Making The Decision To Homeschool Preschool
Thinking back, some of my very favorite days of homeschooling were the preschool days. The simplicity of reading aloud and playing dress-up are among my fondest homeschool mom memories.
Making the decision to homeschool preschool however, was not as simple. Especially if you have family who questions your decision, it can be daunting to take on the task of educating your little one.
The good news is, these tips and tricks help you get started.
The 5 Must-Haves For Preschool At Home
The very first thing I consider to be a must-have is community.
I started my first homeschooling group when my daughter was four, and we did it for a couple of reasons. One was so that she could meet other homeschoolers and get used to this idea of what homeschooling is. If the only kids she ever played with were people who get on the bus and go to school all day, she’s going to feel a little different than they are. Getting her immersed in the homeschool culture, and meeting other kids who just like her, really made her feel good about homeschooling. It made homeschooling a normal thing.
While it helped my daughter, it also helped me.
We were coming out of a kids playgroup, where we had spent a lot of time playing with other families. Now, those children were heading off to two day a week preschool, three day a week preschool, or half day preschool. I was beginning to get a little lonely because all of our friends were going off somewhere else.
We needed to shift from the preschool play group to the homeschooling group so that I could find my people as well. Some might think it’s kind of silly to join a homeschool co-op when your oldest is only four. It’s not, because you really do need to find your people, as soon as possible, in your homeschool journey.
If you know other families who are homeschooling preschoolers and you can form your own little group, that’s great. Also, don’t be afraid to reach out to any of the more established homeschool communities around you. I’m not talking about ones that you need to pay for. I’m talking about park meetup groups and things like that. This is what can really help get you out there and meeting other homeschoolers.
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2. Books, Books and More Books!
The second thing on my list of must-haves is books. Actually, if I had to choose only one thing from this list, it would be books.
You want books to read to your kids, and I’m not talking about chapter books. I’m talking about picture books, lots and lots and lots of picture books.
Bring them home from the library by the trunk full and read those books to your children. There’s so much that they learn just from hearing you read, including important language skills, learning about the world around them – so many valuable lessons. things. You can never read too much. If you have a choice between any other homeschool activity and reading a book, spend your time reading the book.
You’re going to have some kids who are really into hands-on activities. That’s totally okay. Let them play with cars or play with Legos or play with shaving cream. They can listen to books while they’re engaged in hands-on play. Your child doesn’t need to be sitting right next to you constantly while you’re reading to him or her. They can be playing. They can be doing things with their hands, but always err on the side of reading more to your child.
Self-education is a way to arm yourself against naysayers when you are first getting started. This is especially true if you think you’re going to have family that will question your decision. Learning more about how children learn can help you stay confident in your decision. It also helps when you are confronted in difficult conversations.
These are two of my favorite resources.
Einstein Never Used Flashcards
Einstein Never Used Flashcards was a favorite of mine when my kids were in preschool. There’s so much really good information in this book. We have actually built our Little Explorers Preschool Program on a lot of the philosophy that’s in this particular book. When somebody questions you about your decision to homeschool you’ve got some information here to counter with.
The Read Aloud Family
There’s a whole section in The Read Aloud Family on toddlers and preschoolers, including lists of which books are perfect for reading aloud. It also includes a lot of the research behind why reading aloud is good for really young kids.
Both of these books can help you be really confident in your choice to preschool at home.
4. All The Fun Things
The fourth thing that you need when you’re preschooling at home is actually a lot of things, but it might not be the things that you expect.
Load up your house with all the really fun things. Go get all the art supplies, lay them out and let your kids just create with them. Load up with all the books, get the puzzles, get the toys, get the musical instruments, get the dress up items. The dress up is so important. Get lots of stuffies so that you can play pretend, and add a doll house or a farm.
Pretend play and storytelling games are great precursors for the literary skills that your kids will need as they start to learn to read.
You are going to need storage. You need someplace to put all the stuff you need and have it close at hand.
You don’t necessarily need a school room or prepared preschool place. You’ll notice if you ever go tour a preschool, they’ve really gone out of their way to make their preschool space look a lot like home. Your home is more than adequate for doing preschool with your child, because so much of preschool is just about living and learning together.
You need to have a place to put all your stuff, but that’s really all you need. Eventually this stuff is going to try to take over your home – it kind of has a life of its own and it gets everywhere. Having a place to put it, close the door, and bring a little visual sanity back to yourself can make all the difference for a homeschool mom.
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Resources To Help You Homeschool Preschool
This is the information I wish I had when I started homeschooling preschool over 11 years ago. It’s a helpful bit of what you need, but more importantly what you don’t need to have a fulfilling preschool experience for your kids.
If you would like some more information about preschool, sign up for our FREE Getting Started with Preschool at Home Workshop. It is a complete mini-course in starting preschool at home.
We include a free checklist for you of preschool skills, things that you might want to keep in the back of your mind as you’re teaching your preschooler at home. Also included in the packet are some really fun activity ideas. Grab yours at pambarnhill.com/preschool.
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