When homeschooling parents are first getting started with preschool, one of the first questions they ask is, “Do I need a curriculum in order to teach my preschooler?” This is everything you need to know about homeschool curriculum for preschool and how to get started in your own homeschool.
Making The Decision To Homeschool Your Preschooler
It can be intimidating to fully commit to the decision to homeschool your preschooler.
Everyone around you is talking about enrolling their child in this program or that school. Your family may be asking questions about when your child will begin school. You’ve been thinking about taking the plunge and you feel a sense that its the right decision for your family, but you worry you might be making the wrong decision.
For many of us, making the decision to homeschool is more difficult than actually homeschooling! The good news is, once you get started, you will see first hand the benefits and the closeness that homeschooling preschool brings.
Do You Need A Curriculum For Preschool Homeschool?
Curriculum is often the very first place we start, once we have committed to homeschooling our preschooler. But do you really need a full curriculum in these early years?
The answer is no, you don’t need a curriculum to homeschool preschool.
This may shock you, but let me explain.
When my daughter was three, we officially began preschool at home. (Looking back, I can see that she was far too young. We certainly could’ve waited a bit longer, but hindsight is always 20/20.) Being a former classroom teacher, my first step was to purchase an expensive, fully laid out curriculum, complete with lesson plans and worksheets.
It felt comfortable for me to begin there, but the reality is, my daughter did not respond well to this formal educational approach. My experience has been that most preschoolers don’t!
More than any one curriculum, book list, set of standards, or reading program, I know now that homeschooling preschool is far more about helping your child learn to explore and engage with the world around them.
How Do You Homeschool A Preschooler?
If you aren’t using a pre-K curriculum, then how do you homeschool your preschooler? The good news is, it’s a lot easier than you think.
Much of what you are already doing with your child will form the basis of your preschool homeschool. For example, you are likely already having conversations with your child about numbers, letters, colors and the calendar. You are probably already going on walks together and talking about the seasons changing, the leaves changing colors or the flowers blooming.
This is the foundation of the preschool years. In a classroom environment, they are learning these same things, but in ways that are less experiential. You have the ability to exceed what a typical preschool is able to provide because you can create a real world understanding of these concepts that goes far beyond a worksheet or classroom activity.
Here are some essential ingredients to consider for your homeschool preschool.
Reading picture books to your preschooler may seem simplistic, but in reality, it is an important part of developing a strong foundation with linguistically correct and sophisticated language patterns.
Picture books create an accessible way for your child to expand their knowledge and use of language. They are also a ton of fun for both the child and the parent. With this in mind, the library can and should be your very best friend in the preschool years. Check out a stack of books every week and use them as the backbone of your homeschool – no curriculum required!
Another seemingly simple but incredibly effective element of preschool learning is nursery rhymes. The benefit of nursery rhymes on preschool development should not be underestimated.
Believe it or not, nursery rhymes are incredibly powerful influencers in preschool development. Phonemic skill development gained from nursery rhymes has even been scientifically shown to significantly improve reading, spelling and other literacy skills. Harper, 2011
Every time you repeat the Itsy-Bitsy Spider or Row-Row-Your Boat you are positively contributing to your child’s maturity in:
- Cognitive Development
- Social Emotional Development
- and even math or history, depending on the rhyme!
Best of all, nursery rhymes are kid-friendly and easily woven into your day.
Learning in and about nature is not only fun for preschoolers, it has a significant impact on child development.
Nature provides countless opportunities for discovery, creativity, problem-solving, and STEM education. Interacting with natural environments allows children to learn by doing and experiment with ideas. In nature, children think, question, and make hypotheses — thereby developing inquisitive minds. Bright Horizons, 2020
Getting outside and exploring the natural world is a wonderful way to enjoy the day with your preschooler and learn in your homeschool.
Play (and lots of it!)
We tend to dismiss play as not being “real learning,” preferring instead to focus on the things we remember from school – learning to read, worksheets, math problems, etc. More and more research however, is pointing to play being one of the most important components of early childhood development and learning.
The National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC) strongly recommends play as an element of preschool learning citing benefits in cognitive skills, language development, physical abilities and even literacy skills. In summary, never underestimate the power of play!
A New Resource To Help You Homeschool Preschool
While you don’t need a curriculum to homeschool preschool, you may feel like you could use some extra support as you begin your homeschooling journey. The good news is, we’ve got you covered!
If you would like some help in choosing poems, great picture books and more fun play ideas for you and your preschooler, we’ve just launched our new Little Explorers program. We provide support and encouragement to mentor you every step of the way in your preschool season. This is a delightful way to add pre-school activities to your day for your littlest one, without having to come up with everything on your own. Little Explorers provides what you need to facilitate a wonderful and engaging preschool experience for you and your child.
Learn more about Little Explorers HERE.
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