So you're thinking about homeschooling your preschooler. Do you have an idea of what you want to teach him or her? What is expected? I am a homeschooling mom who has been homeschooling for many years with my two oldest now graduated from homeschool, my third child attended public high school for two years and graduated there, I presently have one child in pubic high school grade 11 and am homeschooling four children, one is in preschool. Here are some ideas from a mom of eight.
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This article was originally published January 15, 2018. I am bringing this “to the top” at the request of my homeschool readers.
Preschool is so much fun at home with Mom! I have done Preschool with my children and I will tell you what I have done. I start my kids at age three and they do preschool for two years. The key to success is “lower your expectations.” Our state (Wisconsin, USA) presently doesn't require anything until 1st grade! That makes me feel better if I have a sick baby and can't do anything but read and sing to my preschool child.
What should I teach?
I like to incorporate “school” into the whole day at home. If I am baking, I have my child “help.” I will measure flour into a one cup container and explain, “This is one cup. See how this is full? You pour it into the bowl. Good job! Now the cup is empty.” There is math (measuring, and concept of full/empty) and science (mixing ingredients together). We go outside and talk about things in nature and see and care for our animals (cats, dogs, rabbits, chickens, guinea pigs and other indoor cage pets), which is also science. We sing and play with toy or homemade instruments, which is music. We do puzzles and talk about the pieces, we have a United States puzzle when they are four (wooden, but tiny pieces) and that is geography. I like puzzles that educate with shapes, numbers, letters, and puzzles that have words under the pieces of animals or vehicles so they can get a visual of what the word looks like for “bus,” etc.
Comprehensive Curriculum Grade P by American Education Publishing is my favorite Preschool book. If you have a Sam's Club, you can get one there or find one online, just be sure it is not written in and that the seller has good feedback if you get it online.
I love this book! Right in the first few pages it tells you what your child should be doing if they are age 3 or age 4 so you can work on it with your child. They cover motor development, social/emotional development, language development, and cognitive development. One of the things to do in the age 3 motor development category is “is strengthening and gaining greater control over the large muscles used for running, jumping and throwing,” and under age 4, same topic, “your child is gaining ever greater control over his/her large muscles. Your child can now walk a straight line; hop on one foot; jump over objects 5 to 6 inches high; throw, bounce, and catch a ball easily; run; climb; and skip.” So if you don't have a Sam's club, click here and order this book on Amazon, start playing ball with your kid every day until the book gets here and you'll be doing school!
This book also has a checklist for you to check things off throughout the year as your child masters it. Topics are Basic Skills, Reading Readiness, Mathematics Readiness, Fine (Small) Motor Skills, and Gross (Large) Motor Skills. It has very simple pages for your child to work on with large pictures and large lettering for them to trace.
The very back of the book has teaching suggestions with 33 more ideas! One example is: “With your child, look through your pantry or cupboards for food containers that are the same and those that are different. Then set out several pairs of containers, mix them up and have your child match the correct pairs.” You have to get this book! I am surprised they don't charge more money for it. There is a new edition every year so yours may have a different cover.
Please remember that you do not have to do everything in this book or ANYTHING in this book. If you live in a place where preschool is not required, you can do what you want. I almost died of pregnancy-induced heart failure (PPCM). So even though God has healed me and I am healthy today, I realize that I will die at some point and if I die young, my husband is presently not planning to homeschool as he will need to provide for them. I want my children to be competent at every grade level if they are suddenly put in school, yet I also want them to learn at their own pace. This book helps me stress less because sometimes they don't need to be doing as much as I think. Even if we work on the same book for both ages 3 and 4 and do not finish it by Grade K; I feel better about it, if I read those pages of what is expected and my child can do a lot of those things.
I enjoy having my preschool child watch music videos from Musik at Home on SchoolhouseTeachers.com. I usually do this right after lunch so they can get the wiggles out, though sometimes they just sit and watch. It also allows me time to get the table cleared, food put away and a load in the dishwasher. I do use more activities from SchoolhouseTeachers.com that you can read about in my Product Review.
I also have a lot of children's storybooks and a children's Bible that I read to my children. I also read verses straight out of the Bible. My husband or I read to my children every day. No matter what. Even on the busiest day in the world, we at least read the Bible to them.
At this age, I don't expect them to be sitting or still when I read, but I expect them to use an inside voice so they can hear me. I have found that even though it looks like they are playing, they are actually listening. Often they will run over and say, “I want to see that picture! Or “Why did he do that, Mom?” when I thought they weren't even listening.
The other program I start to use at this age is Sing, Spell, Read and Write Level 1 Kit. The whole kit is over $200 and can be found on Amazon here or at rainbowresource.com. Just be sure to get one with the CD and not cassette tapes if you don't have a cassette player. It has songs and games to play and phonics books to help the children learn to read. For me, the kit was very inexpensive because I have so many children to use it. We do have to buy workbooks for each child, but those are usually less than $15 each.
This is not really necessary until grade K when you start teaching phonics skills. I have older kids so my younger ones always want to be included in the games (because there are prizes!) I have found that when they play these games, and do a little of the workbook, that they learned to read more naturally and at a younger age so I wanted to mention it here in case you want to use it.
Here are some photos of the workbook.
You really need the kit to tell you what to do with the workbook though. The teacher book told me what to do and I followed it and amazingly my kids learned to read! Some of my older children love to read and sometimes have two or three books going at a time.
I am creative and love for my children to express themselves in a creative way every day. We love to color, draw, paint, use play doh, and more. If you need instruction or ideas, check out my product review of Artistic Pursuits.
Get Some Exercise
Also, try to get the kids outside every day for fresh air, sunshine and exercise. If the weather is disagreeable, you could have them ride scooters in your garage or dance to a Wiggles DVD.
or exercise to a YouTube video for kids.
Keep in mind this is what I chose to use for homeschooling my children, it doesn't mean you have to. You get to choose what you want to teach. Just have fun and Happy homeschooling!
- Comprehensive Curriculum Grade P by American Education Publishing
- music videos from Musik at Home
- activities from SchoolhouseTeachers.com
- quality storybooks
- a children's Bible that I read to my children
- Sing, Spell, Read and Write Level 1 Kit
- Off We Go workbook
- Wiggles DVD
- YouTube video for kids
- I use this lesson planner to keep myself organized, but I also like this lesson planner that is more expensive.
- Free Fine Motor Skills Checklist
- Fine Motor Skills Subscription