Mom-to-Mom Support/Preschool: The Perfect Time to Try out Homeschooling

Preschool: The Perfect Time to Try out Homeschooling

Preschooler helps mother with cooking in the kitchen

Do you have a preschooler whom you are thinking of homeschooling, perhaps this year or next? The preschool years are the perfect time to try out homeschooling, to forever sweep away doubts, before making a firm commitment to homeschool. You will be surprised at how much fun the journey can be and at how quickly your child can learn from you with the one-on-one attention that isn’t possible in a classroom setting. 

School readiness

Whether you are completely new to the idea of homeschooling or just looking for ways to prepare your preschooler for formal instruction, the following activities will help with “school readiness.”

Simple counting games

Help your little one count out silverware and set the table. Point out that there are, for example, five forks to go at five places by five chairs, counting each one in turn. As you break eggs into a bowl or measure cups of flour or sugar, have your child count along with you.

Sounding out words

As you prepare meals, point out the initial hard-consonant sounds that begin words on cans and boxes. Talk about the sounds the letters make, for example, “b” for beans, emphasizing the “b” sound. Use fabric, clay, sandpaper, or dried beans to make the letter “b” and have your child trace the letter, feeling the texture beneath his finger. Or help your child trace the letter “b” in flour or cornmeal in a baking pan. These activities allow the child to experience “b” with his senses of sight, hearing, and touch. The child may do all these activities at the table or counter while you are engaged in the kitchen.

Shapes and colors

Purchase enough clear vinyl in the fabric department to cover your table. Under the vinyl, place a variety of construction-paper circles, triangles, squares, rectangles, and the “letter of the week” in various colors. Talk about the colors, letters, and shapes at mealtimes or while working at the table.

Teaching sequencing

For four- to five-year-olds: teach sequencing. This skill will aid the development of both math and reading concepts. For example, cut several construction paper squares in red and circles in blue. Help the child place in a line: two squares, then one circle, then two squares, then one circle. Ask the child if he knows which shape comes next. When the child has “caught on” to one pattern, change the pattern and begin again.

Independent play

Give your child a lot of time for unstructured independent play. When children learn, they need time to absorb and digest information. Children need downtime and playtime that isn’t strictly or “formally” educational. Children also learn when they play games, sing songs, listen to a read-aloud, make mud pies, cook with Mommy or Daddy and, yes, even when climbing trees.

Reading instruction

Not all preschoolers are ready for formal reading instruction, but their desire to “do school” can be satisfied by I Can Find Letter Sounds. This “ready for learning” pre-writing workbook gives children a head start on letter shape and sound recognition and also helps preschoolers learn to follow directions. Active alphabet games such as “Skip to My ABCs” and “‘Simon Says’ ABC Path” (included in I Can Find Letter Sounds) are also appropriate for preschoolers. I Can Find Numbers and Shapes is a similar “living-learning” workbook which familiarizes preschoolers with numbers and shapes.

Final thoughts

In all, a total of half an hour to forty-five minutes per day, about four days a week, is sufficient “schooling” at this age. This will help your little one get ready for kindergarten, or if you are homeschooling, it will help set up a routine to his days for the more structured type of schooling he will have in the coming year.

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