My oldest daughter attended a preschool away from home one year for three afternoons per week. I loved her teacher, but when we moved, I knew we could easily save a ton of money by doing preschool at home (there are many other advantages, too — but that’s probably another post)!
As part of the iHomeschoolNetwork 10 in 10 series, I’m going to share my must-haves for preschool homeschool. I think I was supposed to share physical items I use, but when I started writing, these are what came out!
10 Essentials for Preschool at Home
1) A sense of humor
What more can I say?!! If you have children, you already know you need a sense of humor! They make messes, say strange things, and definitely 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 if you are with your kids 24-7!
2) A schedule
I’m not a super-tight, overly-scheduled kind of person. BUT, I do find our household runs much more smoothly with a basic schedule. You can see a sample stay-at-home mom schedule from when I had two preschoolers and one homeschooled 1st grader. Hopefully, I’ll get our current schedule posted this week!
I would venture to say most children do best with a schedule of some sort. I’m not saying a rigid, minute-by-minute schedule, but predictability provides security and stability.
Buy books. Borrow books. Get books in your house and around your child.
Read them out loud. Put baskets of books around the house. Put shelves of books everywhere. Make them easily accessible and inviting.
In my opinion, formal preschool curriculums aren’t necessary. Just read and read and read. Point out pictures and letters and numbers as you read. Ask questions. Make connections between reading and real life.
(You can also check out my Seven Tips for Raising a Reader.)
4) Outdoor Play
It seems like our culture has become so digitized and over-technoligized (yes…I might’ve made up that word!!), we’ve forgotten the great benefits of playing outside. I know some of you live in areas where it may be unsafe for your children to go outside or maybe you don’t have a yard, but hopefully there are parks nearby, nature areas, zoos, and other ways to observe and interact with nature.
A great book on this is Last Child in the Woods: Saving Our Children From Nature-Deficit Disorder.
Please don’t be a “helicopter” parent! Yes, you need to be sure your children are safe. Yes, there is definitely time for focused, adult-directed learning, but there also needs to be 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 for them to be bored. You don’t have to fill up every waking moment with projects or classes or activities.
In fact, I don’t mind hearing my girls say they are bored. It gives me the perfect opportunity to give them some guidance and teach them to make decisions about the wisest use of their time.
6) Limited TV and electronics time.
I was thinking about this the other day. If my girls watch one hour of TV each day from the time they are 2 to 76 (I just pulled that number out!), they will have spent three years of their life watching TV. That horrifies me! Even worse: I’m guessing that one hour per day is a very small amount for most families!
I’m not against TV. I’m just thinking out loud and wondering if there are better uses of time. Do we really ever think about how much of our lives we waste watching TV or playing video games or browsing the internet (guilty)!
7) Learning Bags
Especially if you have older children, learning bags can be a sanity-saver with the preschoolers! A Learning Bag is simply a learning activity in a bag (or box or basket). Some call them “busy bags” or “activity bags”. I have quite a few ideas on the site for learning bags you can easily make yourself.
Here are just a few:
- Gumball Sheet
- Yarn Letter Practice
- Apple Tree Number Card
- Scissor Skills
- Cotton Ball Numbers
- Sticker Numbers
- Name on a Notecard
I’ve already written about preschoolers and chores, but 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, so don’t delay! Make chore time a regular and routine part of your day.
- “Helping Hands” Chore Chart
- Sweeping with a preschooler (quick training tip)
- Utensil Sort (unloading the dishwasher)
- Printable chore chart
In my quest to simplify my life, I have gotten rid of so much extra stuff! I do like to keep a closet filled with supplies for the girls though. Here are a few things I keep around:
- Old magazines
- Craft sticks
- Paint (watercolor, fingerpaint, and washable paint)
- Sidewalk chalk
- Dry erase marker board or other drawing board
- Board games
- Creativity box
You are quite able to teach your child. They don’t need a special program or a thousand dollar preschool experience to excel. It always astounds me when people tell me they could never teach their own child. If you know how to read and have a love for learning, you can find all the resources you need.
You can do it!
P.S. If you feel like you still need a little bit of structure, I’ve put together a hands-on curriculum called God’s Little Explorers!!
What are you top 10 Must Haves for homeschooling? You can link up your post over at Many Little Blessings!