You’ve confidently decided to do preschool at home, and now that you’re a few weeks or months into it, you realize that homeschooling preschool may not be exactly what you were imagining. That’s ok! Having been there a few times myself, I’m excited to offer some tips to help smooth out those kinks and help you troubleshoot your preschool days.
Teaching preschool at home has its challenges. Before I opened my preschool, which I run out of my home, I participated in and ran a few home preschool co-ops where each participating mother opened her home to a small group of preschool aged children and took the responsibility of teaching for a month or two at a time.
It can be difficult to balance being mom and being teacher. When do you wear which hat or are there different hats to be worn?
I’ve changed my approach through the years, and I’ve learned a few things about how to make things go smoothly. If you’re feeling like the homeschool preschool day with your child could use some revising, then these simple tips will help.
Remember Who You are Teaching
Regardless of your reason for teaching preschool at home, it’s important to remember who you are teaching. Your little one is only three or four years old and may have the tendencies and impulsiveness that are characteristic of all little people.
Also remember those qualities your preschooler has that makes him so special. Teaching preschool at home is an opportunity to cater to those qualities, so don’t overlook them.
Don’t Conform If It’s Not Right For You
Just because you’ve chosen to homeschool preschool, it doesn’t mean that your day needs to look like it would if you were sending your child to a commercial preschool. If circle time and centers don’t work for you and your child, then don’t do them. Do something else.
If your child wants to go to home preschool in his pajamas and a super hero cape with sunglasses, that’s ok too (as long as they are not a distraction).
If your child wants to learn about tornadoes for three months straight, then consider doing just that!
As your child’s teacher you have the freedom to choose what your preschool day looks like, as well as what the content is. The point is, you do not have to conform to what is traditionally done. If something isn’t working, you can change it.
Teaching preschool at home takes much more time than most people realize, so sometimes we overload ourselves and, in turn, overload our children. There is no need to plunge into the deep end. It’s ok to ease yourself and your child into homeschool preschool.
Consider beginning with a few activities in concept areas your child responds best to, and the build from that. Many parents find it easy to begin with thematic books and related crafts, or a single math or alphabet activity.
Once you and your preschooler are in a routine and habit of doing preschool activities, it will be easy to add more to fill what would traditionally be an entire preschool session.
Have a Routine
Having a routine is key to making your preschool day successful. It doesn’t have to be rigid, just predicable. Your child will respond better to learning time if he can come to expect it and recognize it.
I’ve always preferred to have a specific schedule to follow, but many parents who homeschool have an equal amount of success breaking up learning time throughout the day.
Activities just need to be at a predictable time, like after breakfast or nap time, after morning chores, or right before lunch. It doesn’t matter as much what time those things happen; it matters more that they happen routinely.
Don’t Forget That Children Learn by Playing
One of the most valuable things you can offer your child in homeschool preschool is guided play. This does not mean to set your child loose in the playroom while you go pay the bills, but rather to sit down beside him and play, too.
During the preschool years, children learn through play. You can set up invitations to play as part of your preschool day, or you can follow your child’s lead.
The most important thing is to be an active participant in your child’s play. That offers the most valuable opportunities for social learning, as well as oral language development and critical thinking skills because it is in context and authentic.
Don’t skip play.
If you’re feeling like your day teaching preschool at home could use some revising, or improvement, try some of these simple tips and make the appropriate adjustments. It’s never to late to troubleshoot your homeschool preschool.
The Ultimate Preschool Activity Pack
Looking for print and play preschool activities?! Our Ultimate Preschool Activity Pack includes 52 alphabet, fine motor and math games kids love! Check it out HERE.