I have been preschooling my daughter for a little over 18 months now and we both absolutely love it! I am also a research junkie and have spent countless hours over the last 18 months learning about the entire world of homeschooling and all the fabulous resources and curriculum available.
It is that time of year that homeschoolers often begin thinking and planning for next year. We had a fantastic year and I am very much looking forward to going in a very different direction this year with my 4-year-old preschooler. Curriculum and a variety of resources will be in Part II of my How To series.
This week I wanted to share some helpful tips, blogs and online resources if you are thinking about starting, or recently new to, home preschooling.
Q: I want to start preschooling my child however I have no idea where to start?
A: When I first began researching (more like googling) preschool at home just the sheer number of advice, blogs, curriculum was overwhelming. There is so much out there and that isn’t necessarily a bad thing, however when your new to it, it can seem like just to many options. I was very grateful to a few finds here and there that helped condense all the information down for the newbies and make it totally doable. I share a few of those finds at the end of this post, but rest assured that you can do it!!
Q: Okay, I really want to do this, how do I get started?
A: My first piece of advice is to literally sit down when you have some free time and ask yourself a few questions. I know this may sound cheesy, however the beauty of home preschooling is that we can cater and create specifically to our child or children. There is no one size fits all, and with the amount of resources available if you ask yourself the following 5 questions I believe you will be much more successful in your preschooling endeavors.
1. What does my child like to do, what are his current interests? (ex: trucks, bugs, dirt, princesses, space, the color pink)
2. What is he/she good at? You may just be discovering these areas, however when you do continue to develop and feed those giftings and interests.
3. What do YOU want to do with your child? This is one of the most important questions, homeschooling regardless of age is just as much about the parent as it is about the child. Do you want to focus on character, creativity or reading this year? Make sure you know what you want, not just what you think your child needs.
4. What is your schedule/routine? This is another important question because to have a successful year you need to be realistic. Do you have multiple children pulling at your attention, do you work from home? Create a schedule that will work around your life, especially in these early years.
5. What is your budget? There are so many free options available to preschoolers, however there are also many resources that you may want to purchase. Having a budget is key.
Q: What are some ideas of things to do with preschoolers?
A: These are just a few ideas that are great for 2 1/2 to 5 year olds.
- Unit exploration
- Sensory activities/sensory bins
- Letter recognition and letter sounds
- Memorize scripture
- Fine motor activities (lacing, puzzles, picking up objects with tweezers, using a water dropper, etc)
- Story sequencing
- Outdoor exploration (gardening, nature walks, scavenger hunt, etc)
- How things work (pouring water, latches, levers, etc)
- Circle time (weather, days of week, calendar)
- Science experiments
- Arts and Crafts
- Character studies (obedience, honesty, patience, etc)
- Computer Games
Q: What supplies should I gather to start with?
A: Here is my list of must have items on hand.
- Laminator – I went way to long without one!
- Computer ink and paper
- Shoe box size plastic bins
- File cabinet or bin for storing school work, extra supplies, etc.
- Bulletin Board
- Lots of craft supplies ( glue, crayons, markers, construction paper, paint, kid scissors)
- Bookshelf :You will quickly begin to accumulate books
Q: What are some other good preschooling resources or places of reference?
A: I don’t profess to know it all about home preschooling. There are many blogs I reference often. Here are some of my favorite!
1+1+1=1 is my go to preschool site for ideas, curriculum choices, printables and planning forms. She has a plethora of resources and even a new ebook about Tot School.
Other great sites for preschooling advice, ideas and resources;
Delightful Learning- LOVE her Five in a Row activities and ideas
Homeschool Creations- My #2 go to site.
Living Montessori Now- Great site for Montessori inspired preschooling
2 Teaching Mommas- Great printables
Our Little Monkeys- LOVE her printables and My Fathers World posts
I hope that this post helps you begin your preschool adventures. In Part II I will share a number of preschool curriculum and resources available, including our picks for our 2013/14 school year. Lastly, Part III I will share my tips on how to plan, schedule and organize it all!
Part III: Planning, Scheduling & Organizing