If you are interested in homeschooling your children, perhaps the question has crossed your mind regarding whether your children will be old enough to start. After all, does the typical age limit of five or six matter if you’re homeschooling? Do grades and levels need to be official when your kids are so young?
Generally, the answer is no; it’s truly not a big deal whether your kids start homeschooling before they reach the standard school-age of five or six. In the end, what actually matters is whether they demonstrate signs of school readiness. Are they able to understand? Do they show an interest in learning and reading? However, in certain cases, grades and levels matter, such as if you live in a state that requires progress reports and notices of intent to homeschool.
Learning Begins Before Kids Reach “School Age”
Children start learning before they are even old enough to begin a homeschool curriculum. The Preschool years are so exciting! Have you practiced the ABCs with them? Read books at bedtime? Helped them tie their shoes? They are already learning, and in a way, “homeschooling”! Is there a line where early learning and homeschooling begins? Not really. In our society, we have all been told that there is a certain age and specific time for everything, but homeschooling is more than an educational choice; it’s a lifestyle. As parents, you’ll know when your children are ready to begin a more structured homeschool program or curriculum by looking for signs of reading readiness they exhibit.
Homeschooling in the early years is wonderful because young children learn so much from everyday activities. These homeschool days often involve lots of playing, building, reading, learning numbers, letters, researching together, taking walks, going on hikes, building forts, writing notes to loved ones, and more.
Your young child already has an innate desire to learn. Homeschooling is merely the action of encouraging that excitement for learning within a creative and supportive environment. When your child is ready to begin their more structured homeschooling curriculum, you won’t just be starting to homeschool them — you’ll be continuing!
A reader brought an interesting point to light. The Bible actually mentions this idea of early learning. In fact, 2 Timothy 2:15-17 speaks of how Timothy knew the scriptures from infancy! That’s definitely an encouragement to be diligent to expose our children to learning at an early age. However, we can’t assume that across the board all children will be ready to read at infancy. We can take responsibility for encouraging our children, giving them plenty of exposure, and being diligent and consistent to show them a love of learning!
10 Signs of Homeschooling Readiness
As your child’s advocate, you are already likely paying close attention to their possible signs of school readiness. Perhaps you have already seen them more interested in books, independently having fun with crafts, and maybe even asking about school. These are all milestones that could indicate school readiness. Per our own experience and research, here are 10 more signs you could look for in your child as you determine whether they are ready to begin a homeschooling curriculum.
- Are they pretending to read?
- Can they make independent decisions & follow-through?
- Are they pretending to write?
- Can they follow 2-3 instructions consecutively?
- Do they demonstrate listening comprehension?
- Do they show enthusiasm or involvement during storytime?
- Can they concentrate on a task?
- Do they understand the concept of directional reading?
- For example, holding a book upright, turning pages correctly, reading left to right, and so on.
- Do they recognize & express their feelings/needs?
- Do they show an interest in words & letters?
- Specifically, demonstrating print awareness: an understanding that letters make individual sounds, and stringing those letters together to sound out words.
- How do they handle moving on to new activities?
Listen in to one of our podcast classics – Why and How to Teach Your Preschooler at Home!