Preschool is such a fun age to homeschool.
They are experiencing everything for the first time and, as a homeschool parent, you get to share those special learning moments with them. I treasure those years and memories.
If I had to do it all over again there really isn't much I'd change. But of course, there are a few things that I'd do differently!
- Turn off the tv - I relied on the tv a little too much, I think. Since I have an only child it was sometimes difficult to get her to play by herself. And too often I'd settle on television as the babysitter.
- More time reading aloud - We did a fair bit of reading aloud but I wish I had done more.
- More time spent studying - I spent many hours researching so many different homeschool programs. There's absolutely nothing wrong with researching and planning. But my time would have been better spent studying and preparing myself for later stages of learning.
I didn't do everything wrong - there are quite a few things that I'm glad we did. We had a daily quiet time when TJ learned to play and, later on, read quietly. We still have a daily quiet time - it's a favorite time of the day for both of us.
And we did homeschool stuff - phonics, some math, handwriting practice, reading, and fun activities. But there is one very important part of your child's day that you should never forget to include in those early years.
The most important thing to do in the preschool years:
Lots and lots of time spent in imaginative play is the absolute best thing you can give them. It's better than all the workbooks & flashcards combined. Imaginative play is so important for children - it's important for cognitive development and mental freedom. Don't discount your child's need for free play.
But of course, you'll probably want to spend some time with those cute little preschool programs!
Here are my favorite preschool resources:
- Preschool workbooks from Study Time Publishers - these adorable books are perfect for littles who want to "do school". A great follow-up series is the Rod & Staff Preschool ABC series.
- The Ordinary Parents Guide to Teaching Reading (from Peace Hill Press) - it's black-and-white and no frills but it gets the job done. We took lots of breaks and added in lots of fun games.
- RightStart Math - I really love this program for young learners. The hands-on aspect and number visualization are great for this age.
- Activity Bags - for those times you need a few minutes. Give the kid an activity bag to keep them occupied while you're busy with other things.
- Lots of picture books and audio books - to read aloud, look at, and listen to.
If you do the more formal approach with math and reading, always remember to take a break if necessary. Don't push your child when they might not be developmentally ready. Kids all learn and grow at different rates. There's no point in frustrating you or your child if they are just not ready to blend vowel sounds.
I encourage you, if you still have a houseful full of littles - cherish those special moments but make time for your own learning. Don't spend so much time researching and planning or trying to use so many programs that you run the risk of burning out - you or your child. Use that enthusiasm to fuel your own educational pursuits. Soon enough they will be entering 5th grade and have piles of questions that you might not be able to answer (ask me how I know!).
If you had to do preschool over again what would you do differently?