I’ve been homeschooling for over 8 years now and each year, I have new homeschooling moms approach me asking for advice on homeschooling a preschooler. Their questions are almost always the same. Today I want to talk to you guys about my opinion on homeschooling a preschool age child and what has worked well for our family. Below you’ll find the most often asked questions and my answers.
When should I start homeschooling?
Personally I recommend starting at birth. Before you freak out that you haven’t taught your 1 year old how to read, think about what you have taught them. You’ve guided your child in learning to walk and talk. You’ve taught them language even if their main word is NO. They’ve learned how to climb, how to love, how to share. You’ve taught them so much already without even thinking about it! Keep up the natural progression of learning!
What curriculum should I purchase for my 3-5 year old?
When my oldest was 3-4 years old, I thought about the same thing. I couldn’t wait to get started and I didn’t want my daughter to be “left behind” and fail her as a homeschooling parent. Surely we needed to prove to others that we could do this.
As my kids have grown older, I have completely changed my thoughts on this topic. I’ve gone the other direction and we have taken more time to enjoy the preschool years. The preschool years are so magical and fun! Homeschooling a preschooler can be, too! With 13 years of school Kindergarten-12th grade ahead of us, enjoy those sweet years of not having to do school. Your child can learn by spending time with you! Go on a nature walk for science. Cook for math. Read for language. The possibilities are endless! Don’t jump in to the book work yet!
If you’re really wanting to do something, pick something simple, such as Easy Peasy Online Homeschool Getting Ready Level 1 or 2. Go to Sam’s, Walmart, or Target and get a simple and fun workbook. Visit the library. Check out this list of 25 free homeschool resources. Save your money for when your children are older and homeschool materials cost more.
But my friend/family member says that THEY have a homeschool curriculum and I don’t want my child left behind….
To each their own. Let’s stop comparing our children to other children and do what is best for our family. I’ve been there, done that and for our family, waiting to have a full day of school has turned out to be a great decision. There is always time to add more later. As I said earlier, you have 13 years of school ahead. Why rush it?
What activities should we do then?
Sing. Dance. Find some fun manipulatives. Check pinterest for ideas on fun games and activities. MeetPenny.com has a great list of preschool homeschool materials that you can find right at the dollar store. Starfall.com has some fun resources and activities as well. Check out all the resources at the library from puppet shows to story time.
There are a bunch of different online programs geared toward preschoolers. Some of our favorites are:
What does YOUR family do?
Typically I do buy a few workbooks from the dollar store or another store to let my preschooler practice school while the big kids do their work. This helps keep the child occupied and happy while I’m working with the others. Other than that, we utilize the library, iPad games, LeapFrog videos, manipulatives, etc and skip the heavy book work. This works well for our family. Lots and lots of reading together and outside adventures as well.
My final advice
Remember you do not have to recreate traditional school unless that is what your child enjoys. Homeschooling a preschooler needs to be fun! There is plenty of time to learn and each child is very very different. If you do too much, you could have homeschool burnout before you’ve even gotten started. Even with my 4, I’ve found that what works for one, may not work for the rest. Be flexible and enjoy the early years. They are gone so fast!
What are your thoughts on homeschooling a preschooler?