If you’ve ever been interested in homeschooling your preschooler then I’m here to tell you that yes, you can do it! The idea of homeschooling can be daunting. It’s hard to know where to start. What to teach, how to teach, and wondering if you can do it successfully can all make getting started overwhelming. That’s why I’m creating this How to Homeschool Preschool series. I’ll be covering the most frequently asked (and stressed over) topics for new preschool homeschooling families. In this first post we’ll be covering the 9 most important skills to teach.
This post contains affiliate links which means if you click the link and decide to make a purchase I may earn a commission at no extra cost to you. I only recommend products and services I love. Thank you for your support.
How to Homeschool Preschool
We are almost through our first year of homeschooling preschool for our four year old. During that time we’ve had some really great experiences and some not so great. Bean has learned so much in such a short time and I have learned through the process as well. I’m writing this to share what my experiences have taught me thus far. I want to stress though that homechooling looks different for every family. You may find that some topics are more important than others to you and that is okay. Remember, your homeschool journey is all about what is best for your family.
1. Life Skills
Life skills are some of the most essential skills that you can teach your preschooler. These include things like brushing their teeth, dressing themselves, personal hygiene and using the toilet. When you homeschool preschool your child is also able to take part in many of your day to day activities as well. What may seem like just chores or errands actually make great opportunities for your preschooler to learn about the world around them.
Our most frequent errands include the grocery store, the bank, and the gas station. A stop at any of these usually leads to conversations and answering questions. At the gas station we discuss how vehicles use gas. We talk about food groups, counting fruits and vegetables, bigger or smaller, and the jobs people have at the grocery store. We talk about what money is and how it’s used at the bank. Just by talking about your day to day errands your preschooler is learning all about the community and how the world works.
Chores at home are also a great learning experience. Part of our school day involves doing our chores together. We learn matching and sorting while doing laundry. Bean loves to help sweep, mop, and vacuum. She is learning how and why these chores are done. I’m also helping to instill a sense of pride in taking care of something we share with others.
Good character qualities I want to teach my children are kindness, respect, generosity, being thankful, responsibility, good manners, and having courage. It can seem really difficult to teach such big ideas to children, but you do it everyday already. Even before they were ready for preschool they were watching, learning, and imitating the people around them. Showing your preschooler these qualities by practicing them regularly helps them to first imitate, then learn them as well.
3. Love of Learning
Helping your preschooler develop a love of leaning early on is one of the best ways to set them up for future academic success. How do you you inspire a love of learning? The best way I’ve found is just to make learning fun. Let them play! Encourage curiosity. If you don’t know the answer to your child’s questions, take the time to research it with them. Let them get dirty. Be messy. Let them learn through hands on exploration. When they make discoveries they are learning through play. It allows them to make lifelong connections between the two that serve as the foundation of education later on in life.
4. Love of Books
Reading is such an important part of preschool. Read alouds help to expand vocabulary, expose children to a large array of concepts, and sets the stage for pre-reading. Books also help to foster imagination. Every week we choose books from our local library. I also order specific books used for our school units through thriftbooks and shipping is free for every purchase of $10 and up.
Encouraging a love of books and reading can only benefit your preschooler. Not only are they learning and acquiring language but they are also tracking pages and sentences from left to right and visually learning to recognize words and sounds. Not to mention, it is just plain fun to spend time together reading a great story.
My preschooler thrives when we have a routine in place. A routine gives a sense of direction for each day and the ability to know what to expect at certain times. Having a morning routine, mealtime routine, and bed time routine lessens stress for parents and children. The same can be said for having a routine for your homeschool. When it comes to figuring out what your routine should look like, don’t fret! For preschool it works just as well to work your learning activities around your everyday activities.
When it comes to how to homeschool preschool just remember that routines also don’t have to be set in stone. Flexibility is essential. Sometimes the unexpected pops up and you have to work your school time around other commitments and that’s okay! The main point is to have a general routine. This way your preschooler learns what to expect and begins to understand that day to day life proceeds with a rhythm.
6. Social Skills
When you first approach how to homeschool preschool, a big consideration will likely be socialization. There is this stigma that homeschooled children are not as well socialized as children who attend traditional school. This is a myth. There are a lot of ways your preschooler can gain those much needed social skills.
Social skills are super important for your child to learn and the best way to do that is by playing with their peers. Finding play dates with friends, joining parenting groups, finding or starting a co op, or organized homeschool meetups are great ways to network for you and for your preschooler to make new friends.
Those social skills teach children so many valuable life lessons. They also teach children to learn patience, taking turns, as well as social cues and body language. Best of all, social skills help to grow a child’s self confidence.
There are several skills your preschooler will need to learn before tackling any kind of formal reading lessons. Preschool is the time for your child to learn pre-reading skills that will lead them to reading in the future.
Pre-reading skills include:
- understanding that print on pages, labels, signs, and so on represent words.
- learning the names and sounds of the letters of the alphabet
- recognizing the sounds in words
- understanding the meaning of the words they hear
Pre-writing skills essentially boil down to fine motor skills for your preschooler. The ability to grasp a pencil, hold it correctly, and eventually write comes from hand strength and hand eye coordination. In order to encourage these skills use activities that include crayons, paint brushes, tongs, tweezers, or utilizing a pincer grip. While they may just seem like play they are preparing your preschooler for writing.
9. Math/Number Sense
Math and number sense skills can be anything that deals with numbers. Math is something that we use in everyday life and preschoolers can learn through those experiences. They don’t need strenuous math practice. They can learn by cooking with you and using measuring cups and spoons. You can talk about the date, the time, and the days of the week. Ordering things by size, creating patterns, finding shapes in everyday objects can all strengthen number sense and math skills.
The idea really is just to introduce them to these concepts. Identifying numbers, correlating a number with an amount, and noticing that math is used for lots of day to day things are the main skills to focus on when teaching your preschooler math.
So there you have it. When it comes to figuring out how to homeschool preschool it doesn’t have to be difficult. All it has to be is fun.
What skills are most important to you for educating your preschooler? Leave a comment and let me know.