Many mamas worry they won’t do it the right way when they begin homeschooling their preschooler. They wonder if they can juggle educating their preschooler while they mother other children. Today, I’m going to share an easy preschool homeschool routine so that you can see that you can educate your preschooler.
For most of us, preschool is the first opportunity we get to homeschool. Occasionally, parents bring their kids home at a later time for one reason or another, but for the majority of homeschoolers, preschool is the first step into this great adventure.
I can recall being so nervous and formal when I started educating my oldest. As a former classroom teacher and I wanted to make sure I did everything correctly.
I learned quickly that teaching my daughter in that way stifled her love for learning. Sitting at a table for hours wasn’t the best way for her to learn and grow in her knowledge.
After a few weeks, I started to switch things up. Learning started happening all over the home and I began to mix seat work with learning centers.
Our school day started at 9 am, but it trickled throughout our entire day. We had a rhythm, but we also had flexibility.
What I learned while homeschooling my oldest through preschool, and it was solidified with my later three children, is that kids soak things up. We don’t have to only have them doing pencil and paper work, although I do love including workbooks to prepare them for schooling when they get older.
I hope this overview of homeschooling the preschool years will help you see what an opportunity it is to teach these little minds.
When do I start Preschool learning?
Most people begin preschool when their child is between 3 years and 4 years old. No one knows your child like you do. If you feel like your child is ready to start preschool, then begin some gentle education with him.
Preschool is a great time to cultivate a love for learning with your child. It should be fun and hands-on.
To be sure, I am willing to bet that you’re already doing many “preschool” things without even sitting down to do formal learning with your child.
How do I do school with toddlers and babies while teaching my preschooler?
I remember the years of having a baby in a wrap while I swayed back and forth and taught my older kids. There was even a time when we started the new school year when my kids were 6, 4, 1, and a newborn.
Babies aren’t difficult when it comes to school. They sleep most of the time and are, typically, easily entertained.
Toddlers take a bit more planning to keep them entertained while you teach. Many moons ago, I shared some of our most loved toddler school activities.
It doesn’t take fancy gadgets to keep a toddler entertained. One of my children loved sitting down with colored pencils, a pencil sharpener, and a small trash can. She would spend an hour resharpening the pencils and using her fine motor skills.
The best way to handle doing homeschool with a toddler is to allow him to be a part of school. They learn rather quickly how to “do school” when older siblings are doing it, as well.
If you need something electronic to keep your toddler occupied, we loved the Letter Factory dvd and all of my kids watched it when they were toddlers.
How do I motivate my preschooler to do school?
Keep in mind that preschool is a time for establishing good habits and discipline on a small scale. It’s a time for the child to learn to sit at a school table for short periods of time and focus as the child is able.
Kids this young need lots of moving around and don’t have the ability to focus for prolonged periods of time without some sort of motor skill activity.
One way to motivate your preschooler to do school is to move quickly from one task to the next. Don’t hover on one activity for too long or the child will become frustrated.
When preschool involves lots of hands-on activities, kids tend to be more motivated to learn. They take in so much information from just observing (with their eyes, ears, and hands), so keep preschool fun and exciting and you won’t have trouble keeping your preschooler motivated.
A great way to keep your preschooler motivated is by setting up “centers” for your kiddo. It seems complicated, but it is so simple and a great way to teach your child in a fun way.
When setting up centers, create different activities in different locations of your room or home. The child works at each center for 5-10 minutes, working on different skills, and then moves on to the next center.
If we were workin on the letter A, I would set up centers around the room. At one center, a child might trace the letter A on a tray filled with dry rice for several minutes, working on making the letters correctly.
At another center, the child might take clothespins that have a lowercase letter A on it and pin it next to a line of capital A’s on a piece of paper.
Each activity slowly and gently gets the child familiar with concepts that are important, but in a fun way.
I love using centers, but I also think there is a place for seat work in the preschool day. This time should be kept brief, but it lays the foundation for what’s to come in regards to the school day in later grades.
Learning how to hold and use a pencil is important at this age, so some seat work is necessary. Work on seat work in short spurts and don’t allow the child to become too frustrated. Gently encourage your child and the move on to something different
A great way for preschoolers to learn is by living life and learning through experience.
Maybe you decide to bake cookies with your child or go for a walk. Both teach your preschooler a great deal. Baking is like a science experiment as you talk your child through the process. As you take your child on a walk, notice the colors and shapes you see. Or, count how many butterflies you see on your way.
School is so much more than workbooks and preschool is a perfect time to think outside of the box.
What are the goals for preschool homeschool?
There are several goals for preschool and for us, a love of learning is the highest goal. I want my child to crave more learning and to see that it is exciting. A lot of that starts with me, the mom.
I get to make preschool as fun, or boring, as I want. Sometimes, I wouldn’t feel like making it a delight, but I dug deep and have always been thankful for it.
Let me list a few of our preschool goals:
- Form a love of learning
- Develop basic, classroom discipline
- Learn how to sit and work for short periods of time
- Begin learning the letters of the alphabet
- Begin learning and recalling numbers
- Strengthen Gross and Fine motor skills with hands on activities
- Write Name
- Get familiar with the concept of “opposites”
- Learn colors and shapes
Areas of Focus
- Life Skills- being able to be a productive member of the home
- Reading- read alouds and practice reading with mom
- Numbers- recognize numbers (not to 20, usually) and count to 20
- Colors and Shapes
- Fine motor skills- hold pencil and scissors correctly
- Gross motor skills- jump, climb, roll
Preschool Homeschool Curriculum
When choosing a math program for your homeschool curriculum, be sure to take into consideration the type of learning style you want to foster in your homeschool room. Do you want a more hands on approach? Do you want a traditional approach?
Those are things to consider when choosing a curriculum.
Preschool math can be as simple as completing a worksheet per day. In addition, practice counting as you go through your day and take time to create learning all over.
For example, bring shapes you see in your environment to your child’s attention, such as a clock that is a circle. Or, a television that is a rectangle.
For formal math teaching, we completed one worksheet a day out of the Abeka K4 or K5 Number Skills workbook. You will need to look and see which curriculum- K4 or K5- is the best fit for your child based upon what he already knows.
For Preschool, we also used the Confessions of a Homeschooler preschool program. It takes time to print and laminate everything, but once it’s done you can use it for other kiddos who are going to be homeschooled later.
This is the curriculum we used for our “center time” I mentioned above.
Phonics and Language
It’s also important to keep this area simple and engaging for your little one. Abeka K4 or K5 Letters and Sounds is a great way to introduce letters and the written language to your preschooler.
If you complete one workbook page per day, your child should complete the workbook in one school year.
So much hands on learning can happen with phonics. Here are a few examples:
- Forming capital letters with beans
- Taking magnetic alphabet letters and putting them in order on a cookie sheet. If you child only knows the first 10 letters, have him put those in order on the cookie sheet and slowly add more as your child learns them.
- Practicing letters on a small white board
- Doing alphabet lacing cards
Giving your preschooler lots of opportunities to listen to good literature and to practice reading simple books is key in creating a love for reading.
So much of my time was spent reading to my preschoolers. I remember reading hours to my older two kids. I read to my younger girls, too, but I also had lots of help from the older kiddos.
My kids loved listening to me read. Sometimes, they’d be on my lap fully engaged. Other times, they’d be playing with toys while I read.
The most important thing is that they hear proper reading. Don’t stress if they aren’t sitting perfectly still or are making noise. It will still instill a love for reading in them.
Our favorite Preschool reading books
At Home Preschool Schedule
A preschool rhythm should be similar day-by-day so the child can get used to knowing what’s to come, but it should also be flexible.
I will give you a rough picture of what our preschool day looked like, but know that activities and circumstances changed from time to time.
- School would start at 9 am. We would spend 10 minutes on each activity.
- Letter Work– tracing, lacing cards, coloring letters, cutting out block letters drawn on cardstock
- Art– coloring, pattern block pictures, do-a-dot markers
- Number Work– sorting, shapes, counting practice, pattern work
- Reading– Read alouds with mom
- Fine motor skills– clipping clothes pins on paper, cutting, working with small objects, lacing beads
- Gross motor skills– dancing, jumping, letter hunt around the house
- The rest of the learning took place as we went about our day.
I hope that glimpse into our routine was helpful for you. I created a free printable for you to use (get it below), if you want to schedule you preschool day in a similar fashion.
For each day, jot down what you plan on doing to work on each discipline area. This will give you a flexible plan for your school day.
Get a FREE Preschool Daily Rhythm Printable
I always love a good freebie and I love one that helps me stay organized even more!
Enjoy this free printable as you plan your preschool homeschool routine.