Our Preschool Homeschooling Journey!
Guest Post by Amanda Sims (Mom of 9)
I think there’s a misconception of what preschool needs to be. It seems that most people assume preschool is just like kindergarten only for three and four-year-olds. That there should be structured lessons and academic learning.
Preschool Homeschooling Should be About Play
In my opinion, preschool really shouldn’t be about pushing papers. Children will do that from kindergarten to 12th grade and most likely beyond. It really should be about play. Before I began homeschooling I worked at a preschool for 11 years and watched the children learn through play. There are so many educational toys available and children are learning and don’t realize it!
“Preschool age” for us was birth to kindergarten. Once I began homeschooling our oldest was 5 and are preschoolers were 4, 2, and 1. I was able to incorporate a lot of what I learned from those 11 years into teaching my preschoolers. While I was teaching our older children our younger ones were always at the table with us doing something. Whether it was their own workbook or just paper, pencils, colored pencils, pens, or markers they felt like they were doing school like their older siblings. I would also give them puzzles or games that they can do on their own without needing help. Matching games were the favorite. Colors, shapes, letters, numbers, patterns, symbols, etc… It still amazes me how much they learned from just sitting with us listening to me teach the older ones. As I was going over a “ready for kindergarten checklist”, I realized that our other four-year-old was ready for kindergarten as well. (These two daughters are 12 months apart). I knew she was ready because she had sat with her sister every day doing pretty much the same things. I loved teaching kindergarten to more than one student. It was awesome because they would help each other and work together. I was able to homeschool two more of our children in the same grade that are 11 months apart for the same reason.
My Methods for Homeschooling the Preschool Years
As I said before there are so many resources available for us to use to teach our preschoolers. There is also plenty of things you can make yourself. The Internet is a wonderful tool! I’ve made several matching games by coloring, cutting out, and gluing the pieces to a file folder. Super simple. There are two other important elements in our preschool journey. One is having the older children work with the younger children. This allows me to work with whomever I need to while the younger ones are entertained and learning. The second would be reading out loud. Which is important at any age, not just preschool. This is also something my older kids have done with my preschoolers. I would like to point out that I’ve never pushed my preschoolers in writing. When they would work in workbooks and trace letters I let them do it however they wanted with a small amount of guidance. Once they showed interest in writing by themselves and no longer wanted to trace then we began more independent writing. My oldest daughter actually taught three of her younger siblings how to write their names. As I was writing this a few of my children said they never did preschool.
Proof that they were learning and had no idea. 😉
Amanda Sims – Volunteer Contributor
Amanda Sims has been homeschooling since 2005. She and her husband, DJ, married in 1999 and are parents to seven girls and two boys. Amanda and her family moved to Texas from Colorado, where she was born and raised. She is actively involved in her church, enjoys reading, and loves to travel. Over her many years of homeschooling, she has learned the importance of schooling to the individual learning style of each of her children, schooling year-round, and teaching multiple ages. Hear Amanda’s homeschool story here!