A guide to homeschool preschool

Starting Your Homeschool Preschool: A Child-Led Journey to Develop a Love for Learning

Inside: Ready to jump into homeschooling your preschooler with both feet? This guide’s packed with advice to make learning at home a long-term success for you and your preschooler. We’ll chat about why letting your kiddo lead the way with their curiosity can make all the difference but also about curriculum you can use. Plus, you’ll get a peek into our own homeschooling journey—mistakes, successes, and everything in between.

Decided to homeschool and wondering how to best homeschool preschool? I get it, homeschooling your little learner can be both exciting and intimidating.

It’s completely normal to feel a bit daunted. After all, the responsibility of being your child’s first teacher is no small task. But here’s a little secret: it doesn’t have to be overwhelming. The beauty of homeschooling at this age is less about strict lesson plans or a homeschool schedule and more about fostering a love of learning through play, exploration, and everyday adventures.

Children are incredibly diverse in how they learn and what interests them. Some might surprise you with their love for structured activities, while others might prefer the freedom of unstructured play. And guess what? That’s perfectly fine. If you’re leaning towards incorporating a curriculum, rest assured there’s a wide variety to suit different learning styles and preferences. But no matter what you choose, one thing is clear: homeschool preschool is all about learning naturally and developing good learning and life skills so we can raise lifelong learners.

Reflecting on my journey, one thing stands out: the importance of simplicity and following your child’s lead. Their innate curiosity is your greatest resource.

A Beginner's Guide to Homeschool Preschool- everything you need to know

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What’s homeschooling your preschooler all about?

Homeschooling your 3 or 4 year old isn’t about strict schedules, homeschool curriculum choices, or piles of workbooks. It’s about creating an environment where your little one feels free to explore, ask questions, and discover the wonders around them through play.

Those who’ve been homeschooling for years know the real goal of doing preschool at home is to spark a love for learning that will last a lifetime.

So, at its core, homeschool preschool is about embracing your child’s natural curiosity. It’s a period when their little minds are absorbing everything they see, touch, and feel.

But where do you start? How do you keep them engaged? The idea might seem overwhelming at first, but I promise you will get it right even without having a preschool program in place.

I know this because, after 8 years of homeschooling an only child, I can now look back on those years and realize that my approach back then dictated the way my son sees knowledge, learning, and curiosity now. And I am pretty proud of what we have achieved during our years of homeschooling until now.

child led learning

Play-based learning is the best

Numerous studies support this statement, but one article that has caught my attention was Let Our Children Play: The Importance of Play in Early Childhood Education by Julie Kessel.

From her insightful work on the significance of play in early education, it becomes clear that preschool age isn’t just a prelude to ‘real’ learning. It’s a vital stage where kids learn through play, exploring and understanding their environment in a manner most natural to them. Learning and play become one and preschool education should never separate these.

“Play-based learning is developmentally appropriate for young children. […] Copple and Bredekamp (2009) state that “the brain’s cerebral cortex and the functions that ultimately regulate children’s attention and memory are not fully developed” (p. 132). “

Let Our Children Play: The Importance of Play in Early Childhood Education by Julie Kessel

The takeaway? The best educational experiences are those that respect the kids’ natural curiosity and developmental stage. And for preschool-aged children, these are play-based and hands-on learning as well as teaching independence in preschoolers.

Kessel’s reflections also serve as a powerful reminder of the importance of being present, of tuning into our children’s interests, and of valuing play not as a break from learning but as the very essence of education in these formative years.

Preschool homeschool natural learning

How did you homeschool your preschooler? A personal perspective on being present

Over the years, many parents have reached out to me, eager to learn about how I navigated the early years of homeschooling with Marc (especially how I used to homeschool my 4 year old).

I’ve felt a strong sense of responsibility to share our story, but I’ve often hesitated, wondering what wisdom I could possibly impart.

After all, when I look back at those early years, it doesn’t feel like we did anything out of the ordinary. Yet, the more I’ve thought about our journey, the clearer it has become that perhaps the most powerful thing we did was simply to be present.

The truth is, homeschooling preschool doesn’t require you to be a super-teacher armed with an arsenal of preschool activities pulled out of Pinterest boards. Instead, they call for you to be a super-parent: attentive, engaged, and responsive to your kid’s needs and interests. Simply to BE there and BE present.

Here are four ways of being present can shape your child’s early learning experience:

1. Listen and observe then respond accordingly

Much of what Marc learned during his preschool came from everyday interactions. And I realized that this is when we laid the groundwork for his curiosity and love for learning.

By listening to his questions and observing his interests, I was able to guide him toward discoveries in a way that felt natural and engaging. This is all that child-directed learning is about: you observe their interests (or listen to their questions) and provide the appropriate answer or materials.

But I didn’t stop there. I did my best to ask questions in return and show interest in his interests. My way of interacting with him modeled the way I was thinking things through by asking smaller questions, breaking the tasks, researching, and making connections.

This is how he ended up STEM-passionate. Science is all about inquiry and I always nurtured this aspect even without realizing what I was doing at the time. The truth is you don’t need any learning philosophy to guide you. Being present in the true sense of the word will offer you exactly what you need.

Preschool learning is easy from this point of view since kids are naturally inquisitive. You don’t need a lot of learning resources to make the most out of this time, just listen to every question, answer it, ask their opinion about it, make inferences with them, and research questions together. Show them how to begin

Something we always loved having handy was a “notebook of questions”. And I developed that idea into a workbook you can test or buy.

If you aren’t sure how to develop a love for inquiry and encourage curiosity, grab my sample below (or a full copy from Amazon) of the There Are No Stupid Questions workbook. Your preschooler might not be able to fill these in with writing, but read the pages yourself and adapt them to your preschool student or let them draw. Or do what we did, and you can be their scribe!

2. Seize teachable moments in everyday life and make them count

Learning opportunities are all around us, often in the most ordinary moments. By being present, you can seize these teachable moments and turn them into impromptu lessons.

For instance, a simple activity like sorting socks can become a lesson in colors, sizes, counting, patterns, and categorization.

I remember during those early years, I did my best to find teachable moments in everything we did. I took the opportunity of apple-picking to tell him everything I knew about apples. That discussion evolved from how seasons work to how in spring bees pollinate the apple blossoms and the fact that apples are fruit. From there, I listened to any questions he had and did my best to explain them. I even used the opportunity to mention apples start with the sound “ă”. And there you have it: science, math (if you count the apples you pick), making connections, and even literacy. (If you want to find out how I taught him to read, keep reading ^_^ )

I didn’t use preschool lesson plans (although you’re very welcome to do so!), I simply told him the facts I knew. We used solid curricula for math and language arts from 5 – I explained my recommendations below if you want to start sooner.

Homeschooling preschool teachable moment

3. Foster independence and don’t oversocialize (unless your child asks it)

Being present also means knowing when to step back and let your child explore on their own. Independent play is crucial for developing problem-solving skills, creativity, and self-confidence. So let them safely explore and make mistakes. This is also the perfect opportunity to start encouraging a growth mindset.

And if you have an only child who prefers playing with you (as I did), just let them take the lead. Pretend play, join in their fun and exploration, and just enjoy. I promise they are learning!

And don’t forget about socialization!

One thing I feel gets too much attention is socializing homeschooled kids. While socializing is great – especially if your little ones are asking for it – I also think it can become negative when we try to oversocialize our kids.

As with everything, balance is key, and listening to the cues your kids send you should be enough to let you know if they enjoy having daily playdates or once a week is more than enough for them.

One of the mistakes I made when Marc was little was to push him to meet other kids his age when it was clear that he preferred older kids or adults to hang out with. That’s because everything I read pointed to the importance of socializing with peers.

As we both matured, I realized all that effort didn’t change a thing. Marc is still an introvert (who does great if put in diverse social situations). He just doesn’t choose to be with a lot of people at the same time. And that’s ok. I learned to respect his boundaries and preferences. I wish I had realized this sooner.

Homeschooling preschool-socializing

4. Build a strong bond to last a lifetime

One of the most valuable aspects of being present during the preschool years is the deep, trusting bond it fosters between parent and child long term. This emotional connection creates a safe, supportive environment where your child feels valued, understood, and free to explore their curiosities. It lays the foundation for all future learning and the foundation of your relationship for a lifetime.

The toddler, preschool, and kindergarten stages offer an invaluable opportunity to build a relationship that will positively influence your child’s life for years to come.

Make the most of this special time by truly being there for your child – setting clear boundaries with love, following through consistently, and above all, making them feel respected and heard.

More than just a teacher, strive to be the caring parent and trusted guide they need. Explain your reasoning, admit when you make mistakes, and show them you’ll always fight for their best interests without judgment. Let them see your willingness to learn alongside them when you don’t have all the answers.

This approach requires discipline from both parent and child. But cultivating that trust proves invaluable as your child gets older and homeschooling involves more academic rigor. When children know you have their back, they feel secure exploring challenging subjects.

The strength of this bond allowed me to navigate the preteen and teenage years on positive footing with my son. He understands my role is to support, not punish. He knows he can come to me with any problem or struggle.

In building that foundation of trust early on, I gained an open communicator who feels confident diving into his passions and facing new obstacles head-on.

Homeschooling preschool and natural learning- play based learning

Are you saying we shouldn’t use a homeschool preschool curriculum?

So am I saying you should absolutely not buy a curriculum during preschool years?

No. I am saying do what works for you, make mistakes, explore… but don’t overdo it. So if you want to prepare your child for kindergarten, to do desk learning activities with your preschool-age child, go ahead and do that. Just pay attention to how they respond and be present.

After years of doing rigorous academic homeschooling with Marc, I noticed something important that goes even beyond the early years.

When it comes to choosing a homeschool curriculum, the focus should be on fostering essential skills rather than ticking off checkboxes.

The early years should concentrate on developing:

  • fine and gross motor skills
  • language skills
  • basic mathematical understanding
  • a child’s natural curiosity and love for learning

For instance, instead of a rigid curriculum, you might choose activities that encourage counting through play, like using building blocks, or language skills through storytelling and reading together. I’ve put together a huge list of educational toys and manipulatives for 6-year-olds, but many of them can be used much earlier.

IMPORTANT: Please make sure you don’t force your child into a curriculum that doesn’t fit because you risk having them hate that subject for a long time. Make sure you choose the right time to introduce your child to desk work and most importantly that you ask them to focus for the appropriate amount of time for their age. If you feel they are struggling with a curriculum, hit pause, and come back to it in six months, a year, or even more. Just teach them things they are READY to learn. Do not push it.

Marc learned how to read independently at 7 and a half because that’s when he was ready. No matter that we started reading instruction when he was 5. He was ready when he was ready. I don’t say don’t do it, but pay attention to any signs of distress and find solutions to make it fun and engaging, or even drop it for a while.

Homeschooling preschool and early years

OK, warning over, we are ready to move on to the fun stuff: curriculum!

The best preschool homeschool curriculum choices

Maybe your child is asking for it, maybe you see they are ready, or maybe your state has it as a requirement to homeschool preschool. In any case, there are a lot of preschool curriculum choices out there.

Here are a few of the ones we loved the best for each subject.

📚Language Arts – go the phonics route

A strong foundation in phonics is crucial for early literacy development. I highly recommend choosing a phonics-based language arts curriculum, whether starting with a preschooler or kindergartener.

The phonics approach explicitly teaches the relationships between letters and sounds, allowing children to “decode” words by blending individual sounds. This systematic method of phonics instruction has been proven by extensive research to be the most reliable way for children to become fluent readers. Here’s just one article about it but you can find more with a simple search:

Some of the most compelling evidence to support a phonics-focused approach comes from historical observations: When schools start teaching systematic phonics, test scores tend to go up. As phonics took hold in U.S. schools in the 1970s, fourth–graders began to do better on standardized reading tests.

In the 1980s, California replaced its phonics curriculum with a whole language approach. In 1994, the state’s fourth-graders tied for last place in the nation: Less than 18 percent had mastered reading. After California re-embraced phonics in the 1990s, test scores rose. By 2019, 32 percent achieved grade-level proficiency. […]

England, too, started seeing dramatic results after government-funded schools were required in 2006 to teach systematic phonics to 5- to 7-year-olds. When the country implemented a test to assess phonics skills in 2012, 58 percent of 5- and 6-year-olds passed. By 2016, 81 percent of students passed. Reading comprehension at age 7 has risen, and gains seem to persist at age 11. These population trends make a strong case for teaching phonics, says Douglas Fuchs, an educational psychologist at Vanderbilt University in Nashville.

Sohn, E. (n.d.). It’s time to stop debating how to teach kids to read and follow the evidence. Science News. 

In contrast, the “whole language” approach of memorizing whole words by sight introduces too many exceptions and irregularities early on. This causes confusion and doesn’t equip children with robust decoding strategies. A solid grasp of phonics gives children the tools to sound out unfamiliar words independently.

With a phonics foundation, children learn the building blocks to analyze and break down words into their individual sounds. As they blend those sounds together, it clicks – the letters and their sounds correspond to the words they know!

This unlocks their ability to read and spell words they’ve never encountered before.

Embedded in quality phonics programs are also crucial pre-reading skills like:

  • Phonemic awareness (hearing and manipulating sounds)
  • Letter recognition and formation
  • Understanding of print concepts like left-to-right tracking

These foundational competencies provide the perfect on-ramp to actual reading instruction through fun, multisensory phonics lessons and decodable books.

Rather than the outdated “sight word” memorization, children learning with systematic phonics develop flexible word-attack strategies. They can peel apart sounds, analyze patterns, and apply logical phonics rules to decode anything put in front of them. This creates confident, capable readers and spellers from a very young age.

The early years are a critical window for wiring the brain with these phonics pathways. That’s why I prioritized choosing an explicit, multisensory phonics program as the core of our language arts instruction.

homeschool preschool curriculum LA
Marc at 5 sounding out words and Logic of English example of a lesson/game

MY RECOMMENDATION:

  • Logic of English:

    After trying several popular reading curricula, Logic of English emerged as our absolute favorite. This exceptional program truly laid the foundation for Marc to become an avid reader and excellent speller from a young age.

    What sets Logic of English apart is its masterful use of multisensory strategies and games to systematically build crucial pre-reading skills. The lessons start by developing strong phonemic awareness – the ability to hear, identify, and manipulate individual sounds in words. Using auditory and kinesthetic activities, Marc learned to isolate sounds and analyze words at the phoneme level.

    From there, the lessons progress in a carefully crafted sequence to explicitly teach phonics rules, patterns, and word analysis strategies. However, Logic of English doesn’t rely solely on rote memorization. It uses concrete explanations and hands-on activities to foster true conceptual understanding.

    For example, when learning vowel sounds, we used the colored vowel code tiles and hand motions to physically represent the sounds. This multisensory approach, combining visual, auditory, and kinesthetic elements, allowed the concepts to deeply resonate.

    The decodable readers included with each level provided the perfect practice ground. As Marc learned new phonics patterns, he could immediately apply them to reading simple stories. His confidence soared with every new word he could decode accurately.

    By using all learning pathways to the brain, Logic of English ensured proficiency at every skill before advancing. There was no rushing ahead or leaving gaps. Marc developed a comprehensive mastery of phonics and word analysis from the ground up.

    I cannot overstate how solid of a reading and spelling foundation this program provided. To this day, I see Marc employing the phonics rules and strategies he learned to tackle unfamiliar words. Logic of English fostered a mindset of analysis and decoding rather than merely memorizing.

    If you want a reading curriculum that nurtures both skill and passion for literacy, Logic of English is simply unmatched. The systematic, multisensory approach cements those fundamental phonics competencies in a way that sticks for life.

Don’t forget to grab manipulatives, games, and toys that make learning fun!

I DO NOT RECOMMEND:

  • Teach Your Child To Read In 100 Easy Lessons
    One program I do not recommend is Teach Your Child to Read in 100 Easy Lessons. While it’s frequently suggested in homeschooling circles, it was a disappointing and tearful experience for us.

    The lessons in this book felt overly repetitive and lacked the engaging, multisensory approach that made phonics click for Marc. He quickly became frustrated and disheartened, even crying when I attempted the lessons. It broke my heart to see his natural love of learning squashed.

    In retrospect, Teach Your Child to Read relies too heavily on rote memorization of tricks and word families rather than explicitly teaching the phonics rules and patterns. The decodable stories also felt contrived with nonsensical sentences that failed to capture Marc’s interest.

    I regret wasting our time and emotional energy on this curriculum. If I could go back, I would have invested from the start in a more comprehensive, systematic, and joyful phonics program like Logic of English or Primary Arts of Language from IEW.

    These phonics curricula use clear, logically sequenced lessons alongside interactive activities and motivating decodable readers. Their multisensory techniques engage all the pathways to the brain, helping phonics concepts click into place.

    While no curriculum is perfect, the right phonics approach can truly make or break those initial reading experiences. Don’t make the mistake of struggling through a curriculum that frustrates your child. Invest in a program that nurtures their love of learning from Day 1.

OTHER OPTIONS:

  • Primary Arts of Language from IEW- IEW is a company we respect and use even now for writing, grammar, and spelling. We haven’t used their phonics program, but they’re based on another popular curriculum, All About Reading that’s similar to Logic of English – so you can’t go wrong with it.
  • All About Reading Level 1 -is a popular curriculum among homeschoolers and one that’s very similar to Logic of English.
  • Reading Better Together – is a curriculum developed by a homeschool mom and former teacher. I heard good things about it and she offers support for those who struggle with reading.
  • Winter Promise
  • Pinwheels

SUPPLEMENTS AND OTHER RESOURCES:

🧮Math curriculum for preschool – go for mastery based

The core of our math curriculum revolved around the principle that children learn best when they can manipulate, see, and directly interact with mathematical concepts. This led us to embrace manipulatives wholeheartedly, which are essential tools in making abstract ideas tangible for young learners. We loved using Cuisenaire rods and base ten blocks but the more recent Numberblocks work on the same principles.

Download our free pack of games and Cuisenaire pack to get inspired:

When it comes to choosing a preschool math curriculum, the journey with Marc highlighted a crucial aspect of early learning: the profound impact of a mastery-based approach.

Our exploration of various math curricula ended with the need for a strong foundational understanding, leading us to embrace Singapore-based math. We used Math in Focus as our math curricula, but there are other, equally good Singapore-based math curricula you can try.

Singapore-based math is one of the most popular math curricula based on mastery out there. It emphasizes a concrete-pictorial-abstract progression, making math tangible and understandable before transitioning to abstract concepts.

This type of math curriculum is all about deeply understanding concepts that are practiced and applied until the child is proficient. You don’t move ahead until they have understood the concept.

Mastery-based math is rooted in the belief that children should achieve a deep, conceptual understanding of mathematical principles before advancing to new topics. This approach ensures that the base is solid and comprehensive and supporting more complex mathematical thinking as children grow.

Unlike traditional methods that often prioritize rote memorization and quick progression, mastery-based math focuses on truly understanding each concept at a profound level.

For example, Marc didn’t just memorize how to add (he didn’t even memorize the multiplication table). He learned to understand what relationships numbers have and how they relate to each other. He also learned to see math as an opportunity to manipulate and play with numbers in ways I never really understood. This, and seeing his progress over the years convinced me the mastery-based approach is the way to go if you are looking for solid foundations in math.

Here are several reasons why Singapore-based math is considered a great approach to math:

  1. Conceptual understanding: Singapore math encourages a deep understanding of core mathematical concepts rather than rote memorization. This helps kids understand the ‘why’ and ‘how’ behind math, enabling them to apply concepts in various contexts.
  2. Concrete to pictorial to abstract (CPA) approach: This methodology takes kids progressively through a three-step learning process. They start with concrete objects like blocks (concrete), move on to pictorial representations (drawings or diagrams), and finally to abstract symbols (numbers and formulas). This progression ensures a thorough understanding of mathematical concepts.
  3. Problem-solving focus: Singapore-based math puts a strong emphasis on problem-solving and critical thinking. Kids are taught to analyze problems, explore various ways to solve them, and understand underlying mathematical principles. This approach prepares kids to tackle complex and real-world problems.
  4. Visual learning strategies: The curriculum uses visual strategies such as model drawing to solve word problems. This helps kids ‘see’ and solve complex problems systematically, enhancing their analytical skills.
  5. Sequential learning: The curriculum is structured so that each year builds upon the previous one. Concepts are introduced in a logical sequence, allowing kids to deepen their knowledge and understanding incrementally.
  6. Focus on mastery: Singapore math requires kids to achieve a deep level of understanding in each area before moving on to new topics. This prevents gaps in learning and ensures they have a strong grasp of essential math concepts.
  7. High standards: Singapore math is known for its high standards and rigor. It challenges kids to excel in mathematics, fostering a culture of high achievement and excellence.
  8. Global success: Singapore students have consistently ranked at the top in international assessments like the Trends in International Mathematics and Science Study (TIMSS) and the Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA). The success of Singapore students attests to the effectiveness of their mathematics curriculum and teaching methods.

SINGAPORE – Fifteen-year-olds here have emerged top performers in an international benchmarking study to measure how well students use their knowledge and skills to solve real-world problems.

Based on the performance of 6,606 students from 149 secondary schools and 15 private schools, including international schools and madrasahs, Singapore was ranked No. 1 for mathematics, science and reading in the Programme for International Student Assessment (Pisa) 2022.

Davie, S. (2023, December 7). Singapore students rank top in maths, science and reading in OECD study. The Straits Times.
homeschool preschool curriculum MATH

MY RECOMMENDATION:

Singapore-based math. There are multiple programs out there that are Singapore math inspired. Any of them would work great if you want your child to have a solid foundation in math. We personally used Math in Focus and we loved it, but the curriculum is made for public schools and might be harder to implement at home. Here are some options you have for Singapore-based math:

  • Math in Focus – the program we used and that laid a solid math foundation for Marc. It laid such a good base that he skipped from 5th grade math to prealgebra and he is currently doing Geometry in 7th grade. So, my persistence with this particular curriculum paid off.
  • Singapore Math Inc – the original Singapore math books. They are similar to Math in Focus, but Math in Focus is a bit more advanced.
  • Math Mammoth – an affordable version of mastery-based math.

OTHER OPTIONS:

SUPPLEMENTS AND OTHER RESOURCES:

🔑 Unit studies and printables

In the preschool years, it’s important to focus on encouraging and growing your child’s natural curiosity and love for learning. While you might not need a formal curriculum, selecting the right learning tools can play an important role in developing essential skills and encouraging a positive attitude towards learning.

For a more structured approach, unit studies can be very effective. They allow you to focus on your child’s current interests and explore various subjects through themed activities. A unit on dinosaurs, for example, could include counting dinosaur figures, reading about dinosaurs, creating clay fossils, and pretending to be paleontologists. This approach makes learning interconnected, playful, and engaging.

Homeschooling preschool curriculum electives

Here are some publishers we love for the early years:

  • Evan Moor – they have a lot of workbooks and supplemental materials you can mix and match.
  • BookShark – we love their packages and they have a preK one, too. Just be aware that there’s a lot to read and do. If you want a literature-based learning curriculum, this is definitely worth checking out.
  • Timberdoodle
  • Tinybop games

I also have preschool printables in my shop that can keep little curious minds engaged.

I strongly recommend that you pair these up with real life and hands-on learning to make the concepts stick.

Preschool early learning homeschool

Activities like tracing and using stickers are effective for improving pre-writing skills. These tasks help in enhancing hand-eye coordination, pencil grip, and finger strength, which are important for writing.

  • Stickers: Activities that involve placing stickers on specific spots can also enhance precision and control in small movements. They can be thematic, aligning with your child’s interests or current unit study. We loved the Usborne sticker books!
  • Tracing: Simple tracing worksheets that allow children to follow lines or shapes with a pencil can prepare them for letter and number writing. Here are some suggestions:

📖The importance of read-alouds

Read-alouds, or the practice of reading books aloud to children, play a crucial role in early childhood education, particularly during the preschool years.

Reading aloud to your kids offers numerous benefits that contribute to their overall development and lay a strong foundation for future academic success.

  1. Language and literacy development:
    • Read-alouds expose kids to a rich vocabulary, sentence structures, and language patterns that may not be present in everyday conversations.
    • They help develop essential pre-reading skills, such as phonemic awareness (the ability to recognize and manipulate individual sounds in words), print awareness, and letter recognition.
    • Children learn about the conventions of books, such as holding them correctly, turning pages, and understanding that print carries meaning.
  2. Cognitive development:
    • Read-alouds stimulate imagination and creativity by introducing little ones to new worlds, characters, and situations.
    • They encourage critical thinking and problem-solving skills as children engage with the storylines, make predictions, and draw inferences.
    • Reading aloud fosters comprehension skills, such as understanding sequencing, cause and effect, and making connections between the story and their own experiences.
  3. Social and emotional development:
    • Read-alouds provide opportunities for kids to explore and discuss emotions, social situations, and moral dilemmas presented in the stories.
    • They promote empathy and understanding by allowing them to identify with characters and their experiences.
    • Reading aloud together creates a warm, nurturing environment that fosters bonding between children and their parents or teachers.
  4. Attention and focus:
    • Read-alouds help children practice active listening and sustained attention, which are essential skills for future academic success.
    • The interactive nature of read-alouds, with discussions, questions, and predictions, encourages kids to stay engaged and focused.
  5. Motivation and love for reading:
    • Positive experiences with read-alouds from an early age can foster a lifelong love for reading and learning.
    • Children who associate reading with enjoyment and quality time with loved ones are more likely to develop a positive attitude towards books and reading.

The preschool years are a crucial period for read-alouds. During this time, kids are rapidly developing language and literacy skills, and their brains are primed for learning. Regular read-alouds not only support these developmental milestones but also create a strong foundation for future reading success and academic achievement.

It is important to note that the benefits of read-alouds extend beyond the preschool years. Continuing this practice throughout elementary and even middle school can reinforce literacy skills, promote critical thinking, and foster a love for literature and learning.

I am still reading aloud to Marc, even though he is quite capable of reading anything independently at thirteen.

Advice: Incorporating read-alouds into your daily routine doesn’t require a strict schedule. Instead, aim for a relaxed and enjoyable experience. Choose a variety of books, including picture books, fairy tales, and children’s poetry.

Don’t hesitate to read favorite books repeatedly, as repetition is key to language development and comprehension.

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⭐️ Some more practical ideas

So how do you actually implement these ideas and what other tools can you use?

  1. Explore digital learning tools: Don’t shy away from using educational apps and games to introduce and reinforce concepts. These can include interactive storybooks, puzzles, and math games that make learning engaging. Playing these games together can also enhance the learning experience.

    We watched educational cartoons and YouTuve videos together, like Wallykazaam or The Octonauts during the early years.

    My advice is to make the best out of the resources out there but make sure you thoroughly screen it for content and watch and play with your children. This allows you to pause and ask more questions, make connections and develop their thinking skills. Don’t turn them into mere consumers of tech.

    Watching and discussing these videos together can provide additional context to lessons and introduce new ideas.
  2. Buy educational toys: Invest in toys that promote learning through play, such as building blocks for spatial skills, counting bears for math, or alphabet puzzles for literacy. Engaging with these toys alongside your child can help you guide their learning process and make it more interactive.

    Marc learned his shapes, colors, counting, and letters from puzzles.
  3. Teach life skills and academics through everyday activities: Identify moments in daily life to teach life skills, such as cooking to learn about measurements, gardening to understand plant biology, or shopping to work on budgeting skills. These activities offer practical application of academic concepts and teach valuable life lessons.
  4. Encourage exploration and questions: Create an environment where curiosity is encouraged. Explore answers to your child’s questions together through experiments, research, or observation, fostering a love for discovery and critical thinking. See the workbook I was recommending at the beginning of this article.
  5. Focus on social and emotional learning: Engage in activities that build social skills and emotional understanding, such as cooperative games, discussing emotions, and practicing empathy.
  6. Adapt and reflect: Continuously evaluate the effectiveness of your homeschooling approach, being ready to adapt based on your child’s interests, feedback, and developmental needs. This ensures that learning remains engaging and tailored to your child’s growth.
Preschool learning tools

Tips for implementation and long-term success

Always pay attention to your child’s readiness and interests. Offering the right amount of challenge and allowing room for your child’s interests to guide learning ensures that they remain engaged and motivated.

For example, if your kid shows an eagerness to read at 2 or 3, provide them with the materials and support they need. This responsiveness encourages a love for learning and shows your child that their interests and pace are valued.

As children grow and transition into elementary years, you can gradually introduce more structured academics for core subjects like math and language arts, while keeping other areas of learning child-led. For example, you might start incorporating a more formal math curriculum while continuing to explore science, history, and art based on your child’s interests.

As your child moves into middle school, you can begin to introduce additional core subjects, adding more structure to their learning environment. This doesn’t mean abandoning child-led learning but rather, it’s about balancing structured academic goals with your child’s growing capacity for self-directed learning and exploration.

Homeschooling

GIVEAWAY TIME!

Do you have an early learner? Are you looking for some amazing resources to help make your year even better? Whether you have or will soon have a preschooler, I am positive you’re going to love the Early Learning Giveaway!

You have until the 24th of March, 2024 to enter this!

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Check out this AMAZING Prize package!

50StateBook
An Early Learners Introduction to the 50 States from In All You Do – The Early Learners Introduction to the 50 States is a fun and simple way to introduce your little ones to the United States. In these simple pages, they will color the state name, state shape, state bird, state flower and state flag. They will also be able to trace and copy facts and do a simple word search puzzle about each state. This is perfect for preschool and kindergartners.
Kinderbach Frisco with characters on keyboard with balloons Level 1 with course title 850x1100 1
KinderBach Level 1 from Music in Our Homeschool – KinderBach is an early childhood online piano and music theory program for children ages 2 to 7 where young children thrive in learning from fun characters and animations, songs and chants, games, playing simple instruments, and more.
Number Tracing Worksheets PDF Spring Edition Number tracing to 10 preschool
Number Tracing- My First Number Workbook – Spring Edition from Monkey and Mom – “My First Numbers Workbook- Spring Edition” is a digital workbook offering preschoolers a fun way to learn numbers 1 to 10 through spring-themed tracing, cutting, coloring, and interactive counting activities. With over 70 colorful pages, it enhances fine motor skills, number recognition, and foundational math skills, using visual exercises and number patterns, all designed to make number learning engaging.
The Homeschool Scientist Shark Gift Pack 1080 940 x 788
24 Shark Teeth & Printable Pack from The Homeschool Scientist – This learning pack includes 24 shark teeth from Florida and our DIGITAL 65+ page study of sharks. Topics covered include the unique features of sharks, shark anatomy, shark teeth, shark identification cards, food webs, and more! Use this with a range of grades K-6. We have also included some fun puzzle pages.
Seasons PD Mats Insta
Seasons PlayDoh Mats Bundle from Our Crazy Adventures In Autismland – Use this different seasons PlayDoh mats bundle to teach your autistic child all about what to expect for upcoming events while having fun.
 

Learn more about each of the 2024 Early Learning Giveaway Sponsors

This giveaway wouldn’t be possible without our amazing sponsors! We encourage you to visit their site and take a look around at all their wonderful products perfect for homeschoolers! Thanks to these amazing bloggers and brands that love supporting the homeschool community, we’re giving away more than $110 in Early Learning products!  
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 You are responsible for reading the Terms and Conditions before entering. Entering this giveaway confirms that you have read and understand the terms.

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Personal reflections

As parents, we often feel the pressure to provide the best of everything for our children, especially when it comes to education. However, my journey with Marc has taught me that the best doesn’t always mean the most expensive or the most structured, especially during those early learning years.

Looking back on our preschool years, what felt like “just being there” for Marc was, in fact, the most special and impactful approach I could have taken. It wasn’t about doing something extraordinary or filling his days with curriculum, but about nurturing our bond and his curiosity.

This realization has been both humbling and liberating. Sometimes, the best thing we can do for our children is simply to be present and do our best.

Incorporating being present into the daily rhythm of homeschooling didn’t mean we lacked structure or intent. It simply meant that the structure we had was fluid, dictated by Marc’s curiosity and our desire to make learning a natural part of life.

And the result?

Homeschooling with Bookshark

A healthy, happy child who is now confidently stepping into his teenage years, and who has a strong relationship with his parents and with academics because learning feels natural to him (both in structured and unstructured forms).

And I just watch and smile, patting myself on the back for having made all the right decisions at the right time. There’s a time for everything and as long as you OBSERVE your child and give them the opportunities they need, they will flourish!

So what’s your take on this? How do you plan to homeschool preschool years? Let me know in the comments. I’d love to talk more about it.

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