I know, I know. There’s no one right way to homeschool. But, I will argue that there is a right way and a wrong way to homeschool pre-K and preschool. To me, preschool encompasses three and four-year-olds and pre-K is the year immediately before Kindergarten. As an unschooler, I feel that homeschooling preschool mostly means reading great books and having fun. But, if you have a precocious child or you want a bit more structure, here are some suggestions for how to homeschool pre-K.
The Best Ideas for How to Homeschool Pre-K
Start with the best books.
I worked in two day care centers during my college years, one that was pretty average and one designed for the professors’ children. From these experiences, I can say with certainty that little children do not learn anything from worksheets or coloring pages. Developmentally speaking, they learn through whole sensory experiences, especially those that include their parents or grandparents. Snuggle with them in your lap or on a bed and read stories together. Choose beautiful books with imaginative, well told stories, such as what’s in the Sonlight Pre-K Package: Exploring God’s World . And what about your old favorites, like Green Eggs and Ham? When you homeschool Pre-K, you want to introduce them to beautiful, rich experiences with books that will propel through into their elementary years.
Keep lesson time short, but have a routine if you homeschool pre-K.
Small children love–and need–routine. It helps them learn about the world, feel safe and less anxious, and understand expected behaviors. So, if you want to homeschool Pre-K, the best way to do it would be to have a relaxed, regular routine and keep any formal lesson times short and sensory rich. A great example of how to do this is the Sonlight Pre-Kindergarten package. They have a developmentally appropriate approach that recommends breaking up their lesson plan into short chunks throughout the day. Furthermore, you can accomplish their curriculum in about a half hour or so a day!
Spend lots of time outdoors.
Children need the benefits of outdoor play and the creative opportunities it offers. 1000 Hours Outside is an awesome resource of trackers and challenges to help you accomplish this. Getting outdoors will produce happier, healthier, more intelligent, more empathic children. The sun and the dirt, the ever changing landscape, the endless gentle sensory experiences, the joyous animal discoveries, and so much more offer them something irreplaceable.
Incorporate simple crafts.
Children love to imitate you, so let them learn to color and cut, finger paint, lace, and sculpt. Simple, sensory-based activities that help them develop fine motor skills are best. You probably also notice that they want to cook and bake with you, try to do basic weaving, and use stickers! The key here is to keep it simple and let them lead you. If you try to introduce something more difficult too soon, they will become disinterested at best and very frustrated at worst.
Homeschool pre-K might be ready for gentle letter and number activities.
Because children develop at different rates, especially in the early years, some children might be ready to learn their letters and numbers while others need to wait a year or two. I saw this in my own children. My oldest daughter learned to read three letter words before age five and was reading chapter books by age six. Her younger sister read three letter words at age six and by age seven and a half, was reading chapter books. My two sons were quite different from their sisters, but neither of them read fluently by age seven. So, be careful with this one. Be gentle. Use sensory-based activities such as those in the Sonlight Pre-Kindergarten package.
So, if you want to homeschool pre-K the right way, the best way, keep it short, keep it sensory, keep it real and beautiful and wild. Check out the Sonlight Pre-Kindergarten package to help you stay organized and focused, feel confident you’re doing a good job, and stock your home library with the best books. In addition, you have access to the Sonlight Advisors who can help you navigate this important time in your child’s life.