I have had a lot of people ask me when they should start homeschooling their preschoolers. The answer varies from child to child. But, isn't that the joy of homeschooling? We get to start where our child is at and be the best teacher they could ever have. We are cheering them on for their accomplishments rather than stressing over them keeping up.
I’ve talked to people who say their 3-year-old can sound out all of the letters in the alphabet and some people struggle with keeping their 5-year-old child’s attention. This is why I say it depends on your child.
I know how it feels to want to start homeschooling but remember, you are teaching your child from the moment they are born. So, even if you aren't formally teaching them, they are learning and, learning so much more than the ABCs and the 123s! They are learning social skills, fine motor skills, hand-eye coordination, life skills, and so much more just by doing simple everyday tasks.
Homeschooling is a journey that requires patience, flexibility, and lots of love. It's not about comparing your child's progress to someone else's or trying to fit into a certain standard curriculum. It's about tailoring your child's education to their individual needs, interests, and learning styles. It can be as simple as asking your child to help you with a task or a conversation while you are at the store or a song while you are driving.
As their parent, you know your child best. You know what motivates them, what challenges them, and how they learn best.
My kids are a year and a half apart. When I had my second child, we watched a lot of educational videos and listened to a lot of songs. We sang a lot! Those songs are catchy so I would be singing them all the time. Your kids are listening. So if you are singing to yourself while your kids are in the bath, they are listening! We also did a lot of crafts, hands-on activities, and games.
I incorporated more learning at about 3. We did more and more learning time as I felt my kids could handle it. I tried different things to see what my kids liked. I realized quickly that what I like isn't always what they like.
Some people will say, “Just let kids play”, “Don’t push them too hard” or “You don’t need any formal preschool curriculum”. For me, preschool gave me structure in our day (even if it was child-led) and a test run at homeschooling to work out the kinks. But, I made sure it was fun so my kids enjoyed it.
Through all of the trial and error, I actually ended up creating my own parent/child-led curriculum. You can check it out here:
Once my kids turned 4, I started buckling down and making goals. If you need some help, check out my PRESCHOOL CURRICULUM MAP:
WHEN TO TAKE A STEP BACK
If your child is fighting against you during learning time, you may need to take a step back. In these younger years, learning should be fun. I know that once we decide to homeschool, we get so excited and can’t wait to start. Just make sure your child is ready. Studies have shown that kids who are pushed too hard too soon will hold on to that negativity towards learning for many years.
WHAT COULD YOU BE DOING WRONG?
Look at how you are introducing learning time to him or her.
Are you set up like a traditional school?
Are you doing too many worksheets?
Are you doing what is fun for you rather than what is fun for them?
WHAT COULD YOU BE DOING DIFFERENT?
Ask yourself, could you be doing something different or are you starting too soon?
Teach through casual talk throughout your day.
Try saying, "Do you want to play a game?" rather than, "It's time for school." or "It's time for learning."
Doing activities they enjoy will make a huge difference in how much information they retain.
Remember, at this age, learning happens all around us and at all times of the day.
At this age, most kids learn best through playing, singing, and talking.
Children are natural learners and it is our job as parents to foster their curiosity and love for learning. I know how excited you are and for that reason alone, you are going to do AMAZING!
**ALL THINGS HOMESCHOOL PRESCHOOL**
Check out my preschool curriculum! This is where you get all of my unit studies, activities, and tips!
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