Homeschooling preschool is an amazing experience. The preschool years are some of the most fascinating. I spent 12 years of my 20-year early childhood career with preschool children and I loved working with this age group. Preschoolers are natural investigators and they don’t need much coercion to learn.
These suggestions will help you confidently set up a homeschool preschool program that you will be proud of and one that your children will love!Here are loads of suggestions on how to set up a homeschool preschool program! Click To Tweet
CREATE AN ATMOSPHERE
Children are excited about learning when there’s an environment that inspires learning. Here are some of my favourite ways to create a learning atmosphere:
- try to set up a related dramatic play space; check out this post for some dramatic play space ideas
- have a basket full of books about your theme / topic
- set up an interactive display for children to explore (i.e. rocks with magnifying glasses)
- make cozy spaces to read, cuddle, and investigate
When I worked in a lab school, we often referred to this kind of set-up as a learning provocation. You can read about learning provocations, here.
The most common question I’m asked about homeschooling is, “What does your schedule look like?”
A homeschool schedule needs to be built to accommodate your family’s specific needs. With preschoolers, I would encourage you to have a plan, but avoid putting those plans into blocks of time. Adequate learning can not be crammed into 15-minute increments. A child should be able to spend as much time as they would like exploring through their senses and through play.
When planning your week, try writing down a few ideas per day. For instance, a focus on flowers may look like this at the beginning of the week:
- place books about flowers in the book basket
- set up a “flower shop” for dramatic play
- place an arrangement of flowers on the kitchen table
- read: Planting a Rainbow
- write flower vocabulary words on the whiteboard
USE BEAUTIFUL TEACHING TOOLS
Children learn to appreciate the lovely when you surround them with beautiful things. I recommend high-quality teaching tools. Not only do they look amazing, but they often last for a very long time.
Here are some of my favourite teaching tools:
- wood blocks
- beautiful assorted fabrics and play silks
- items from nature (rocks, sticks, leaves, flowers, etc.)
- “real” tools (magnifying glasses, a microscope, gardening tools, etc.)
- rattan, willow, and wood baskets
- alphabet cards with “real” photos on them
- beautiful, high-quality children’s books
- beeswax crayons
- watercolour paints
- clipboards (attach a pencil to each with a string)
USE INSPIRING PLACES
Some of the best learning occurs when children encounter inspiring places. Here are some locations that can help your preschooler learn about the world:
- nature (whether it’s a nearby ravine or park)
- your own backyard
- your community (the grocery store, post office, library, etc.)
- a local farm
- art gallery
- architecturally interesting buildings such as cathedrals, parliament buildings, historical landmarks, etc.
FIND CURRICULUM IDEAS
In her book, Teaching from Rest, Sarah Mackenzie states, “Curriculum isn’t something we buy, but rather something we teach.”
Seek out curriculum ideas but don’t let it enslave you or your children. The best learning comes from following a child’s interest until there’s nothing else to investigate, or they lose interest/get into something else.
I have a whole 10-month curriculum plan that I made for my youngest daughter. We sometimes didn’t do every single thing, because she ended up loving a particular interest. So, I would adapt and see how I could extend that interest further for her.
Use curriculum as inspiration… not as a binding learning plan. If you need ideas or inspiration, my FREE 10-month curriculum plan is found here.
ENJOY THE PROCESS
Take time to observe your children exploring and learning. At times, they will need your direction or guidance, and at other times they will need ample time to play on their own.
Enjoy this process.
Follow their rhythm.
Encourage them in their explorations.
Homeschooling preschool will be a beautiful time for you and your child. Simply provide some tools and direction, and see where their curiosity takes you!
Do you have a preschool child? What did your homeschool preschool program look like? Feel free to share how you’ve set the stage for your child’s learning.
PSST – Check out this Deluxe Preschool Alphabet / Word Card Set for your preschooler. There’s an amazing benefit to sharing beautiful things with your child.