YMB #117 Homeschooling Preschool by Making a Full Life: A Conversation with Mystie Winckler

Every year there are new moms dipping toes into the waters of homeschooling by starting with a preschooler. Every year these same moms ask their more veteran homeschool mom friends for advice and come away disappointed by the response they get. In this episode Mystie Winckler and I have a message for these new moms that start with “We will not roll our eyes at you!” and continues with practical encouragement and a fond look back at what we did in our early days (good and bad). We also have some words for the veteran homeschoolers — how can we encourage these new moms while we help them begin to understand that education might be different (and better) than they every imagined. Join us!

Links and resources from today’s show:

Mystie: We should be opening up the world of language and stories and, you know, nature and just having fun with it. We’re modeling enjoying a full life with our kids, and that is the base that we want our education to have. And we can start laying that foundation and living that way.

Pam: This is Your Morning Basket where we help you bring truth, goodness, and beauty to your homeschool day. Hi everyone. And welcome to episode 117 of the Your Morning Basket podcast. I’m Pam Barnhill, your host, and I am so happy that you are joining me here today. Well, we are kicking off a brand new season of the podcast by talking about some of our youngest homeschoolers, preschoolers. And actually, we’re talking to the moms of preschoolers, especially the moms who are just now starting their homeschool journey. Now, if you don’t have preschoolers or you’re a more veteran mom and you want to listen along, we think that is absolutely wonderful, but we are really honing in on some of the thoughts and feelings and needs of those new preschool homeschool moms today. And we have a very special message for you. I’m joined by my good friend, Mystie Winckler, and we’re going to be talking about not just the nuts and bolts of some of the things that you can do in preschool. And we’re certainly not going to tell you not to do anything, but we’re going to be talking about what it feels like, what it feels like to be that mom who is going out on the limb, doing preschool for the very first time in your homeschool. We’re also going to be talking about how other homeschool moms can offer support. So if you are one of those veterans, we would love for you to listen as well, all kinds of great tips and ideas for everyone today.

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We should be opening up the world of language and stories and, you know, nature and just having fun with it. We're modeling, enjoying a full life with our kids, and that is the base that we want our education to have. And we can start laying that foundation and living that way.
This is Your Morning Basket, where we help you bring truth, goodness, and beauty to your homeschool day.
Hi everyone. And welcome to episode 117 of the Your Morning Basket podcast. I'm Pam Barnhill, your host, and I am so happy that you are joining me here today. Well, we are kicking off a brand new season of the podcast by talking about some of our youngest homeschoolers, preschoolers. And actually we're talking to the moms of preschoolers, especially the moms who are just now starting their homeschool journey. Now, if you don't have preschoolers or you're a more veteran mom and you want to listen along, we think that is absolutely wonderful, but we are really honing in on some of the thoughts and feelings and needs of those new preschool homeschool moms today. And we have a very special message for you.
I'm joined by my good friend, Mystie Winckler, and we're going to be talking about not just the nuts and bolts of some of the things that you can do in preschool. And we're certainly not going to tell you not to do anything, but we're going to be talking about what it feels like, what it feels like to be that mom who is going out on the limb, doing preschool for the very first time in your homeschool. We're also going to be talking about how other homeschool moms can offer support. So if you are one of those veterans, we would love for you to listen as well, all kinds of great tips and ideas for everyone today.
So before we get on with that, I do want to let you know that we have a special preschool pack of fun activities that you can do in kind of a preschool Morning Time situation with your 4, 5, 6 year old. And you can find that by coming to Pambarnhill.com/activity, and we'll have those fun activities that go along with the nursery rhyme. Mary had a little lamb, including art drawn by my one time preschooler now, senior in high school. So we have that for you there. Pambarnhill.com/activity. And now on with the podcast.
Mystie Winckler is a second generation homeschool, mom of five, who shares her wisdom for managing a full life at home cheerfully on her blog and podcasts Simply Convivial. You can also hear her contributing to the discussion about classical homeschooling over at the Schole Sisters podcast. Her newest book is the Convivial Homeschool: Gospel Encouragement for Keeping your Sanity While Living and Learning Alongside Your Kids. And it's available right now.
Mystie. Welcome back to the podcast. Thank you so much for having me again. I love, love, love to have you on the podcast cause it's like, we're just all friends chatting. Well, what we're going to be talking to Mystie about today was all sparked, actually by a couple of different things. So a couple of different things happened to kind of bring this conversation about. And the first of them was I wrote an email that I sent out to, you know, everybody who signed up for my email list. And one of the things I talked about in there was taking preschool, homeschool moms, seriously, you know, this idea that we have some moms who are just starting to homeschool and they're, they have preschoolers and they really need to be taken seriously because I could remember being that mom back in the day, you know. I went to my first homeschool group meeting when my oldest child was four. And some people may say, well, why do you need to do that? Like you're not even homeschooling yet. Why would you even need to do that? I would highly recommend it to anybody who has a child. Who's four years old. Let's go find those people because you need to start finding your people. You need like your kids to find their people as well. And four years old is not too early to do that.
So somebody responded back to me, thanking me for that email. Well, about the same time that that was happened, Mystie actually released a blog post and we're going to link it in the show notes. And it's called dear mom who wants to give her five-year-old a classical education and we're not going to be focusing exclusively on classical education today. But this line of the blog posts really stuck out to me. You said in there, “I want the excited to homeschool mom whose kids are all under six to know, I will not roll my eyes at you. I will take you seriously.”
It was like, oh, that's why I love Mystie so much. Why that line? Why did you write that particular line?
Well, two reasons. And one is that I remember being that homeschool mom. Yeah. My oldest is probably three and four at the time where I was checking out every book on education and homeschooling that the library had and trying to talk to older homeschool moms and just learn all I could before I got started, even though I'm a second-generation homeschooler, like I grew up homeschooled and I saw all my younger siblings homeschooled, Still I was in my young twenties and really wanted to do it really well. Yeah. Yeah. And then now, you know, my youngest is nine, so it's been quite a while since I've had a preschooler. And now I also understand a bit better, maybe the perspective of those older homeschooling moms, where I felt like the only thing that older homeschool moms would tell me as a mother of a four-year-old was don't you don't need to do anything. Don't worry about it. You don't need to do anything. And I totally get that, especially now, but I don't think it's the most helpful piece of advice that we can give the moms just starting out.
Like there's there is wisdom in it, but the way we express it matters. Cause it's, it's not that that homeschool moms, you know, with just preschoolers and toddlers shouldn't do anything like that. Shouldn't be a parent. It's very important what we do as mothers, but what are you doing with your preschoolers and your toddlers? And so you don't need to be putting together a science experiments or mapping out a 12-year scope and sequence as a mother of a four-year-old. Although I did do that.
You’re stepping on my toes now. I totally had one of those.
Oh, I totally did that. And here's the thing, I'm not sorry that I did that either. I think what we, the benefit of putting together that scope and sequence was the research and the thinking that went into finding out what was in there, even just thinking about the finite number of years, that homeschooling is. You know, when you're just starting out 12 years, it seems like a long time. And when you have graduates, suddenly it did not seem like a long time.
Not a long time at all.
And then when you have just all preschoolers and toddlers, it feels like the time moves so slowly.
But putting together that scope and sequence helped me have a reason, I guess, or a way to write down and think through some of the different options that were there and realize that I had to pick and choose, and I couldn't do everything and things that I kind of knew in the abstract, but when you really have to put pen and paper and map things out, it just helps you think through things.
And it was the thinking through things and research that was really beneficial. It was a good use of my time to read all those books and to think things through and trying to double think double check here. But no, I didn't follow that scope and sequence even a little bit.
Actually, I was on another podcast earlier today and I brought up my scope and sequence that I did for, you know, I think my daughter was two or three at the time. And I say, I think I threw it away. Like three months into her kindergarten.
I found mine like five years ago or something. Right around the time when my youngest was like first grade and I looked at it and I laughed and laughed.
You know you're so right though, the practice of doing it, the practice of doing it and thinking about, cause I think just the practice of thinking about what I wanted education to be. That's what went into this scope and sequence. It's like, you're looking and you're like, okay, well, you know, and, and I'm just going to throw names out there at the moment that you're looking at, you're thinking, oh, well Abeka is an option. And, and well, Sonlight's an option. And you know, then, well, Charlotte Mason stuff is an option. So then in order to even consider any of those options, you have to start thinking about what do those things mean and what do they encompass and what does that say about education in my home?
And so putting together that 12 year scope and sequence really was an exercise in thought. And then I threw it away. Actually, I didn’t. It was like a file on the computer. Then I would go back and rework it. And, just because I learned new things and it made me think of new things.
And then I finally reached the point where I realized it's probably better if you kind of take it year by year, as far as like what curriculum you're going to use. But the thoughts that came out of it were actually what ended up going into my homeschool vision, which was a big part of my planning. So yes. Yeah. Even though I never used it, you're right. The practice of making it was a very valuable exercise.
So if you're the kind of mom who has preschoolers at home and you want to sit down and make that scope and sequence Mystie, and I are not going to discourage you from doing it, we're going to warn you. You'll probably never use it.
That's right. It's like make it as a project where you are thinking things through. And you know, as a resource that you might come back to and refine and revise over the years, and if you never end up implementing it at all, that's fine too, because it wasn't a waste of time. It was a thinking exercise that really helps us clarify what we really want in our homeschools. And especially when you come from a different educational background or whatever, it is a helpful exercise to just think, well, what do I want our school to look like? Because it's so easy to fall back on those defaults. And the other thing that I realized is different about the mom, whose kids are all young, you know, preschool and under, and the older homeschool mom that you're maybe asking her advice of what should you do well for her and her younger preschoolers, she doesn't really have to do anything extra because she has older kids. And so they're doing a Morning Time. That's kind of geared toward the older kids and they're doing read-alouds and they are, there's just so much educational life happening that the younger kids pick up a lot as you go along.
And that is not quite the case when your oldest is four or five and it's just babies and toddlers under them that the home atmosphere and lifestyle is different at that stage in the game. And so you might need to be a bit more intentional about pushing the level of read-aloud older than seems appropriate for that five-year-old or four-year-old.
And by that we don't mean like reading aloud for nine or 10 or something like that, but kind of graduating a little bit from the board books and starting into the little more robust picture books and things of that nature.
Right, because you think, you know, okay, when you have younger kids and your five-year-old is 10, you're going to be reading a lot to the ten-year-old and the preschoolers in the house will be just picking up what they can. Yeah. And so, you know, talking to your oldest, like there may be a little bit older than they are, or, or putting on some audio books or turning on your adult audio book on audio. You know where they were the five-year-old can hear it too. Right. Don't be afraid to do that. Everything doesn't have to be at their total comprehension level, because that is one of the benefits of a homeschool household is that the younger kids are picking up just from the atmosphere of the home, because so much is going on that things don't need to be necessarily targeted too much to a younger sibling homeschoolers. But we do need to be a bit more intentional when the oldest is four or five, because, you know, everything's just nursing and diapers and crazy.
So let's talk about this for a minute because when your oldest is, you know, five, and I think I had, you know, a three-year-old, they were very close in age and then a one-year-old at that point. And you know, no, I didn't have to do anything, but I kind of wanted to do something and I'm not going to tell you that my house was the cleanest house and maybe I should've spent more time cleaning, but I want it like the kids, you know, I wasn't entertaining them 24-7, goodness knows. They spent so much time playing on the floor and we have pictures of the messes to prove it. But I felt like we needed to do something to fill our day. Like there needed to be something for me to do with them. And so do you think that's the thing?
Oh yeah. And I think that that's one thing we can remember when we research activities or curriculum is just recognizing that it's for us as a mom. And that's okay. If we feel like we could be using our time more intentionally and we would like to, then we can find some things that we would like to do with them. And it's not that if you don't do them, your children are going to you know, they're going to fall behind in their education. That's what the older homeschool mom means. When you say you don't have to do anything. Like whether or not you did math with your four or five year old, by the time they're 10 or 11, it's not going to make a difference really in where they're at in math, but how you cultivate the relationships and open, open doors of interest for your kids, that makes a difference. And having some direction and ideas for ourselves can help us feel more confident as we just want to spend quality time with our kids.
Yeah. Yeah. And you know, it kind of goes back to when we talk about like our Little Explorers program, we talk about like, this is to give you something to do with your kids and you don't have to go find it. Right. Right. It's like, there's no decision fatigue there. It's not creating extra work for you. It's true, good and beautiful stuff. And then you just pull it up and do it. You don't have to go find it, but it's not something that your kid absolutely has to have. You know, it's just something enjoyable for you to do together. So as you're evaluating, so if you have a mom and you're like, okay, this, you know, like let's evaluate and choose something.
How do you use a curriculum in such a way that your, the master of it and it doesn't master you because that's what you need to do with preschool curriculum. And that's something to do forever in your school.
Right. Right. Well, I think it's a great opportunity to practice those skills that we do need as we get into older grades. And that is being in charge of the curriculum. And so practicing with preschool and kindergarten, recognizing that you don't have to do everything on the list and you should not feel bad about that. Do what fits your schedule, your preferences, your lifestyle, and an experiment with adjusting things so that they fit. And don't get boxed in to doing exactly what someone else has lined out for you to do, because that's not a magical set of requirements that's going to accomplish anything. What will accomplish education in our households is talking about ideas, exploring reality, talking about life, telling stories, memorizing great language. And I would say great language rather than facts, because those language patterns are really important.
Oh, let me stop you for a second. You said, memorize, great language. And now we're going to have like a ton of four year old moms saying, okay, Pam send some Shakespeare, is that what you're talking about?
Well, you could say, well, if you are memorizing some Shakespeare mottoes, or maybe even a couple of speeches, or, you know, really I'm thinking more like Bible verses or short poems, like even so a four or five-year-old poem in our household was “Weather the weather.” I don't know it? “Whether the weather be hot or whether the weather be cold weather, the weather be…” oh, Nope. I can't do it off the top of my head anymore. It's been too long, but the end is, “We’ll, weather, the weather, whatever the weather, whether we like it or not.” That's a really tricky one.
Okay. So what about nursery rhymes? Can we do nursery?
Oh yes. That's, that's exactly what we should be doing. Are those fun playing with language things, rather than worrying about like doing math problems or learning colors, we should be opening up the world of language and stories and nature and just having fun with it. We're modeling, enjoying a full life with our kids. And that is the base that we want our education to have. And we can start laying that foundation and living that way with our oldest when they're four or five and we can start small and it doesn't have to be perfect and we don't have to follow someone else's plan for it. We can just start experimenting and enjoying the learning with our four and five-year-old without stress.
Yeah. Yeah. I liked that. I liked that a lot. So how long should we be doing this in a day? I have a feeling i know what the answer is. I'm going to ask it anyway.
Oh, if we're talking about like focused learning time with a four or five-year-old, then my personal threshold was like 15 minutes, but before you're talking about just living in an interested way in the world, then it should be most of the day. Right. You know, a fun thing that just happened to be our situation. When my older two boys were little, is that my husband put in an underground sprinkler system in our backyard, which actually meant that for most of the spring and summer, the backyard was entirely dirt. So they would just go outside in the churned up, the grass was all cut up and taken out and it was just a backyard of dirt. And they would play out there for two or three hours and then I'd pick them up and pop them in the tub and then they'd play in the tub.
And that was the best preschool or kindergarten time, you know, that's, they were playing together, working together, getting dirty, experimenting without me, I was not involved in their play at all. I supplied them with dirt and some shovels and buckets and they just had at it. And who knows how much physics they learned?
That’s true. Well, you know, I, I think about the episode I did with Hayley Beck and where she talked about like an organic Morning Time woven through your day, but really that's a lot of, kind of what preschool is when you're doing it in your home is, you know, you're going to get up in the morning and you're going to listen to something while, you know, you're eating breakfast, whether that be a book that's on their level or your level or it's music or whatever the case may be. And then you're going to sit down and nurse the baby, and maybe you read aloud while you're doing that. And then maybe then you do sit down at the table for a few minutes, but then you're going to make lunch and they help make lunch.
And then you clean up the table and then they go play in the dirt pit for three hours or whatever. But, you know, I think so often in our heads, when we think about preschool at home, we think, okay, we're going to sit down for an hour or God forbid two hours. And like, do, spend this long stretch of time doing things, but there's so much learning that you can really weave in and out of the entire day.
Yes. You know, we didn't really spend that much time on phonics or learning the alphabet intentionally until they were like closer to six.
But I did have letter magnets on the fridge. And so it wasn't like we sat down and had a lesson, but when they played with them, I would also talk to them and be like, oh, what letter is that? That's an a, or what color is that? So I never intentionally like sat down and did a unit study or a lesson on colors or shapes or letters. It just happened organically as we lived life. And, you know, there were some intentional toys, you know, like alphabet magnets that facilitated those conversations, but they're gonna remember it better when it comes just in tiny bits and pieces when they're interested, rather than, when it's on a schedule, especially in those younger years.
Yeah. It's kind of trying to like feed kids who aren't hungry. Yeah. And they just, you know, sure. It's time to eat, but if they're not hungry, they're, they're really not going to want to eat. And I think about the fact that, you know, it's like, how often do I eat now when I'm not hungry? Just simply because it's time would the food better serve me if I waited until I was hungry to eat anything.
No, we're not going to get into that right now, Pam. Good analogy.
I mean, just think about it for a while. And, and really, I think there's something to it.
Okay. So let's, let's talk about outside pressure because one of the things that happens sometimes is, you know, you have this family, this very brave family that has decided they're going to start this homeschooling journey, right? They're going to really kind of buck the system and do something different than what everybody else is doing. Their entire playgroup packs up and goes off to K3 for a few days a week. And they've lost their friends and the in-laws are sitting there going, what are you doing at home with this child? Are they going to learn anything? Are they going to know how to sit still? Are they going to know how to make friends? How do you function under that pressure? What are some things that you can say or do?
Yeah, I think that's really difficult. And I know it's been a huge blessing to be a second-generation homeschooler because that means that my parents and my in-laws, they were the ones that faced that situation. Yeah.
And then I don't have to now. And so partly I think we can be brave for our kids and recognize that we're giving them that life experience of a different kind of learning and it's going to grow generationally and the grandparents will see it. It might take some time. I know my two sets of grandparents came to see that homeschooling might be okay at different points. And for one of them, it wasn't until I went to college, and said, okay, that was okay then.
But I think if we ourselves recognize those times where the kids are in the dirt, the conversations we have about the alphabet magnets, when we count those as our children learning and us creating a home lifestyle and atmosphere of learning, and we give ourselves that credit, then we're going to be able to answer them better rather than feel like we have to be doing something comparable or modeled on the system that we've decided to opt-out of because that's a little bit backwards.
Yeah. And I think this is such an important point. And one of the things I'd love to tell moms and for them to realize is when you think about, you know, little kids coming home from preschool, they bring home paper, they bring home stuff, they bring the things that they've done. And they, they do that. One of the reasons that they do that is because the preschool, you know, a lot of times preschool is not free. It's paid for, right? So the preschool wants you to know what your child is doing and the way that they communicate that is by sending stuff home.
And it's also the way that the child can show that they're doing something to the teacher. When you have one teacher with multiple children, you can't just conversationally. It's not as easy to sit and conversationally, see how that child is doing. And so they have to produce something that, you know, education is a lot about production at that point. Whereas when you're homeschooling education can be a lot about discussion and conversation because you're working largely one-on-one with that child, you're doing it in such a way where, you know, what they know they don't have to produce papers or anything like that.
Right. And so it can be more about the conversation. It can also be more about the process, you know, so you don't have to make the cute little gingerbread guy. You can actually do the fun art projects where you get really dirty. And it's all about like doing the process of the thing and not necessarily worrying about what the outcome looks like.
Just letting them have free access to whether it's dirt or climbing tree is the, or that kind of encounter direct encounter with nature and reality
Art supplies like art…
Or art supplies and letting them put something together without getting involved and directing. It is actually much more valuable for them to learn about how things actually work and how their bodies were, you know, get that gross motor skills and fine motor skills. Humans have been fine for thousands of years without handwriting lessons and directed preschool and kindergarten activities. You know, really being cotton balls on a paper, things that they say, oh, this helps their skills. Well, humans have been able to develop these skills, just kind of by living life without a preschool curriculum for a long time. So I think we could probably do that at home to probably figure it out.
Okay. So let's talk about the mama, who else, like, she's excited to do this, but maybe she's also unsure whether or not she can. What bit of advice would you give her? Like, you know, I've got these, I've got this preschool, or I've probably also got some other babies and I just don't feel like I have a lot of time in my day. Am I going, you know, am I going to ruin my kid? Are they going to get behind?
Yeah, it's really such a hard balance. I think as a, as a mom, as a young mom, and then as an older mom too, balancing both realities, the reality that a lot does depend on us. Like, we are taking on this big responsibility and there's a sense in which it's good for us to recognize that so that we can really think about what we're doing and make some intentional decisions and undertake it prayerfully because there is a sense in which we're not adequate and it's okay to recognize that, but it actually shouldn't stop us from taking on that responsibility because it is our responsibility as the parents. And God does equip us in our weaknesses, in our failings to still produce good fruit in our own lives and in our children's lives. And we will learn and grow as much and maybe sometimes more than our kids.
Yeah. Sometimes I'm wondering, like who's getting the homeschooling here. Well, and that's the thing is, is when, when you realize that you're, you're never going to be adequate, which is like such a harsh way to put it, but it's really true then that, that in some ways, take some of the pressure off, you know, all I can do is be faithful. All I can do is show up and do what he asked me to do.
And he's going to have to take care of the rest so well. And if we're looking at the older homeschool, moms are definitely, you know, the Instagram pictures of people we don't even know on the internet. And we often look at those nice pictures or we see some results in little bits and pieces of life from other people and assume that they are competent and I am not.
So maybe they can homeschool, but I can't. And I would encourage any young homeschool mom to just actually reach out to older homeschool moms and just ask them for stories. Like, just ask that, don't ask them for advice, because they're going to be really uncomfortable telling you what to do, because they've been doing it long enough that they actually also realize that, you know, I don't know. I can't really, I'm not confident to give good advice, even though you're looking at them saying, wow, if I could just be like that, it'd be amazing. And they're looking like, no, you don't actually know. It's all just messy. And so, you know, just to get together and ask them, you know, maybe what she's used or what she's learned, but just kind of try to draw out stories and, and, and you will hear that it is not about starting from a place of having it all together. It's just about walking in daily, faithful obedience and taking responsibility and growing along and learning alongside our kids too
Yeah. I love that. I love that. And the older homeschool mom, because that's what you and I are now missing. We don't always have it together. We still ask people for advice. Yes, I've done. So a couple of times myself this week, so yeah.
Okay. Well, since this is Your Morning Basket, let's bring this conversation back around to Morning Time. And let's talk about Morning Time with your preschooler. You've already mentioned the fact that when you have older kids, that preschooler is they're getting a lot from Morning Time. Once they get past the toddler stage and they actually can learn to fit and be part of the family without disrupting the entire Morning Time, which does take a little bit of time and a little bit of training, then they really do get a lot out of it. But what about Morning Time when your oldest is, you know, four or five years old and you have a couple of other little kids, do you do it?
I did it. So, yeah, my oldest was five. When I felt like we could officially start really doing homeschool. And for us, that looked like Morning Time. It really was, you know, both of us were reading Cindy Rollin's blog. And I just remember her saying it was the most important part of her homeschool after decades of homeschooling. So I said, well, that's what we'll do. And it was 15 minutes and 15 minutes was about as much time as my five and three-year-old could handle.
And we could probably find a 15-minute chunk of time when a baby wasn't crying. So 15 minutes was doable and let's see, we sang Holy, holy, holy, and the doxology one at the beginning and one at the end. And we read a book from a Bible storybook, and I had that. I taught them the first five questions from a children's catechism, you know, the kind of thing like who made you. And the answer is God, the answers that they gave were one or two-word things and we prayed together. And that was, that was school.
Yeah. Yeah. And that was all you need. Now I'm going to say, so a couple things, first of all, Cindy Rollins writes in Mere Motherhood about how she started her Morning Time. And of course, she didn't call it that. And she didn't even know that she was going to be doing it for 27 years, but she started it when her oldest was four. And so do check out that book, but, you know, my oldest was seven when we started. And so, but it's still, I wish I had had it, you know, I really wish I had had it because I think it would have taken some of the pressure off of me as a young homeschool mom. You know, I felt the pressure to kind of like, where am I going to fit, I know I want to do all these things. Where am I going to fit them in my day? And I was trying to like spread them out and piece them out into all of these little places and they weren't getting done. And so I think I would have been more consistent doing some of the beautiful things I wanted to do if I had had that idea of Morning Time to put them into, you know, from the very beginning.
And I will say of course, reading aloud, you know, whether that's picture books, nursery, growing books are all kinds of options for reading out loud. And we did that, but not always in that Morning Time, chunk of time. And partly that was because I really wanted reading to just kind of be happening sprinkled throughout the day. And I wanted to have a chunk of time that was short. And I didn't feel like I should be drawing it out indefinitely, like when or when have you done enough to count and be done.
So I had a very short list for that kind of singing Bible time. You know, family Bible time is actually what kind of, what it boiled down to. And then reading might have happened before, or it definitely happened after
or a bedtime or a bedtime and all the above all day, we're eating lunch, listening to audiobooks in the van going to Costco. Yeah.
And when I was feeling tired and worn out, because I was pregnant on the couch and they were kindergarten, preschool and toddlers, I turn on, you know, Winnie the Pooh on audio, Little House on the Prairie, on audio and give them puzzles or stacking games or whatever. And actually that was even my oldest was seven. And at that counted as school a lot of days for a certain chunk of time.
I see when you start talking to these older wiser moms to get them to tell their stories, the truth starts coming out. Yeah. I love it. I love it.
And that seven-year-old is graduated. Just fine.
What are you, what do you tell though? So you have a mom, and she is, she's so excited to get started on this homeschool journey. And we're so happy you're here. We're so happy. You're here. We're so happy. You're excited to homeschool. And she feels like, okay, I'm going to like, do some of this. I'm going to do it organically. And I'm not going to spend hours a day preschooling my child, but I'm still excited. And I feel like it's not enough. What can mom do?
Read books
What kind of books?
You know, read the homeschooling books that you can get your hands on, or that someone's recommended to you and learn about the different kinds of homeschooling options that are out therein different perspectives. Reading is such a great way to just get a variety of opinions and just to take it all in, you know, harness that interest and just listen, you know, think of it as listening to a conversation and see what resonates with you. And don't feel like I read a book and so I have to follow it, but just like read the homeschooling books to get a sense of what's out there and what the options are, and what different perspectives are.
And I think that that really helps ground you when you do have to begin making curriculum choices later, because there are like, even if you say, well, I know that we want to read a lot of good books. There are so many good books curriculum programs out there. There's still a lot of choices that you have to make, even when you narrow it down.
And so I know that one of the things I remember noticing as I read a lot of homeschooling books in those early years, was that sometimes a lot of times the same good books showed up on everybody's lists. It was like, okay, well, we're definitely gonna read those ones then. And it's not like we're going to miss out on something important when I pick a curriculum.
Right. Even if we were not doing it all, we can't do it all. And we can just pick a curriculum or a book list or not, or just go with, okay, this is the common, I think that part of what gave me the confidence to not go with a packaged Booklist curriculum, besides just the fact that I don't like being told what to do is that I read the book list from all the curriculums just before I needed to make a decision. So there was no pressure and just saw how, how similar they were. And so it's like, okay, you know, it's, it's not rocket science, the books, the good books are out there and we can read some of them. And if we don't have to read all of them and it'll be okay, and then, you know, read the, the kid lit or the classics that you didn't, you know, the Jane Austen, the Charles Dickens,
The Chronicles of Narnia. If you've never, when I started homeschooling, I had never read those, you know?
Yeah. And I think that, especially when your interest is peaked for homeschooling, I think you start noticing just how relevant the ideas, even in those older good books are to education, to just hearing about different times and different situations and different people and ideas and sentences will pop out at you that are relevant to your homeschooling. And those are the kinds of insights that are even more helpful than some kind of practical how-to homeschool book.
Yeah. Yeah. You know what I think we should do. I think we should send people to the Schole Sisters book list. Oh yeah. The one that we made with kind of like the easy and the middle and the harder books, and then the, the fiction works as well. I think that's a great list for moms to start with when it comes to, because there's such a variety of things over there.
Yeah. I just, don't be scared by the Latin name. It's actually an unintimidating list.
We promise. We promise. So, yeah. So we'll link to that in the show notes, but I think that's a great place to start because, you know, I contributed some books to that list, so I know that there's some really approachable books on there and, and it's a wonderful place to start. So yeah, we'll link to that one in the show notes.
Well, Mystie, thank you so much for coming on today and thank you so much for being the kind of, homeschool mentor that is not going to roll their eyes at the moms who are so excited because, you know, we need those moms.
We need those excited moms who are coming along and, carrying the flag forward and being the next generation, to homeschool so that our kids live in a world where homeschooling is still possible. And our grandkids live in a world where homeschooling is still possible. So yes, we'll be passing the torch one day. And it's not that for, oh, wait not, it seems so many years ago. So thank you. I really appreciate it. Tell everybody where they can find you online.
You can find me at simplyconvivial.com and I also have all kinds of videos on YouTube. You can search for Simply Convivial or Mystie Winckler on YouTube and find homeschooling, and mostly homemaking and planning type videos. They're on YouTube.
Yeah. So if, if you are a mom of a bunch of younger kids and you are a little overwhelmed about everything that's going on in your home and you'd feel maybe a little ill-equipped to do this homemaking thing, Mystie's your girl. So do go check her out because she is going to help you with that. Alright. Thanks, Mystie.
Thanks, Pam, talk to you later.
And there you have it. Now I do so hope that you were encouraged by today's episode. And just want you to know you are bravely doing a wonderful thing by homeschooling your kids. And we are going to be here for you every single step of the way. So you can find links to all of the resources that Mystie and I chatted about on today's episode of the podcast at pambarnhill.com/YMB117. Also over there, you can find a link to our Little Explorers preschool program. Now we established in the podcast that any preschool curriculum you buy is for you, the mom, and that's how we've designed Little Explorers. We've designed it to help you have some easy ideas of what to do with your kids. So you don't have to go looking for them yourself.
Does your child need them? No. Are they helpful to you? Absolutely. So we would love for you to come and check that out.
Also on the show notes, you can find a link to leave a rating or review for the podcast on iTunes. We love it when you leave the ratings and reviews because that helps us get the word out to new listeners about the podcast.
So thank you so very much for taking the time to do that. And Hey, thank you so very much for listening to us. If you're new here, we have over a hundred back episodes. We'd love for you to check those out. And if you've been around with us for a long time, we really, really appreciate you listening.
Alright, I'll be back again in a couple of weeks with another great homeschooling interview until then keep seeking truth, goodness, and beauty in your homeschool day.

Key Ideas about Homeschooling Preschool

In the beginning of your homeschool journey, even before it begins, it’s a great idea to sit down and think through what you want your homeschool to look like.

In the preschool years, the curriculum is really for the mom’s benefit. Researching activities and curriculum is a way for mom to find things she wants to do with her children so she can be more intentional, but it’s not necessary.

One of most important things we can do with our preschoolers is model enjoying a full life.

A short Morning Time is a great, casual way to teach preschoolers that doesn’t feel like school for anyone. Include stories and memorizing great poems and fun language and lots of exploration.

Find what you want to hear:

  • [2:48] meet Mystie Winckler and hear her encouragement for the preschool mom who wants to start homeschooling
  • [14:43] using curriculum for the preschooler
  • [25:46] dealing with outside pressure to do more
  • [30:54] encouragement for the mom who isn’t sure she can do it
  • [35:10] using Morning Time with a preschooler
  • [40:22] how mom can prepare for her homeschool journey

Leave a rating or review

Doing so helps me get the word out about the podcast. iTunes bases their search results on positive ratings, so it really is a blessing — and it’s easy!

  1. Click on this link to go to the podcast main page.
  2. Click on Listen on Apple Podcasts under the podcast name.
  3. Once your iTunes has launched and you are on the podcast page, click on Ratings and Review under the podcast name. There you can leave either or both! 

Thanks for your reviews

  • Thank youPinPinPin
    by mrsbeliever from United States

    I take my walks outside two times a day. I enjoy listening to all the knowledge you have on your podcast! I am a mom of 7 and have been homeschooling for 18 years! I’m not a novice but have loved all your advice and input! Thank you for everything you do! I love it!

  • Always a favorite!PinPinPinPinPinPinPinPinPinPinPinPinPinPinPinPinPinPinPinPinPinPinPinPinPinPinPinPinPinPinPinPinPinPinPinPinPinPinPinPinPinPinPinPinPinPinPinPinPinPinPinPinPinPinPinPinPinPinPinPinPinPinPinPinPinPinPinPinPinPinPinPinPinPinPinPinPinPinPinPinPinPinPinPinPinPinPinPinPinPinPinPinPinPinPinPinPinPinPinPinPinPinPinPinPinPinPinPinPinPinPinPinPinPinPinPinPinPinPinPinPinPinPinPinPinPinPinPinPinPinPinPinPinPinPinPinPinPinPinPinPinPinPinPinPin
    by Lizzie O' from United States

    Pam continues to do an amazing job with this podcast. She is a wonderful host, never hurried, asks great questions and really lets her guest share his/her experience fully. The variety of experience & wisdom here is fruit for the homeschooling community at large. I’ve been listening from day one and this podcast continues to be a top favorite. Thank you Pam!

  • Morning time will change your lifePinPinPinPinPinPinPinPinPinPinPinPinPinPinPinPinPinPinPinPinPinPinPinPinPinPinPinPinPinPinPinPinPinPinPinPinPinPinPinPinPinPinPinPinPinPinPinPinPinPinPinPinPinPinPinPinPinPinPinPinPinPinPinPinPinPinPinPinPinPinPinPinPinPinPinPinPinPinPinPinPinPinPinPinPinPinPinPinPinPinPinPinPinPinPinPinPinPinPinPinPinPinPinPinPinPinPinPinPinPinPinPinPinPinPinPinPinPinPinPinPinPinPinPinPinPinPinPinPinPinPinPinPinPinPinPinPinPinPinPinPinPinPinPinPin
    by RachBoz from United States

    I’ve listened to YMB and Pam off and on for years, and she literally changed my life 7 years ago when I was just starting to homeschool. I’m so thankful for her ministry and encouragement to homeschool moms of all ages! I highly recommend doing morning time!

  • Life AffirmingPinPinPinPinPinPinPinPinPinPinPinPinPinPinPinPinPinPinPinPinPinPinPinPinPinPinPinPinPinPinPinPinPinPinPinPinPinPinPinPinPinPinPinPinPinPinPinPinPinPinPinPinPinPinPinPinPinPinPinPinPinPinPinPinPinPinPinPinPinPinPinPinPinPinPinPinPinPinPinPinPinPinPinPinPinPinPinPinPinPinPinPinPinPinPinPinPinPinPinPinPinPinPinPinPinPinPinPinPinPinPinPinPinPinPinPinPinPinPinPinPinPinPinPinPinPinPinPinPinPinPinPinPinPinPinPinPinPinPinPinPinPinPinPinPin
    by Logandinco66 from United States

    This podcast is amazing and has helped me so much as recovering perfectionist homeschooling mama! Pam gives so much great insight into so many aspects of life and focusing on homeschooling.

  • Life giving!PinPinPinPinPinPinPinPinPinPinPinPinPinPinPinPinPinPinPinPinPinPinPinPinPinPinPinPinPinPinPinPinPinPinPinPinPinPinPinPinPinPinPinPinPinPinPinPinPinPinPinPinPinPinPinPinPinPinPinPinPinPinPinPinPinPinPinPinPinPinPinPinPinPinPinPinPinPinPinPinPinPinPinPinPinPinPinPinPinPinPinPinPinPinPinPinPinPinPinPinPinPinPinPinPinPinPinPinPinPinPinPinPinPinPinPinPinPinPinPinPinPinPinPinPinPinPinPinPinPinPinPinPinPinPinPinPinPinPinPinPinPinPinPinPin
    by lapatita5 from United States

    This podcast has been so great. It’s so practical and encouraging without being overly preachy or narrow. It gives ideas in a take-what-fits kind of way. I have used many of the recommended resources and ideas mentioned and been inspired by many others. Even the episodes that I found less relevant to me specifically, often had tidbits that I could use. Pam’s podcasts, books, and resources have been a godsend to me in my beginning years of homeschooling, helping me discover my own way to teach my kids in a way that prioritizes what is most important to us.

  • You've made my school year!PinPinPinPinPinPinPinPin