Preschool is a wonderful age because these young children are just starting to learn school basics and are full of natural curiosity. They want to learn how to do things on their own, which is both exciting and intimidating for parents. After all, it’s oftentimes a lot easier to just take care of things ourselves! But, we step back, and we let them try — because this is their time to learn.
It’s easy to get caught up in lessons and overthinking all the details of preschool at home when looking into how to start homeschooling. However, the great part of preschool is that PLAY is the most important! Your student can still be a child and learn through the wonders of play and games. We all learn best when we are having fun, and that is especially true for preschoolers.
If you take away just one tip from this article about preschool at home, I hope it’s this: let your preschooler play! The learning will come naturally, I promise. To that extent, here’s how to homeschool by incorporating educational elements into their daily routine.
How to Homeschool a Preschooler
Homeschooling a preschooler is one of the best ages because you can focus on fun, without a rigid schedule, lesson plans, or grades. As far as homeschool requirements go, they are usually fairly lenient for preschool, but you should always check with your state laws anyway. When you are researching how to homeschool a preschooler, it can be helpful to take a look at options like easy peasy preschool to walk you through an example of a preschool day. One of our top suggestions when learning how to homeschool is to let go of comparisons! Comparing your child’s learning progress to other children is stress-inducing and lowers the quality of your experience.
Still, preschool is an important part of a child’s educational development! Children benefit from early education in nearly exponential ways. Preschool-aged children need stimuli, encouragement, and structure. We’ve all heard about how kids thrive with routine, and the same can be said for early education. At this age, their minds are natural sponges — they absorb everything! A study has shown the very real differences between the success of adults who attended a preschool program as children versus those who did not. With a preschool curriculum, our goals are to replicate this experience at home.
If you’re reading this article, you’re clearly invested in your child’s education and researching how to homeschool your preschooler. We’ve been there, and even though preschool may not call for structured education, it is still a good idea to get organized and have a plan! Here are a few steps for getting started.
- Step 1: Choose a Homeschool Planner. We personally love our Sanity Saver Planner because it’s much more than just a planner, for example, it has a chore chart and a meal plan, and it has plenty of options for copying pages and adding sections where you need. Use as much or as little as you desire!
- Step 2: Examine Your Options. Do you want to freestyle your preschool or use a curriculum? No need to worry, homeschool curricula still focus on fun and games for preschoolers! The benefit of using a curriculum is that it will eliminate the excess worry of learning gaps and take the load off your shoulders.
- Step 3: Select Your Program. Whether you choose to preschool purely from books, printables, and online learning resources, or you go with a curriculum, now is your chance to make the decision.
- Step 4: Create a Plan. Write down your goals and objectives for this year. What would you like your preschooler to know by the end of the year? Tip: it can help to look ahead in Kindergarten lesson plans to know what to aim for in preschool. Once you know your objectives, outline a very basic plan for the homeschool year, perhaps divided into months and semesters. Don’t worry about the details too much, and certainly don’t stress over pinning down a daily homeschool schedule. Life with preschoolers is fluid — as it should be — and imposing a rigid homeschool schedule will lead to extra stress.
What Should I Teach My Preschooler?
Your young child instinctively wants to know about anything and everything, occasionally perhaps a little more than you’d like! However, this natural inclination to explore and ask questions is the perfect preschool foundation for starting their homeschool journey.
When researching how to start homeschooling your preschooler, it’s important to determine whether your child is ready for school. Here are a few signs of homeschool readiness in your preschooler:
- They know the ABCs.
- They are recognizing letter sounds.
- They understand the concept of sounding out words and stringing together letter sounds.
- They show an interest in reading.
- They pretend to read or write.
- They are engaged during storytime.
Once your “little” is ready to begin their preschool at home journey, you’ll want to make a list of learning ideas for their year.
Consider these ideas when deciding how to preschool at home:
- Focus on play. Play is the most important activity for preschoolers! Play is their schoolwork.
- Begin involving them in daily activities. These little ones can learn so much from being involved in your daily tasks!
- Take time to explain why & how. By involving them, be sure to take time to explain why you do something, and how it is being done. They are soaking it all in!
- Create a routine. This will help begin to structure your preschooler’s days.
- Game school. Just like we said earlier, play, play, play! Game schooling is the perfect way to combine learning with their natural curiosity!
- Explore the outdoors. Walking, hiking, swimming, start nature journaling, catch tadpoles or bugs, collect leaves or acorns, or whatever you’d prefer!
- Provide toys that encourage imagination. Consider books, coloring, blocks, LEGOs, and so on.
- Focus on learning. It makes a difference when you are focused on what they can learn, versus what you can teach!
- Go on field trips. Visit the zoo, an aquarium, a petting zoo, a farm, etc.
- Let them be little. They will make messes. Finger painting, Play-Doh, drawing, glittery crafts, mud…it will be messy. And yet, super fun for them while creating precious memories — and they WILL be learning.
When you are specifically looking for preschool learning objectives, there are a few subject areas to cover. While your focus should remain on keeping homeschool fun and enjoyable, making sure to hit these objective areas will prepare your child for kindergarten. For a preschool student, these objectives should comprise both life skills and academic goals. The specifics for teaching your preschooler completely depends on the student and your family lifestyle, however, it always helps to see examples for getting started.
Here are ideas for what you could focus on in your preschool at home.
- Potty training
- Hand washing (with soap)
- How to write their name
- Verbally recall their parents’ names
- Knows ABCs, verbally and written both lowercase and uppercase
- Tying shoes
- Listen without interruption
- Identifies and writes numbers 1-10
- Wait and take turns
- Follow directions/instructions
- Knows the days of the week/months of the year/seasons
- Can trace shapes and letters
- Recognizes different types of weather (i.e. sunny, cloudy, rainy)
- Knows how to hold a pencil
- Understands basic shapes and primary colors
- Demonstrates an understanding of word tenses: “yesterday,” “today,” “tomorrow”; “go,” “going,” “gone,” etc.
What Does a Preschool Homeschool Schedule Look Like?
It is always helpful to have a routine, but homeschooling parents do not need to worry about a set homeschool schedule for their preschooler. Your homeschool activities will likely look different each day, and that’s a good thing! Preschooling is all about children learning through their natural curiosity, which is not going to be the same daily. A planned homeschool schedule is more important for higher grades than the preschool age. As you research how to homeschool your preschool student, we’d recommend you adopt more of a routine rather than a schedule for your child. Children thrive on routines, and we are all happier when we know what to expect!
Here is an example of a preschool routine:
- Morning chores (clean up breakfast, make the bed)
- Personal Hygiene (brush teeth, comb hair, get dressed)
- Together Time (read aloud and snuggle)
- Go for a Walk or Indoor Exercise
- Two short learning lessons (numbers, phonics)
- Learning activity (science experiment, history project)
- Nap if needed
- Art or Music Fun
- Free Play
- Help with Dinner
What Resources Do I Need to Preschool?
Now that you have an idea of what preschool at home looks like, we want to share several resources for preparing to homeschool your preschooler. In this list, you’ll find several helpful articles, tips, tricks, activities, and even a science experiment or two. Remember, the most important part of preschool is letting your children learn at their own pace while keeping the experience fun and pressure-free.
Additionally, when trying to fulfill homeschool requirements with preschooling, it can be helpful to keep a log of your daily activities and worksheets. You’ll never know when a portfolio will come in handy and especially if you live in a state with strict homeschooling laws, it’s better to have more records on hand than less!
This list has several resources for starting preschool at home. You may choose to use all of these or none at all! Either way, they are here to give you a starting point with how to homeschool and help show the types of homeschool resources available for preschoolers.
- Preschool printables.
- Feed the shark alphabet game
- Printable learning folder.
- How to know if your preschooler is ready to read.
- Preschool ocean-themed activities
- 101 preschool activities and worksheets.
- Practice drawing with symmetry!
- Fine motor skills activities for preschoolers
Other Helpful Preschool Homeschooling Links