How to Start Homeschooling: The Preschool Years
Homeschooling from the preschool years is a wonderful way to gently wade into the waters of homeschool. There is less pressure, there is lots of fun, and absorbing information like little sponges no matter where you are or what is happening is what preschoolers do best. But even as easy as all that sounds, families often find themselves overwhelmed at all the choices out there even for tots and preschoolers. Let’s alleviate some of that stress so you can really enjoy these early years. They go by very fast.
5 Tips for Starting Homeschool Preschool:
- Don’t begin with the “school” mindset. You are not trying to have “school at home”, but rather you are trying to cultivate a life-long love of learning and encourage your student to explore and become aware of all that God has given us. Remember that at this age your child learns best through play, song, and hands-on activities. They don’t need to be seated, still, and doing worksheets to be learning.
- Don’t try to tie your homeschool down to one “method”. Your preschooler is still developing. Learn their learning style(s) as you learn with them. Don’t be afraid to try new things. If it doesn’t work, then it doesn’t work. If it does work, keep doing it! As your child grows and develops and changes, the methods you will need to use change and grow and develop, too. During preschool, gentle learning and charter training are the two main things you need to worry about.
- Don’t stress yourself out over curriculum choices, college entrance requirements, or by listening to nay-sayers. There will always be too many great curriculum choices, so pick what you think will work the best after prayerful consideration then get rid of the bookmarks, catalogs, and Facebook exchange groups. College entrance requirements will be totally different by the time your preschooler gets there so don’t worry about having a 5 year old fluent in 3 languages because they need 7 to get into the program at XYZ school of international business. There’s plenty of time for that later, I promise. Nay-Sayers will try to scramble your resolve with “socialization”, random “horror” stories about weird homeschool kids their cousin’s cousin’s best friend knew, or they will try to fill you with lies about giving up your life, your personal time, your career, etc. You know there are sacrifices, but you get so much more from making those sacrifices to spend your time, love, and energy pouring into your family. Don’t let the negative people plant seeds of doubt. These are your children, you know them best, and you are doing what is best for them.
- Do have fun. Be silly. Make cookies for breakfast and for neighbors. Encourage pretend play. Have pirate and princess days, read lots of wonderful stories together. Cut, glue, glitter (if you’re brave and have a good vacuum!), paint, and craft till your hearts content. Be there in these little moments filled with wonder and experience the joy of teaching your child.
- Do let your child be a child. Preschoolers need free time, and lots of it. Just true, free, imagination-filled time to be a child. Watch them from behind corners and half-closed doors. See what they love to do, how they interact with different materials. Listen to see if songs or poems creep into their pretend play. Make note of their motor skills. Learn by observing how your child relates to the world and information around them. Later on when you transition from home preschool to Kindergarten and early elementary type learning, this information will help guide you to books, curriculum, and methods that will be the best fit for your homeschool.
I’m Lara, a sinner saved by grace, wife and help-meet to my best friend, John, and homeschooling mama to two bouncing (literally) boys, Teddy and Frederick. Hot tea, good conversations and dark chocolate are some of my favorite things. Grab your favorite mug and join us on our adventures at Lara’s Place and a Cup of Grace where we discuss homeschool, family, faith, and Apraxia of Speech. You can also tag along on Facebook, Instagram, and Pinterest.