Perhaps your child isn’t ready to start elementary school yet, but you’re already considering your options for her education, and you’re thinking about homeschooling her. Or, maybe you’re a stay-at-home parent who would like to find ways to make your time with your preschool more enriching for him. Either way, creating your own home preschool for your child can be a wonderful thing for your whole family!
In fact, you may already be homeschooling your preschooler, without even knowing it!
Here are a few ways to begin a homeschool preschool experience for your child.
1. Get out in the world! Young children learn so much just from going out, experiencing new things, and interacting with the world. Check out your local library, and the ones in surrounding towns, for special programs such as story times and parties. Visit nature centers and farms. Get memberships to zoos and museums. Try to plan at least a few outings each week.
2. Consider using themes, just like regular preschool teachers do. You can plan themes around things going on in your community. For instance, if the children’s museum near you has a special exhibit on Japan, plan a week where you will learn about Japan. Read books about Japan together, do Japanese crafts, find out about the types of games children in Japan play, get a CD of Japanese music from the library, go out to a Japanese restaurant, and, of course, visit the children’s museum and experience the exhibit about Japan!
3. Consider your child’s interests! If your child has suddenly fallen head over heels in love with everything dinosaur related, use that! Go out with your chld and learn everything you can about dinosaurs. If your child asks you, “How high is the sun?” you can reply, “I don’t know, but lets find out together!” Little children are amazingly curious. Try to let them be in charge of the “curriculum” at least part of the time!
4. Research the Internet! Tons of parents keep blogs or run websites about their experiences teaching their preschoolers at home. No Time For Flashcards is a great blog to start out at, because they feature educational activities for preschoolers each day. Everything Preschool has many of ideas for educational activities, organized by theme. (Many of the activities are meant for classrooms of preschoolers, so you may have to adapt them for your one child, or do them as a family with older siblings and family members!) Enchanted Learning has lots of printable worksheets, books, and crafts, also organized by theme.
5. Get some preschool workbooks. You can often find these at dollar stores or drug stores. Preschoolers definitely learn best when they are doing hands-on activities, but sitting down and doing some workbook activities is also good for them. Look for colorful books that include reward stickers, and try having your child complete one or two pages a day. If your child has older siblings, who are either home schooled or who bring home their own homework, you can ask your preschooler to do her workbook while the older kids are doing their work. This will make her feel just like a “big kid!”
6. Teacher supply stores are great resources. Although they’re geared towards teachers, they are certainly open to the public! You’ll find a vast amount of great learning toys and other educational materials. These things can be expensive, and the stores can become addicting! You might want to work out a budget for how much you want to spend, per month, on new things from the teacher store!
7. Keep your preschooler’s education well-rounded! Each week, try to include some math, reading, science, art, music, physical education, cooking, and computer skills.
8. You know your child better than anyone, so do your best not to compare him to what other kids his age are doing. Don’t work towards creating “the smartest kid in town.” Instead, work towards creating “the best Timmy in the house” or “the best Sarah in the house!”
9. Have fun! This may be the most important rule. When young children have too much pressure put on them, or too much stress on academic skills, they can get overwhelmed and lose their love of learning. So, keep the mood light for both you and your child! Concentrate on having fun and exploring the world together. You’ll both do your best learning at times when you don’t even realize you’re learning!
Homeschooling a preschooler can be a lot of fun for both the child and the parent. Hopefully, with the tips covered here, you and your child will soon be on your way to creating your own home preschool!