It’s never too soon to start homeschooling your children. Since little ones are like wonderful, little sponges, wanting to soak up everything, it makes sense to start early–to start homeschooling your preschooler.
Following, are some tips for homeschooling the little ones in your life:
- Involve your children in your daily activities. Children love helping and they want to help. They want to do “big people” things. So, let your children help you prepare food and run errands. If you work from a home office, if you can, allow them “work” alongside you.
- When having your children help, be patient, as your children will take longer to do small tasks than it would take you to do the same tasks. In a similar vein, be understanding when a task it not done up to your standards or if a mess occurs. Do you really think your children aren’t going to spill a little water when carrying an ice tray to the freezer? The spill will occur—but what a learning opportunity! You can count the specific ice cube spaces; you can look at the tray full of water, then look at it again when it is frozen; you can compare the temperatures of drinks with and without ice cubes, etc. So really, a little water on the kitchen floor is no big deal. In fact, it’s another learning opportunity, as you can teach your children how to clean up small spills.
- While you’re involving your children in your daily activities, talk to them. Explain why and how you are doing things. Answer questions that your children may have. If your children ask why, why, why constantly, when appropriate, turn the question back on them, and answer their why question with a “Why not?” Your children have wonderful minds—let them figure out the possible whys or why nots.
- Build routines into your daily activities when possible. I have to admit, I’m not a routine kind of person—but young children appreciate routines. Establish a basic routine for meals, household activities, work, errands, naps, etc., thus giving structure to your children’s days. You don’t have to be totally regimented and live by a stop watch, but some routine is beneficial.
- While a routine is important, it’s also very important that you leave plenty of free time in your kids’ day for play and exploration. Playing and exploring are how your children learn best. When possible, much of this should be outside time, because as we all know, kids love to be active! Being active is important as physical activity increases muscle strength, flexibility, coordination, and it helps develop gross motor skills. Have your preschooler practice (in a fun way) walking in a straight line, walking backwards, standing on one foot, hopping, etc.
- While you’re doing all the above, focus on learning, not teaching. When focusing on learning, keep any formal preschool lessons you might have, simple and fun. If your children get frustrated, just stop for the day. You are building a lifelong love of learning in your children—frustration is the last thing you want.
- When possible, limit television viewing. Replace television with games you and your children can play together. Games can teach academic skills as well as teach children how to take turns, play as a member on a team, lose gracefully, etc. Plus, playing games with your children is fun. You laugh, you bond….it’s much better than watching a television show!
- It’s important that you provide your children with toys that encourage imagination and that are FUN. If they’re not fun, it doesn’t matter how educational they are, your children are not going to play with them. Think about the toys you played with as a child….wooden blocks, Legos, etc.
- Get out of the house and go on walks with your children. Boy, that’s a simple thing to do! But so educational too. Point out different plants, animals, birds, bugs, etc. Talk about the sky, the clouds and the breeze. Encourage your children to collect leaves, rocks, acorns, etc.
- Go on fieldtrips with your preschoolers. Think zoos, educational farms, etc. I guarantee your children will remember these experiences and will talk about them for months afterwards.
- When appropriate, let your children make a mess. I know…I know…no one likes a mess. But hands-on learning is important. Schedule the time, and make arrangements ahead of time so that clean-up is easy.
The crux of educating your preschooler is to realize that even the littlest things are learning experiences and to make the entire process a fun, bonding experience. If you take these things into consideration, you can’t go wrong.
And of course, have fun! Because as we all know, fun learning is forever learning!