriculums.
What About homeschool supplies?
I wrote Everyday Preschool for parents who weren’t planning on homeschooling their child long-term or didn’t want to or couldn’t afford to invest in a ton of materials. If that’s you, that book really is perfect for you. It’s all you’ll need.
If you want to supplement those simple ideas with more structure, you should find some printable thematic units ( click here for our library of units) and invest in some basic supplies as well.
Here is my top ten list:
- Magnetic letters
- Letter stamps
- Dry erase dice
- Pocket chart
- Letter sound cards
- Printable rhyming blocks
- Unifix cubes
- Lego/ Duplo
- A good color printer
Support for Homeschooling Your Preschooler
You don’t have to do this alone. Join me this week for my series on how to homeschool. I’ll go live on Facebook three days in a row at noon Pacific time to share more about how to homeschool preschool!
Wednesday, August 18th, we will be talking about routines, resources, and materials.
Thursday, August 19th, we will be talking about literacy and math development. So you know the basic order things should be taught in.
Friday, August 20th, we will be talking about book activities and process art.
The videos will be linked here after each broadcast.
For 14 years, I have been supporting parents as they teach their children at home. I started this blog because I was sharing ideas and advice with moms on message boards, and it was easier to write in on a blog them in individual message board posts and emails. Since then, I have jumped back into the classroom, have completed my Master’s in ECE, and speak to teachers all over North America, training them and learning from them as I do. I am never more than an email away if you have questions or need support. I am here to help.