Are you searching for all the info on how to homeschool preschool?
Wondering about schedules, curriculum, how long its going to take, and what in the world you need to teach?
First of all, good for you for wanting to teach your child at home and doing the research!
I never even considered teaching my oldest when it came time for preschool.
I signed her up for 2 day/week preschool, even though it was tight on our budget. I honestly felt like her educaiotnal foundation may be on the line, so we just figured the financial piece out.
After preschool, we enrolled her in 3 day/week pre-K. There was no option for a free pre-K, so again we paid hundreds of dollars every month for what I felt was absolutely necessary.
When she finally got to full time kindergarten, I was relieved that we weren’t paying for school anymore.
I was also sure that the 2 years I invested in her education was going to pay off!
On the way home from school a few weeks in, I asked my daughter what she had been learning.
“We worked on the letter of the day, mommy!”
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I almost crashed my car.
She was doing letter of the day in preschool! This is the third year of letter of the day?? What was I paying for these past two years??
For a number of other reasons, we decided to look into homeschooling.
I decided to experiment on my middle child (while my oldest was still in public school kindergarten) and attempted to homeschool preschool.
At first, it was really fun to teach my child at home!
After a couple weeks though, I started to get a little weary of the prep time and trying to get my 3 year old to stay focused and engaged for the lessons.
She had this really frustrating habit of wanting to run off and play. Or she would want to do the work her way – which was usually not what the teachers manual had in mind.
I also started to realize that she knew most of the curriculum – Colors, numbers, letters, shapes, etc.
I decided to just box everything up, and save it for my youngest child when the time came.
That box has not moved from my storage closet and will probably be trashed, sold, or given away when we move.
The standards that a preschooler is expected to know before kindergarten are:
You have likely taught nearly all of these things at different times without thinking much about it. You do not need 1,000 Pinterest free printables or an expensive curriculum to achieve them! (more on that later)
Kindergarten and preschool are actually relatively new concepts that only became common in the United States around the 1950s-1960s.
There is much debate and many studies about how helpful or hurtful the focus on earlier education has been for kids.
From my experience with my own children, I strongly agree with the idea that formal education can absolutely wait till 5 or 6.
If you’re skeptical, consider that the most successful school system in Europe – Finland (ranked far above the USA) – does not teach any academics to their preschool aged children.
Here is a fascinating article from The Guardian about how math, reading, and writing are not even introduced to Finnish children until age 7.
The focus of their preschoolers is only on creative, pretend play!
Man, think about how carefree and happy those Finnish parents must be!
I do not need to stress about homeschool preschool, because I am not sending my daughter off to kindergarten when she turns 5.
I do not need to rush her through all the “standards,” and worry about her not being able to keep up with her peers.
She will be at home with me and moving at her own pace and learning in her own time.
She will not be shamed for learning some things at a slower pace and she will not be held back from learning other things at a faster pace.
Yes that’s true. If you are looking to put your child in kindergarten when they turn 5, or if you don’t want to appear like a lazy homeschool mom…there are some simple ways I have seen my kids grasp preschool level concepts while just living life:
So, I’ve talked a lot about my youngest child who is not getting formal homeschool preschool curriculum.
But you may be wondering whatever happened to my middle child – the one I gave up on teaching homeschool preschool.
Well, here is a moment of raw honesty. I did not plan it this way at all, and I am not proud of it.
I got very engaged with homeschooling my oldest the following school year. I had a steep learning curve there and put most of my attention on my 1st grader.
My middle and youngest child, ended up playing a lot together, coloring, drawing, and listening to me read a lot of books.
Without any formal teaching from me (just the above tips and tricks), my middle daughter started writing out random letters correctly all over pieces of paper.
She taught herself to write her name after seeing it printed on her water bottle (its a very short name).
She has even taught herself to sound out words like “mom” and “pop” and correctly write them on a piece of paper for fun.
She can count to 29 correctly before she starts getting confused.
In short, her natural curiosity and screen free play time has more than prepared her for kindergarten, DESPITE no formal homeschool preschool or pre-K.
I would actually say she is much further along than my oldest was at that age – who I spent thousands of dollars sending to preschool and pre-K.
I wanted to pop back in this post and give an update on my youngest child, who is now 4 and a half. Following all the above tips and steps, I have been amazed to watch how she has progressed.
She can easily count into the high 20s. She has started sounding out words correctly on her own.
She has shown an interest in wanting to write letters and she’s asked for her own math curriculum like her sisters.
Some days she does school with my kindergartener…and some days she plays tea party in her room with her stuffed animals. And that’s fine!
Left to go at her own pace, she has shown that she will be more than ready to handle kindergarten. In some areas, I have even considered skipping past kindergarten levels and moving her to 1st grade.
I am so proud to see how much she loves learning and WANTS to do school.
The other day I had to cancel school because of some important things that came up and my youngest was so sad!
She begged me to still let her do her handwriting book and go through a math lesson with her. So awesome!
She has never been coerced to do school or reach for a standard that is above her development level – so all her impressions of school are positive and fun.
Exactly what I want going into the kindergarten year.
This is likely the greatest fear of any parent considering homeschooling and definitely any parent who decides to forgo a structured preschool.
The idea that we are worried about 3 and 4 year olds falling behind is such a symptom of the larger problem of pushing our kids too hard and too early.
To give you peace of mind, let me share with you a study done on early education in Tennessee.
Researchers followed 3,000 kids who were enrolled in Tennessee’s voluntary pre-K program and then followed them through their elementary school years.
There was also a control group of students who stayed home with their families before attending kindergarten.
The pre-K kids shot ahead of the kids who stayed home…for a little bit. But then the control group pulled ahead and there was no distinguishable difference by 3rd grade.
The pre-K kids actually had higher levels of discipline problems and were placed in more special education programs than the group who stayed home.
Lawmakers who fund these programs have tried to twist and turn this research to mean something else, but it is what it is.
A good friend of mine is a kindergarten teacher and I knew her long before I was homeschooling. She told me one day how ridiculous it is to be pushing kids to learn so much before kindergarten.
She said it just produced a bored kid who had to sit and wait for the rest of the class to catch up. Eventually everyone was on the same level and the class progressed together.
Your job as a parent is to be brave enough to not be swayed by those around you. Don’t try to keep up with the Jones’ of education at the expense of your child.
You do not need to print off loads of worksheets and time consuming, messy crafts (that often the preschool teacher has to do most of anyways).
You do not need to stress about how to balance doing homeschool with older children and fitting in the preschool standards for your littles.
In fact, you shouldn’t.
What you do need to do is turn the screens off. And when the screens are on make sure it is high quality and educational.
Take your kids to the library and read to them as much as humanly possible.
Give them loads of time for free play and be amazed at what they come up with!
Kids are naturally curious and will shock you with how much they want to learn when they are not being forced into it.
As you continue on this homeschool journey, you will likely have so many more questions that come up. I would love to be there for you and share what I’ve picked up on the way of our homeschool journey!
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