Today, we are talking about how to do preschool at home. I share my favorite items and essentials for homeschooling preschooling…and they might not be exactly what you think they are! I absolutely love homeschooling preschoolers–life is our preschool, and preschool is life. I miss those sweet times with my little ones, but I’m grateful for all the memories we made! I hope you make some great memories with your kids!!
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Amazing Mess Podcast Episode 3
10 Essentials for Preschool at Home
Today, we’re going to talk about homeschooling preschool. I’ve come up with 10 essentials for preschool at home. Now, these are not necessarily products (some of them are, I guess), but these are the things I think help make preschool at home go much more smoothly. So with no further ado, let’s start with number one.
1) A Sense of Humor
The very first thing that I think you need is a sense of humor, because what more can I say? If you have children, you already know you need a sense of humor; they make messes, they say strange things and they see the world differently. You can spend your time upset and angry or you can choose to see the good and humorous in your life at this point in time. This is especially important when you homeschool your kids and you’re with them 24-7.
2) A Schedule
Number two is a schedule. I am not a super tight, overly-scheduled kind of person, but I do find our household runs much more smoothly with a basic schedule. So I would venture to say that most children do best with the schedule of some sort. I’m sure there’s some research that backs me up! I’m not saying you need a rigid and minute by minute schedule, but predictability does provide that security and stability that your preschooler needs.
All right, moving on to number three…books. Buy Books, borrow books, get books in your house and around your child. Read your books out loud. Put baskets of books around the house, put shelves of books everywhere and make them easily accessible and inviting.
In my opinion, a formal preschool curriculum isn’t necessary (which I know coming from someone who wrote a preschool curriculum sounds a little weird), but if you involve your child in life around the house, you point out colors and shapes and numbers, and you make it all fun and you do a lot of reading together, I really don’t think you need to have to have a formal curriculum. I understand, however that it can be a good guide. If you want something extra, I will mention my curriculum at the end of this podcast.
4) Outdoor Play
All right. Moving on to number four, outdoor play. It seems like our culture has become so digitized and over technologized. (Yeah, I might’ve made up that word!) We have forgotten the great benefits of playing outside. I know that some people live in areas where it might be unsafe for your children to go outside or maybe you don’t have a yard, but hopefully you can find parks nearby, nature areas, zoos and other ways to observe and interact with nature. I love the book, The Last Child in the Woods, and I will put a link to that in the show notes.
Number five, space. Yes, I think that you shouldn’t be a helicopter parent! You need to be sure your children are safe, and there’s definitely time for focused adult-directed learning, but there also needs to be plenty of time for free play. Kids need space to make a mess. Sometimes they need space to explore. They even need space to be bored. It’s okay. You don’t have to fill up every waking moment with projects or classes or activities. In fact, I don’t really mind hearing my girls say they’re bored, because I can usually find lots of things for them to do! Really, though, it gives me the opportunity to give them some guidance and teach them to make decisions about the wisest use of their time.
6) Intentional TV and Electronics Time
Number six, limited TV and electronics time. I was just thinking about this. If my girls watch one hour of TV each day or if they’re on a device for one hour each day from the time they’re two to 76, they will have spent three years of their life watching TV or on a device. That horrifies me. But I’m guessing that one hour per day is probably a very small amount considering all of the media that we utilize. Now, I’m not against TV and I’m not against media use, but I’m just thinking out loud and wondering if there are better uses of our time. Do we really need our preschoolers to be on video games or devices that much every day. I don’t think it’s a problem to be on there a little bit, but I do think we should consider limiting that time.
7) Learning Bags
The number seven thing I think you need for preschool at home are learning bags, which basically are busy bags or busy boxes. That’s just what I called them when my kids were little. (I just wanted to call it a learning bag because I didn’t want them just staying busy, I wanted them actually learning something.) I will have a link to a few of the busy bags that we’ve made over the years or the learning bags (whichever you want to call them).
These are really nice to have, especially if you are homeschooling an older child. Your preschooler can pull those out, and utilize them one at a time and have just a little bit of time by themselves working on something on their own while you’re working one on one with your older child.
Number eight–chores. It’s never too early to train your child to help around the house. It is so much easier to set a good foundation now while they’re preschoolers. So go ahead and start, make chore time a regular and routine part of your day. Again, I’ll include a few show notes about some of the chores and things that we did when the girls were smaller.
Number nine, that’s kind of a big one–and that is supplies. I have tried to simplify my life and gotten rid of a lot of extra stuff, but I really still do have a lot of school things. Here are just a few things I think are great to keep around for preschoolers:
- glue sticks
- old magazines
- craft sticks
- tape paint
- different kinds like watercolor finger paint
- washable paint bubbles
- sidewalk chalk
- a dry erase marker board or other drawing board
- board games
And finally, the very last thing that I think you need to homeschool preschool is confidence. I get lots of questions, lots of concerns that people feel they’re not going to be able to teach their child. I just want to tell you that you absolutely can! You are quite able to teach your child. God made you the parent of your child and you don’t need any special program or preschool experience (what I mean is that your child doesn’t need a special preschool experience) to excel. If you know how to read and you have a love for learning, you can find all of the resources that you need.
In closing, those are my top 10 things, but if you still feel like you need a little bit of structure, I do have a hands on curriculum called God’s Little Explorers.
Shameless plug here!
You can visit GodsLittleExplorers.com and find out more about the program. It’s just a download. It’s pretty inexpensive. We have a great community–a Facebook group–and they share their ideas and pictures. It is such an encouraging place to be. If you’re interested, check that out.
Thank you so much for joining me on this journey. I hope you have a great day!