Homeschooling for preschoolers should be simple, fun, and engaging. Our main focus is on play, and finding a learning style that engages your child without overwhelming them is crucial.
This is a deeply personal decision. The child’s learning style, age, and interests are all factors to consider, as well as your family values. I think it’s important to not go overboard at such a young age. We only do formal schooling with my four-year-old because she sees her older brother doing it and wants to join. She loves learning and doing little worksheets, but that may not be the case for every child. So please, take this post with a grain of salt.
Morning Time for Preschoolers
Morning time is the first hour or so of our school day, and a good deal of it is family-style learning. We begin with our morning prayer over our school day, then we recite the Lord’s prayer which we have been learning this summer, and then the pledge of allegiance.
Pledge and U.S. History
Following the pledge, we read a page from our book about the history of our flag and discuss what we learned. Then, my older son notes any important dates in his history timeline book. My four-year-old loves to follow along and help find the dates on our timeline, and also to recall the facts and dates we have already learned. This is a great way for her to practice her numbers, and also helps her to solidify facts in her mind by reciting and discussing them many times.
Even just reading a quick page in this book often sparks many other conversations about U.S. history and the presidents we have studied. It always amazes me how much information my four-year-old retains just by being present for my nine-year-old’s lessons.
Bible Lessons for Preschoolers
We are working through a wonderful book called “Our 24 Family Ways” as well as using the “Light the Way” scripture memory set from Treehouse Schoolhouse to discuss our family beliefs and have a structured bible study time. Although some of the conversations can be a bit heavy, I have found that my four-year-old is still able to participate and often recalls information from our studies throughout the day.
Morning Menu for Homeschool Preschool
The morning menu is a huge portion of my preschooler’s morning time. I used this with my older son, and saw wonderful results. I purchased this inexpensive menu holder from Amazon. It holds our morning time work including traceable calendar, date and time, weather chart, seasons, and much more. This morning time packet is also available from Treehouse Schoolhouse. I’ve found that by creating a routine around this every day, my preschooler is gaining a much better understanding of the days of the week, as well as her weekly schedule. She is also honing her handwriting skills and practicing her letters and numbers.
Reading Resources for Preschoolers
I don’t impose a timeline on reading, but my daughter loves being read to and often pretends to be reading to herself. She makes up stories to go along with the pictures in her books, or recites any portions she can recall from books we have read repeatedly. She’s very interested in learning to read, so we have been working on letter sounds. She loves to follow along in our Bob Books and often recognizes the words.
For our formal learning time, because the child loves to feel like she is doing real school, we are using the Kindergarten Prep curriculum from The Good and The Beautiful. This Language Arts course is full of interactive videos, games, and fun activities that teach early learners about numbers, letters, letter sounds, vowel sounds, short words, and much more. All while making connections with God, art, and nature. The lessons are short and simple, and so far we are really loving them!
We also do a few pages from the book “Teach Your Child To Read in 100 Easy Lessons”. I used this book for my son when he was learning too. I really love how the lessons build upon each other. My pre-schooler really loves learning, but when she gives me a significant amount of pushback and starts to become overwhelmed, we just pause or stop for the day. It’s important to me to keep learning fun and engaging for her. So when it becomes stressful we redirect and try something else.
For the most part, our math lessons are all just about recognizing numbers and talking about them as we go about our daily tasks. Counting socks while we fold laundry, baking together, sorting and counting legos. Any opportunity to discuss numbers is an opportunity to learn.
Science and Nature Study
This is another family-style learning subject for us. I just involve my preschooler in whatever lessons I’m doing with my fourth grader.
For science, we also read many interesting books from the Ambleside library. I also like to incorporate the activities that we are doing throughout the year into our science curriculum. For example, we have been studying pond life this month because we like to spend this time of year around the pond fishing and gigging frogs.
In the fall, when we take our annual beach trip, we will focus on the marine science stories, as well as the marine life sections of the Treehouse Schoolhouse Nature Study. We also follow this curriculum throughout the year with our Wild + Free homeschool community, and try to coordinate our events and activities to correlate with our lessons.
My older child takes fiddle lessons weekly through an incredible local program, and my preschooler will too when she is old enough. For now, we sing hymns together, and she enjoys sawing on the fiddle along with her brother. Her grandparents also bought her a harmonica this year, so we’ve all been able to enjoy that treat for the ears!
This is by far a favorite subject for my preschooler. Art takes on many different forms for her throughout the week, and at this point, it is all informal. We sketch in our nature journals together, she writes letters and draws pictures for friends and family, and looks for every opportunity to cut pieces of paper into oblivion to make homemade confetti.
Extracurricular Activities for Preschoolers
Wild + Free
When I first began homeschooling three years ago, I knew that I didn’t want to do it alone. I needed other mamas to connect with. To bounce ideas off of, troubleshoot, and to seek encouragement from when I questioned my decisions for the hundredth time. I, along with a dear friend, set out to cultivate such a community when we created our local Wild + Free group. Over the years we have build deep and special relationships with those mothers and their sweet children. They are our closest friends whom we learn and worship alongside. We hike, create, read, and play together. Lots of play. Our children have the blessing of meeting with their friends on some sort of adventure almost every Friday, and I have to say, it is soul-filling to us mamas as well.
Homeschooling is not easy. But it is deeply fulfilling and worth every hard moment for the relationship you get to build with your child and the deep connection it allows with family and friends.
We aren’t pushing sports at this age, just allowing her to try a little bit of everything if she wants to. So far we have given gymnastics a go. That was fun for a few months, but then became a bit redundant and wasn’t exciting anymore. We are trying indoor soccer now, and she is loving it because big brother plays too and many of her friends are there. She’ll also be a wrestling sibling again this fall, but doesn’t seem to interested in trying it herself, just rolling around on the mats with the other tag-along siblings.
Learning By Living
I think the main idea I hope this post imparts is that learning is a constant state of mind. It doesn’t happen only on the pages of a workbook, or seated at a desk. Learning takes place when you’re having a deep discussion over breakfast, or when you’re baking a loaf of bread. It’s a lifelong process, and if we can make it an enjoyable one, we can create children who seek to learn more about the world around them, even after they finish their “formal education”.