I love teaching – especially teaching little ones. I spent a decade teaching but left my school classroom behind to be a stay-at-home mom. There is nothing more exciting for me that getting to teach my most important students – my own children! I am firm believer in the importance of laying a solid foundation in the early years. This is the reason we started using a simple homeschool preschool schedule.
You see, I’m a former preschool and Kindergarten teacher turned stay-at-home Mom to Nathan (6), Emma (4), Lily (2) and Caleb (5 months). I started homeschooling preschool with our oldest and have continued it with our daughters.
Some people call it homeschool preschool. Some people call this tot school. Some call it simply being a mom. Whatever you call it, this is what we’re doing right now.
I know homeschooling means different things to different people. To us, it simply means embracing all the teachable moments and encouraging our children’s natural curiosity.
As a former early childhood teacher married to a junior high teacher, my husband and I realize the importance of these early years. It is one of the reasons I am staying home with our children. We want to be intentional about what is being taught and learned in these early years. So much is being learned even when we don’t realize it. Our children are learning as they play and color and pretend and interact and explore. I read a great ebook a couple of years ago called “Homeschooling Your Preschooler” and it helped me define my goals.
In an attempt to be transparent and help others who are wondering how to create a simple homeschool preschool schedule, I thought I would share what we are doing and some resources we are doing. I don’t have all the answers and we will be tweaking things as we go along. I also just finished compiling all the lessons I use, and there is more about that at the bottom of this post. For now, let me answer some homeschool questions.
What does our Homeschool Preschool look like?
It is flexible from day to day. We don’t follow a time table but rather a routine.
It occurs throughout the day – at snack time, as we walk on our morning walks, as we’re driving in the car, when we are playing together, and of course, when we are reading.
It is involves a lot of reading. A LOT!
We don’t do many worksheets but focus on hands on learning activities.
It is busy. My life has changed since I first started homeschooling my oldest. Nathan now attends our local Lutheran school for 1st grade, and Emma is in Pre-Kindergarten during the mornings at the same Lutheran school. That leaves me with an active 2 year old at home and a 6 month old baby. I homeschooled the older two for preschool, and now it is time to focus on the next one – Lily.
What is Homeschool Preschool?
When I first started thinking about homeschooling, I realized 2 years old is quite young. I’m not a fan of 2 year old preschool during a structured preschool day, but at home? It’s pivotal! Children are curious! I want to embrace that and encourage their love of learning.
That is why we started to homeschool in preschool. I am intentionally calling it homeschool preschool because I believe it’s important. That said, I believe anyone can homeschool preschool! At the most basic level, homeschool preschool is simply looking for teachable moments and teaching!
Where do I start with Homeschool Preschool?
To develop our schedule, I started by thinking about what Lily (my 2 year old) likes to do. She loves to read! She can easily listen to stories for an hour or more a day. She also likes to help me and play in the kitchen. She has a good memory and likes to be independent. What are your child’s strengths?
Next, I made a list of what I wanted Lily to learn this year. My list included learning letters and sounds, recognizing colors and shapes, memorizing nursery rhymes, counting past 20, sorting and patterning, recognizing her name, learning more songs, and memorizing Scripture (also Hymns, Liturgy from Church, Lord’s Prayer). What do you want your preschooler to learn?
Our Simple Homeschool Preschool Schedule:
Honestly? Our simple homeschool preschool schedule takes all of 10 to 15 minutes a day, not including the countless books we read together.
We spend some time reading and at some point through out the day, tackle another activity from my master list of activities. That’s it.
Former teacher that I am (married to another teacher), I made myself some very simple lesson plans. I decided to do a letter a week with a theme for the week. We might jump around in alphabetical order but that’s okay. By the end of the year, we’ll have tackled all 26 letters of the alphabet. This is what I use.
My main goal with the weekly theme is to check out 5 to 10 books from the library about that specific theme. For example, last week, we read lots of back to school books as teacher dad headed back to school. This week, we’re starting with the letter A for Apples.
Then, for daily activities, I have a master list of activities that we can do. We’re doing lots of puzzles, cutting practicing and gluing work since fine motor work is important at this stage. We’re sorting shapes, naming colors, making patterns, singing songs in the car, and all sorts of other simple learning activities as we go about our day.
Pick a letter. Choose a theme your child will enjoy. Find books in your house that relate to this theme. Check out books from the library that match the theme. Add in an alphabet book, nursery rhyme book and history book, if desired. Here are all the book lists I use.
Read several books. Read, read and read some more! This is the most important gift you can give your child! Here is a book list of 50 of the best alphabet books, if you are looking for some new books to read.
Choose one or two simple activities to accomplish. Be realistic about your time and the prep. Some sample homeschool activities include fine motor skills such as cutting, gluing and threading beads. You could do a math activity of counting, patterning, sorting or sequencing. You can view some of the daily activities we’ll be using on my Homeschool Pinterest board. Pinterest is a great place for ideas! For even more ideas, check out my ABC curriculum here.
Here’s the important thing to remember. Most of these activities can take place within your typical day. As you are on a walk, count the houses that you pass. When you are building with Legos, make a pattern. Try a new food at snack time. Look for shapes at the grocery store.
What’s the best way to homeschool my preschooler?
There is no right or wrong way to homeschool your preschooler. We are all different moms to different kids. Remember that and take it to heart.
If your child loses interest in an activity, move on. If your child loves cutting, let him cut as long as he wants to sit there. Not including reading, you probably only need to invest 10 to 15 minutes a day. Maybe less, maybe more, depending on your child.
There is a wealth of information available online to help you but there is one resource that I think tops the rest. Keep reading!
How do I learn more about homeschooling my preschooler?
I realize not every one is a former preschool and Kindergarten teacher like I am. That’s okay! I believe every parent can homeschool their preschooler. You can’t mess this up! Do what you and your child love. Tackle one thing at a time.
I recently compiled all the ABC lessons I used in my preschool classroom and with my own children into one, detailed digital ebook for other moms to use. It has book lists, themed activities, snack ideas, journal prompts and art ideas. It is everything you need to hit the ground running on your preschool journey.
You can learn more about this ABC Preschool curriculum here.
Homeschooling your preschooler doesn’t require expensive supplies or detailed schedules.
You can purchase the Ready to Go ABC Preschool Curriculum for only $10 here. It’s a 85 page ebook (pdf) that you can download instantly after purchasing. There is a lot of content in this curriculum, but I deliberately priced it low so every mom – even those on a tight budget – can afford it. It’s a great investment to start off your homeschool preschool journey!
If you are interested in homeschooling your preschooler, I hope seeing our simple homeschool schedule helped show you that it doesn’t have to be complicated to work. You can do this, Mom! Have fun with your child as you learn together!
Do you homeschool your preschooler? If so, I’d love to hear some of your best tips and what your schedule looks like in the comments below!