Homeschool, Kids

How To Homeschool Preschool: A Practical Guide

Any parent can learn how to homeschool preschool! When I first started, I was so intimidated and wondered what my child would need to know to be ready for kindergarten. It hit me that although my kids were learning through play (which is most of what they do at preschool), they weren’t learning some things yet like letters and sounds. Like every homeschool mom, I wanted to be sure they were not behind, especially if I was considering sending them to kindergarten.

Sending both our kids to preschool is too expensive at this point.  So after a short unnecessary panic, I started researching how to homeschool preschool.  Once you know what they need to know, then you can make a plan. I have a basic checklist to make sure my kids know what they need to before kindergarten.  So I’ll teach you exactly what we do and what you need to know!

This post contains affiliate links.

What do kids learn if you send them to preschool?

Update 2018: I highly recommend finding out what your school district would like kids to know entering Kindergarten, to give you an idea of an end goal for preschool. This varies by state. There is no common core curriculum for Pre-K, but most states have adopted the common core curriculum which starts in Kindergarten.

Parents send their kids age 2-5 or so to preschool in the USA.  You are probably already doing half this list without trying to “do preschool”.  Yay! And don’t panic, because you absolutely don’t need a curriculum, unless you want one. Then that’s fine.

Most of what they need to learn will come naturally through daily activities, play, and chatting all day with mom (I can barely remember my life without kids chatting all day! 😉

Academic skills

  • Identify numbers 1-10
  • Counting 1-29 (once they can do this, they will be able to go all the way up to 99 due to the pattern. That is expected by the end of Kindergarten)
  • Shapes & Colors
  • Say and identify the ABC’s lowercase and uppercase
  • Identify sounds that letters make lowercase and uppercase
  • How to write their name
  • How to hold a pencil and use scissors
  • Learn to use glue and paper
  • How to draw pictures and shapes by first tracing
  • Be able to rhyme words with a new sound. For example what rhymes with ball and starts with the sound “t” (tall).
  • Learn context for “today”, “yesterday”, “tomorrow”
  • Days of the Week, Months of the Year, and names of Seasons

Other skills

  • Following Directions
  • Sit and listen without interrupting
  • Taking turns
  • Imaginative Play
  • Learn to wash hands
  • Waiting in line
  • Memorizing parent’s names and address
  • Pull up own pants and put on a coat

How to homeschool preschool with a 4 year old

This is what’s working well for us. It’s not a letter a week curriculum. It’s lot’s of hands on play, about 15 minutes/day of reading out loud, and about 30 minutes/day (often every other day) of structured learning. For that, I bought a few supplemental books to teach my preschooler the skills he needs to prepare for kindergarten.

I did not want to buy expensive homeschool preschool curriculum, so to start I chose:

  1. Art supplies for some preschool craft activities.
  2. This reading book for my 4 year old to learn sounds and letter names.
  3. This preschool activity book that works on colors, shapes, patterns, tracing, and letter recognition.
  4. Kumon dry erase uppercase & lowercase flashcards to practice tracing letters we learn.

Step 1: Get supplies for preschool craft activities

I think it’s helpful to order a few crafts and tools online to have around.  You cant really go wrong if you find stuff that helps show them numbers, shapes, letters, and colors.

I keep a cupboard that has supplies in it including:

  • Crayons
  • Markers
  • Blank Paper
  • Play Doh
  • Craft items
  • Acrylic paints & Do A Dot Markers

Step 2: Pick a time each day for formal learning

I like the morning after breakfast. I’m fresh, we haven’t done any T.V. yet, we can still go to the park or have a play date after, and it’s out of the way by naps. We do about 15-30 minutes of formal learning each day with my 4 year old.

This is my one on one time with him where I’m the teacher. It’s for doing a few pages in his workbook (with me as he needs help knowing what to do on each page), doing a short reading lesson, or for practicing tracing shapes and letters. I adjust this to fit what he’s interested in and seemingly capable of.

Step 3. Pick a time each day for informal learning

Pick an activity (We usually do 15 minutes or as long as they are having fun). Or go somewhere. Here’s some ideas:

  • Play Doh
  • Draw/Color
  • Pinterest craft
  • Bean scooping
  • Color a picture for a  pen pal
  • Go to the park
  • Make a list of things to find outside (a treasure hunt!)
  • Chalk drawing/ hop scotch
  • Build something together
  • Bake something together
  • Go swimming
  • Visit the science center or zoo

I think as mamas we tend to forget where most of life skills are learned in preschool. It’s from playing and being with mom and asking questions ALL DAY. Don’t undervalue this, because it’s so influential.

A preschool activity book to get you started:

We have the Big Preschool ABC book pictured below and it’s awesome! If you just want one item to start, try this. There are 300 pages inside, with tons of tracing, coloring, counting, matching, numbers, patterns, and more!

My 4 year old boy loves it, and can do 3-4 pages at a time.

Update May 2018: We LOVE the Big Preschool Book, but it may have been nice to have two since my 3 year old wants to participate now (although she’s sloppier). We have just been tearing out pages for her, and they do tear out easily without ripping btw!

 

Below are some fun activities for your tool kit. The Melissa and Doug duo below has activities for using scissors and tape (scissors and tape included), and if you are looking for just cutting practice the Kumon book has 80 pages of cutting practice for beginners, ages 2+ (although most reviewers say it’s perfect around age 4). You will have to buy a pair of safety scissors separately though with the Kumon book.

How to do preschool with two kids?

If your kid’s are different ages, you likely will have to two separate one on one times. Which also means finding something to keep the other kids busy. If that has to be a show, no judgement here!

My almost 3 year old girl does not really “do preschool” yet. She plays with her 4.5 year old brother, sings songs, is mom’s sidekick, and entertains my 11 month old. Her language skills have been incredible since she was 2. She listens to stories, and loves sensory activities but her attention span is just too short and she has no interest in formal learning yet.

Each child will do preschool at a different pace

I’ve seen a huge difference in what my boy and girl have been capable of at parallel ages. I’ve learned boys are usually (not always) quite behind little girls at this age, so don’t worry. When it comes to how to homeschool preschool, there’s MANY good ways, and it might look different for each of your kids.

For me, I try stuff out and see if they can do it. If not, I try again later!

How much time should preschool take each day

I have a 11 month old, and a 3 and 4.5-year-old at home.  I’m not a very scheduled person so the hardest part of “doing preschool” is actually blocking out some time for learning.  And I mean, very little time for formal learning, like 30 minutes or two 15 minute blocks!

At this age, it doesn’t even have to be every day.  If you spend 30 minutes a day intentionally learning things, your preschooler is going to learn a lot! Even just using time every day to sit and read to them would be a great start.

But if I’m honest, school is happening ALL day in preschool because they are always wanting to help, to build, to climb, to bake, helping mom match socks, to count how many books we have, you get the idea.

Most preschool-aged kids only go 2-3 half days a week, unless their parents are paying a lot more. And much of the day is spent playing and using their imaginations, not “doing school”. Their attention spans are just too small for hours of formal learning.

Our homeschool preschool schedule

Most people I’ve learned from recommend doing “school” as part of a routine.  Not necessarily at a set time.  More so the kids (and myself) know what’s coming next. We do 1-2 short blocks of more formal learning each day before lunch.

I say blocks of time because my almost-3-year-old’s attention span is a lot shorter than my 4-year-old. So a block of time for her is around 10 minutes (and like I said, we don’t formally do any preschool for her yet) and a block of time for my 4-year-old is 10-20 min.

Example daily preschool schedule starting after breakfast:

  1. Learning activity (formal things I want to teach one on one) (20 min)
  2. Hands on play for as long as they care to play. Usually Play Doh, Duplos, drawing, stamps, etc.
  3. I read out loud for about 15 min.
  4. Watch a show, run errands, play date, or just play at home till lunch.
  5. Tidy & Naptime
  6. That’s it! Afternoons we play, build, make food, go outside, or watch a show if I need to get something done.

What we usually include in our preschool routine

Our new routine has been to eat breakfast, the kids play while mom finishes her coffee, and then I do a reading lesson out of this reading book with my 4-year-old while my almost 3-year-old plays and my baby is still sleeping.  This takes us about 15 minutes.

I’m flexible about doing something else during this time like The Big Preschool Workbook, and when he finishes this book I plan to practice early learner books (one line per page books). Also, check out the Dollar Store for great preschool workbooks with games, matching, tracing, etc!

Check out my post to see how you can teach your child to read! And by the way, this is just a bonus because your child will not be learning to read at preschool if you send them so no pressure!

After that he gets to watch a show.  And if I can be honest I think he LOVES his reading lesson because of the reward of a show.  I don’t care if it motivates him to read! We are in lesson 20 and he can already read sentences like “An ant sat on a seed”. You could always save the show for later or find a different reward too!

After the show, I’ll crack out some kind of hands-on thing. Pinterest can be your best friend if you need ideas, but we mostly do Play Doh, bake something, build a fort, color, whatever.

Follow their interests

The perfect time to teach them something new is when they are showing signs of interest. For example:

  • Do they point at shapes and say the name? Teach them more shapes!
  • Do they guess the wrong color on a shirt? Teach them more colors!
  • Does your preschooler hold coins they find and guess the name? Show the names of all the coins!
  • Has your preschooler scribbled to pretend writing? Teach them to hold a pencil and how to draw a circle and a vertical line (pre-writing skills).

Those are just a few suggestions. I’ve also found my kids are so much more engaged when we learn through games rather than flashcards of any kind. For instance, learning to recognize numbers is more fun when you have to match them up or do a “connect the dot” picture then just a flashcard. (These are all done well in the Big Preschool Workbook and most all preschool workbooks I’ve found).

If you already read to your kids, let them color, sing the ABC’s and point out shapes or sounds on things like cereal boxes, then you are already doing most of what I consider preschool. Basically every day I just ask myself did they learn something new? Do an activity? Play nicely? Get exercise? Then hurray!

Related Post: 24 Indoor activities for toddlers

A favorite school room tool

Something that gets used most days for preschool, as well as just play, is our art easel.  We use this one by Hape Toys, provided to us free from Hape Toys and it has been a key tool I use for both play and preschool. It has a whiteboard, paper roll, empty paint pots, and a blackboard.

You will need to buy your own markers and paint and chalk and brushes, and an extra paper roll as the one that comes with it has barely any paper. If you are on the fence like I was about getting one, I can say it is honestly a favorite and never collects dust like most of their toys.

Photo of two preschoolers painting on an art easel, how to homeschool preschool with Montessori

 

Related Post: One income, one family, 5 people: How I am able to stay at home.

Examples of how to homeschool preschool

How I teach numbers & counting

For number recognition, I just draw numbers out on paper. Or they learn them in the Big Preschool Workbook through matching games, connect the dots, and other fun ways.

For learning to count out loud we just do it every day!  I don’t worry if they get it wrong and say 5, 6, 9, 10…enough repetition and they will get it right! We go all the way up to 20.

I ask them how many of something there is, like cereal bowls on the table.  Or buttons on a shirt.  Or bananas in the bundle.  Then I help them count while I touch each one.  We also have books that have numbers in them and those help with recognizing the number as well as counting.

Related Post: How to end the battle of the picky eater in one week.

How I teach letters

We sing the ABC song every night while brushing teeth.  It’s about as long as I need them to keep their mouth open, so they know that song! As for letter recognition and beginning letter tracing, we love these dry erase flashcards. They have letters on one side and pictures that begin with that letter on the other side they can color. 

I know some people who do a new letter each week and theme their preschool week around that letter.  So fun if you can organize that! We do it a little differently.

My 4-year-old is learning to read (totally not a requirement for preschool just so you know), and the book we use does not teach letters in order from A-Z.

So, we learn the lowercase letters as he learns the sounds in his book, usually one new letter every few days.  If you do not use this book, you will want to find another fun way to teach letters and the sounds they make.

Reusable Kumon lowercase letter flashcards used by kids for learning to trace letters in homeschool preschool
I like that these have a star to know where to start, arrows to tell which direction to go, and where to end.

And my almost 3-year-old is not yet learning letters, although she is capable I think.  She just likes to color in the letter 🙂

Another great tool for teaching letters and associating them with objects are these fun water wow cards from Melissa and Doug. Our kids loved and used them waaaay before ever “doing” preschool because they are really entertaining.

You “paint” with the water stick and the photo starting with that letter  appears. Plus they are reusable! I can’t recommend them enough, even if you are far away from teaching the alphabet. We got ours around age 2. This is an especially great tool to take to doctor appointments, in the car, or on an airplane.

You may like: How to teach your child to read using this one easy book!

How I teach sounds

We teach sounds using the reading book How to Teach Your Child to Read in 100 Easy Lessons.  It is a lifesaver for teaching reading (again, this is advanced for preschool) and teaches me exactly what to do. Honestly, I hadn’t taught sounds to my son till we started the book. Once again, you will want another tool for teaching sounds if not this one.

I’m just 20 lessons in and Nigel can say SO many sounds, and can sound out so many words!  Just today on our way into church, he stopped to look at the “sounds” he saw on a car that spelled out “J-E-E-P”.  We point out sounds he has learned in the book all throughout the day, like on books, cereal boxes, and packages.

Related Post: Treasure Hunt Preschool Activity to Teach Prepositions

How I teach colors and shapes

This is probably one of the easiest things to teach and learn, and most baby books start with shapes and colors.   And I’ve found that books with shapes and colors will go a long way in teaching preschool at home. Lots of my friend’s kids know their shapes and colors early from learning shows or apps.

We also love this clock below (click the pic to see where to get it) for teaching letters, colors, and numbers. It’s a really great educational tool that the kids love to play with, and I’ll use it later on too when I’m teaching them to tell time.


Related Post: Dinosaur Activities preschoolers will play with for hours

Hands-on creative play

I feel like one of the best parts of homeschooling preschool is just making learning fun and letting them discover through play.  Lots of preschool moms enjoy matching a hands-on activity that matches the letter they are working on, or the color, shape, etc. I don’t really plan enough yet to do that, (you crafty moms are amazing to me!) so instead I just kind of rotate through sensory activities.

This includes Play Doh, digging outside, stacking blocks, making indoor obstacle courses, sorting toys we have by color or shape, sidewalk chalk, cooking with mom, and crafts if I can get to the dollar store once in a while. Call it preschool if you want.  I think a lot of it is just a day in the life of a stay at home mom, for real!

preschool boy playing outside in an outdoor play kitchen, part of a homeschool preschool
Check out this post to see how we made this easy outdoor kitchen using junk we had around the house.

The hardest part is planning

What I like least about teaching preschool is coming up with activities. My brain just doesn’t do that! If you are like me in that way then tap into other mom’s creative juices on Pinterest and find 10 things you could easily do if you had the supplies. Then get the supplies.  I promise you this will make preschool more fun for you and them!

The other hardest part is just starting. With the arrival of our third baby I felt pretty frazzled and stretched for time. How in the world was I going to add something like preschool? The truth is, not much got added, but I became a bit more intentional with early reading.

Most your friends will not be homeschooling their preschoolers

All my mom friends were sending their kids to preschool 2-3 days a week and getting a break, which quickly made me feel sorry for myself that I don’t get one (embarrassing to admit, I know, but honest!). Once I got over my pity party and made a plan, which you now have from this post, it got easier!

After doing this for a few months now, I see it takes a lot less time than I thought, and it is actually pretty cool to see them learn stuff.

Update October 2018: How preschool at home has turned out after 1 year.

I’m now trying to homeschool preschool my 3.5 and now 5 year old, while my 1.5 year old often interrupts or needs something. It’s a new challenge, and hard to juggle because interruptions happen every time!

I now do one on one time with each. Thankfully there is one kid to distract my toddler which helps! Also, my daughter usually naps for less time than the rest, so I may end up trying to do one on one things with her then.

The reason I’m happy with our laid back approach so far is that my new 5 year old is showing huge progress! He’s writing some letters (including his name) and reading level 1 books from the library (with help).  He can recognize numbers, count to 30 (easy to learn if you just do it in the car for “fun” haha), knows most letter names and all their sounds, shapes, colors, and still plays 90% of the day.

You can do it!

So even if you think you couldn’t possibly homeschool your preschooler, you totally can! You really can’t mess it up if you can teach the list I mentioned earlier.   And maybe you will love doing homeschool preschool so much so much you will keep homeschooling into Kindergarten!

Related Post: How to potty train boys; Everything you need to know!

Other homeschool preschool mama blogs:

Here are two other amazing homeschool mamas to check out. They will show you how simple preschool can be.

  • Anna from The Measured Mom is a former teacher turned SAHM with many great resources for homeschooling. She has a wonderful Kindergarten readiness guest post from a Kindergarten teacher that will help you measure your homeschool preschool year with examples of what’s considered “On Target”, “Mastery”, or “Red Flag” for multiple areas of learning.
  • Jamie from Simple Homeschool. She nails how to homeschool preschool with examples of how life is the curriculum and how you can be intentional with your preschoolers at home teaching them SO many important things. She is not trying to sell you a curriculum but rather show you how to teach life skills.

I would love it if you would leave me a comment with what challenges you face when it comes to starting preschool at home. I’d love to know! Also, you can follow Blue and Hazel on Instagram too.

 

How to start preschool at home the easy way. Pin for what kids need to know before starting Kindergarten? See our easy preschool schedule and how it takes a lot less preparation than you think. Get some preschool ideas here. #preschool #blueandhazel #toddler #homeschool

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59 thoughts on “How To Homeschool Preschool: A Practical Guide

  1. I absolutely love everything you said in this post! Preschool is right around the corner for my kids and I’m determined to homeschool, but it’s almost terrifying thinking of having the responsibility of teaching my children everything they need to learn. I struggle with coming up with creative ways to teach my kids, but I’ve been finding that I don’t have to bend over backwards to teach them. Everything you said is so encouraging to me and it reminds me that I don’t have to be perfect in doing this. Thank you!!!

    1. Sarah I know exactly how you feel! It’s strange how we can feel overwhelmed by teaching preschool but it’s nice to know you can’t really mess it up too much. Good luck to you and be sure to check back for new posts as we discover more preschool ideas.

  2. Thank you, this post is perfect!! I’m a stay at home mom from South Africa, determined to homeschool my 2 kids, but most of the time I’m just overwhelmed by the idea of it!

    1. Hi Natasja! I’m so glad you found this helpful. I see tons of “activities” all over Pinterest for preschoolers, but it was harder to find “a day in the life of” a homeschool preschool that didn’t scare me away. This is working well for us, and I know you can do it too! Did you get the free daily checklist printable?

  3. Great post! Thank you! My 5 yr old twins have chronic lung disease from being born at 26 weeks. They had been in a halfday preK but with all of the sickness and flu this winter my husband and I decided to start homeschooling. If they were to get the flu it wouldn’t be an easy recovery and we have spent enough time in hospitals. I agree with blocking out the time. I do unit learning with a different subject every week or so. Pinterest has so many resources. Coming up with crafts and science experiments is easy for me but I’m overwhelmed when I think about teaching them to read. Thanks for the links! I just ordered the book you posted so hopefuly that will help lead me! I think my greatest concern is missing something and making them behind. We haven’t decided if we will homeschool for kindergarten or not but so far we are having lots of fun!

    1. Hi Katie,
      Wow that sounds like a really good decision for you guys. You are a strong mama for doing what you think is best for your twins, as it sounds like it’s been a hard road. I would love to get a bit more organized to try weeklong units like you said, great idea! I hope you find the book really helpful. My only advice is to read how to use it before sitting down with each kid, and maybe even practice by yourself so you get the hang of what to do those first few pages. We have taken it slow, sometimes half a lesson a day if his attention is short, and it really works. Let me know how its going!

    1. Hi Suzanne, ya it’s a lot easier so far than I imagined, especially once I stopped feeling the need to do so much. Just a basic short addition to whats already going on at home has worked well here! Have fun with it!

    1. Hi Vanessa,
      Yes I saw this past week what changing up the routine did. I started having the kids go play outside first thing and it was really hard to do learning time just before nap time for us. I’m sure it’s different for everyone but I’m going to switch back to how we had it! Thanks for reading and have fun with it.

  4. Thanks for posting this! I have a 2 year old, and for some reason I feel pressure to send him to preschool this fall (I stay home with him and our 6 month old). It’s encouraging to see that it’s so doable to do at home, and that playing practically all day is still ok 😉

    1. Hi April! You are so normal to feel that way! In all honesty, I think most two year olds in preschool are there because either their parents work or mama needs a break! Not at all for academic reasons. I used to feel guilty for not having all these fun activities at home like they might get at “school” but really the kids are happy so long as mom is with them and paying attention. Keep up the hard work!

  5. Liz, thank you for your post. I’m sure new parents will find it helpful. I worked in Early Childhood services (birth to five) as a speech pathologist. I wanted to reassure you that even on those days that you feel you aren’t doing something specific, you are still naturally teaching skills to your children. Even a walk (not sure how that is done with three children😊) is a learning activity. Parents have the wonderful tool of language and kids are sponges! Every time you describe what you/they see or do, you are providing a language lesson—you can’t help it, it just happens naturally. You might not have it exactly planned what concepts you’ll be introducing—that makes some uncomfortable. But you’ll be using lots of vocabulary (color, shape words, number words, loud/quiet, warm/cold, rough/smooth, etc.) just by talking as you go on a walk. This can happen during any activity, not just walks. I just want you to know that it can definitely be counted at preschool teaching even when it is unplanned—as long as you are talking!

    1. Hi Susie! I absolutely love your background and what you had to say! You are so right that the majority of learning comes from talking together doing everyday things. I think that is why I’m not even worried about “doing
      preschool for my almost 3-year-old, although she tries to keep up with her older brother ;-). She already knows so many things just from listening to me talk to my 4.5 year old and from chatting all day. I would love to write a whole post on the importance of what you have said because it is very true!

  6. I teach Pre-K. I’m a certified teacher with my Master’s Degree. While you are on track with what you teach, much more needs to be added to your at home curriculum. Children need to know numbers up to 30 and how to write them. They need to know ten frames & sets 0-10. Other math concepts include: coins, basic 3-D shapes, Patterns AB, AABB, & ABC .
    For Reading , children need to know syllables, parts of a book, author illustrator, framing sentences & words. Children need to know punctuation marks. They need to know basic sight words, basic word families as well. They should be familiar with how to use a computer and know to recognize their given first and last name. They should be able to write it according to the Zaner-Bloser Method of writing.
    This is what I thought of off the top of my head of what I teach in Pre-K. I hope it helps! 🙂

    1. Hi Kathy,
      Thanks for taking the time to write all that down and I will surely be looking into this! I know moms want to make sure they don’t get behind so very good information here.

    2. No way! I’m also a Master teacher. Most of those skills are Kindergarten skills. Pushing so much so early takes away from building a SOLID foundation for future learning. Pre-K kids should be learning 90% through play. Don’t scare off the parents-while I obviously think preschool is great-parents can do most academic skills at home just through interacting throughout the day!

    3. I have to say, while all of this sound “certified teaching” we have never met these kids. We don’t know how they learn, what their interested are or how long their attention span is. I know that I know my daughter, how she understands things, I can see her figuring things out on her own and I can see when she needs help. Every child is different and they all learn different thing at different times… they don’t NEED to know numberd 1-30: they need to understand that numbers continue past 10, they don’t NEED TO recognize syllables, they should want to pick up books to “read.” All of the random standardized requirements that you wrote are fine for a school setting, but she’s homeschooling. Not the same thing, not the same pace, and she’s not a teacher, she’s their mom. Thank you for being a teacher, as I understand it’s an overwhelming and underpaid position, but lumping all kids to one way of learning is probably not conducive to learning, or mothering for that matter. Just my opinion.

    4. In Pre K? You’ve got to be kidding!!! Not sure where you got your Master’s degree, but my MA and 43 years or teaching young children has shown me differently. When children are given the opportunity to make learning fun and meaningful, they will learn AND UNDERSTAND what they need to move on to the next stage.

    1. Hi Meghan,
      Thank you so much for the nice words and I really hope it helps get you started. Stay tuned as I’ll be adding new posts on specific preschool activities we are trying out at home soon!

  7. Kathy is right. Here in Ontario, Canada we have 2 years of full day kindergarten with the kids starting in the year they turn 4. They are introducing them to sight words and learning about the author and illustrator of the book they are sent home with daily in their first year. They learn patterns mostly through their crafts and activities so it is play based sort of. They are learning addition and subtraction up to ten not just counting up to ten. Just because they are using craft supplies and such to teach these concepts does not mean it is unstructured and unplanned. So when you consider there are a lot of 3 yr olds still in pull ups and at 4 they have this many expectations put on them you have to wonder if we are pushing too much.

  8. COngrats for taking this on! My kids are now in 1st and 3rd, and I am proud that our district just this year started offering a full day Pre-K, free of charge. More areas should implement this. The cost is really crazy. I can see why some opt to do it at home. Plus then the schedule gives you the flexibility to work around trips to the zoo, museums, playdates, other kids naps.

    1. Thanks! The flexibility is very nice for sure as well as watching them learn. And yes, the cost of preschool is high enough to deter many and I’m glad you could be part of a free one!

  9. Love the detail you get into with this post. I remember how it felt when I was going through this with my son – kinda terrifying – yup, I can relate! I think you’ve covered it all, Love. My biggest add to this for parents who want to “do preschool” at home is to play (kids respond to this!) – in fact, play school is a more appropriate word in my book. Great post! xo Evelyn, PathofPresence.com

    1. Hi Evelyn,
      Thanks for the nice words. I think you are so right about “playing”, and preschool could definitely be called “playschool”. In fact, that’s mostly what the day consists of and how my kids learn…through play and chatting with mom! That’s one reason why I think any mom can succeed in homeschool preschool. Thanks again!

  10. This post is a Godsend. Really. I’ve been overwhelmed with figuring out preschool. Scared he would be behind because he turned 3 in October. And every time I think I’ve found a curriculum I can print and use it requires a lot of items I don’t have (and can’t get right now) or a lot of laminating. (Which isn’t cheap at $2-3 per sheet). But in this post you have simplified it all for me and encouraged me to know I can do it and what I’ve been doing counts too. Amazing. I really can’t thank you enough. And you haven’t charged me a scent. Wow.Thank you thank you thank you. God bless you and your family. New subscriber. 🙂

    1. Rhonda,
      I felt the same before starting with my 3 & 4 year old. I really believe you can do it all without buying much! Of course there’s a bunch of stuff that you could buy that might be fun or helpful, but with preschool you can really do it all with free resources too! Yay for all those free internet printables and parents who care 🙂 Good luck!

    2. Hi Rhonda,
      Instead of laminating I use clear contact paper. I teach Kindergarten and didn’t like the thought of how long laminated paper takes to break down in our land fills—so I either just remake if they get icky or use contact paper. It’s been working out well

  11. Love your post! As a mom of 3 myself I can definitely relate to everything you said. Your post has motivated me to just start “doing” preschool with my older two children. Your suggestions are very helpful. Thank you for sharing.

    1. Hi Rosemary, sounds like you and I are in a similar boat with three littles! I focus the most on my older child who is 4 and let my 3 year old participate when she wants to as her attention span gets better. Keeping learning and play fun & low pressure is my goal!

  12. As a mom of 2 girls with a third baby on the way this summer, I feel short on time and feel guilty that I don’t do much with the girls. My oldest will be 4 this month and hence it’ll be officially time for preschool this year. Some things she knows great and others I haven’t even addressed to teach her. My husband is a stay at home dad and thankfully I have 3-4 days off a week from work so I can help with preschool stuff. My oldest will go to preschool more for socialization than anything else ( just VPK) and I keep wanting to do stuff with her at home than just “ send her to school”. I got some good ideas in this blog. Thank you!

    1. It sounds like our kids are about the same ages, and I feel ya when it comes to feeling like you want to do more but feel short on time. Be encouraged that you can teach preschool at home and even just talking and answering their random questions is a huge part of it!

  13. As a former preschool teacher and current homeschool mama, I think you are spot on! Of course, any family can add or subtract to these plans based on their child’s needs and abilities. I always like to know what my local school system deems important for children the ages of my own to know, however, when you are homeschooling your gauge won’t measure up exactly. I don’t think it’s important to recreate at home exactly what the public or private schools are doing if you intend to continue homeschooling. There are, of course, basic skills that can help set children up for success, but in general education is not one-size-fits-all and you have the freedom to decide what and how you teach your kiddos while exercising wisdom and discernment to guide you! Your preschool guide is great, and I will be using many of your ideas in my home! Thanks!

    1. Hi Jaclyn,
      I love what you said about knowing what your local school system is doing and wants kids to know as a guide. It’s nice that homeschooling at this young age gives us the option to be flexible with starting things when our kids are interested and ready! Thanks for stopping by and glad it gave you some ideas.

  14. Wow! I love this post. I was intimidated at first too even coming from a homeschooling family. My son is 3 and we do a ton the same stuff for preschool. He does okay with a 20-minute lesson and we sometimes pull off two on the same day. We completely love the wipe boards for letters and numbers and even drawing. They are totally worth every penny. We also do some stuff for kindergarten too. One of the coolest things about homeschooling is you don’t have to limit your child to what each “grade” requires. If they are interested in something, do it. It doesn’t hurt a thing to be ahead or a little behind. Their brains are little sponges. They’ll figure it out with a little practice. Keep going, Mamma. 🙂

    1. Jennifer thanks for the awesome encouragement! Good job with your 3 year old. 20 minutes at once is pretty awesome! I completely agree with loving how you can speed ahead or spend backtrack on things as well. I’m excited to see some of the differences in a kindergarten curriculum, especially since we have been learning to read early. Learning how to teach preschool at home has been a great time for us.

  15. I love that you make it non-stressful by breaking it up into really small blocks! Our little girl is approaching preschool age and really seems to love to learn so these ideas are great. Also we have some water wow books that we LOVE but I have never seen those alphabet cards you posted! Will definitely be getting some of those!

    1. Hi Lori, the Water Wow books are great, aren’t they?! Even if you don’t end up doing preschool at home, a lot of these activities can just be great structure for kids, even on the weekends.

  16. Great ideas! I homeschooled my oldest for preschool, and I LOVED it! I still have some of the things I used and it has really come in handy with my other kiddos. One thing I really like to do is take my kids with me to the dollar store and have them pick some things out to do fun crafts with.

    Thanks for joining #WanderingWednesday! 🙂

    1. Hi Shiree, that is such a good idea to see what they are drawn to at the dollar store. I think my kids eyes would get BIG! haha. But that is an affordable place to get lots of preschool crafting supplies, even for the non crafty mom like myself to do hands on preschool at home.

  17. This is so encouraging! I’m a mom to a 5,4,3 almost 2 and due in August with another. Teaching my kids has been so intimidating to me because I felt I would make them behind. After reading this, I felt encouraged in not being alone and just starting. I started my 5 year old in learning her sounds for letters. Still trying to find a good routine. The crafts and activities is my biggest challenge because I’m not creative and with little ones around it can be hard to do all that. I need to start my routine because my 3&4 year old act out when they have nothing going on. Sigh! Thanks so much for this again!

    1. Hi Maribel, you are one busy mom, so good job for everything this far! You are not alone in worrying your kids would get behind. You can use what your local preschool and kindergarten expect as a guide for learning the very, very basic academic things like sounds, letter recognition, and other things I mentioned above and then add in a fun activity when you can. As a homeschooler, your kids may not do all the crafts you would see them do at preschool(because who has time for all that when caring for younger kids?!) but they do have each other, hands on play outdoors, and “field trips” with mom that teach a lot! I’d get one or two staple activities you can pull out once a day like Play Doh, or sticker activities, that are zero prep and hands on. You got this!

  18. Thank you from the bottom of my heart!!

    I was trying to get my son who is almost 3 to sit and learn numbers/letters for 30 mins at a time. then getting annoyed with him when he wouldn’t (i know.. stupid) I was expecting wayyy too much from him and I realized at times I have more patience with my students than my own son.

    We are Australian expats living in Vietnam. I am constantly getting the question..
    “which school does Elliot go to?”
    My husband and I are teachers and we work from home. Of course we would love a break, but the thought of sending him to a (really REALLY expensive) international school here purely just to give ourselves a break sounded bizarre. We can teach him just as well if not better at home.

    You just made me realize not to put a crazy amount of pressure on both of us and that what we are doing already is good enough. We will get there! *insert determined emoji*

    Btw.. Another really fun game to play is ‘sinks and floats’. Super easy and fun little experiment to do 🙂

    1. I’m so glad this was helpful to you! I haven’t had to homeschool kids older than preschool age yet, but I know you can definitely do it! I also tried introducing a lot to my son around age 3, and he had no interest in anything other than just play. When you get asked what you are doing for school it’s easer to just say “we are doing preschool at home”. Although it’s very similar to ordinary life before I called it “preschool”, it answers people’s questions and we are actually doing a few added things that I’ve mentioned in the post. Don’t feel any pressure! And what I’ve found, is that it becomes obvious when to try something new, because the old gets easy. For instance, instead of tracing a letter, he’s getting excited about drawing it on his own with a blank piece of paper. So preschool progresses toward Kindergarten naturally, even without knowing what skill goes into which grade. Good luck! Also I’ll try the sink or float game, thanks!

    1. Hi Michele, starting some of these fun preschool activities around 3 years would be perfect! Good luck with whatever you decide for school.

  19. I love your emphasis on learning as an integral part of everyday activities like matching socks! We are still focused on play based learning but I would like to add a routine, as you said I think it would be helpful for my daughter to know what is coming up next!

    1. Hi Haddie, Yes when it comes to preschool I’d say most of the learning comes from doing life with mom. For us, that means that instead of me doing everything alone faster (like matching socks or measuring ingredients), I can try and include them. It goes a lot slower so we don’t do that every time, but I know it’s part of their learning when I do!

    1. Melissa you are welcome and please feel free to let me know if there are some things that you would like more help with or would like to see more of on the blog!You can homeschool preschool, and as your kids grow and ask questions there will be aha moments for you on what they are ready to learn next.

    1. Stephanie so glad it helped you! Yes don’t panic, you got this. Just have a list of what you need to teach him, call the school district to see what he needs to know by Kindergarten, and do lots of outside adventures and hands on learning. You are going to have such a sweet year together.

  20. I am a retired school teacher of 22 years. I taught 1st for 11 years and kinder for 11 years. I am now teaching prek part time at an accredited preschool. You have done a good job of researching what is needed for incoming kindergarteners. You also have a great schedule set up. I am also glad you mentioned pintrest; it has so many great ideas. You can use different themes to drive the teaching and tap into your kids’ interests. Be careful of using too many worksheets and workbooks. You can teach letter writing by tracing letters in sand, flour, salt, etc. I always enjoyed letting one good book drive my teaching and activities. I am hoping to teach my grandbaby during her preschool years. You are really helping some moms out there who can’t afford private preschools. You are helping them realize they can do it.

    1. Hi Susan,
      What an encouragement to other moms and myself that they can teach their child preschool, thank you! Your background in teaching is so helpful too. I agree with you about not using too many worksheets and will keep that in mind at this age. I did actually try a letter tracing workbook with my son and it was too dull for his age and interest. While he does seem to love those dry erase letters,tracing in salt or flour would be an excellent thing to try, thank you!

  21. Thank you for this blog. What an encouragement. I am trying to figure out where to start and this relieved my concerns as I was trying to make it too complicated. Thank you also for including the books you used. There are so many out there and I was at a loss as to where to start. Thanks again.

    1. You can totally homeschool your preschooler, you got this! Set aside a little one on one time each day. Also find a friend who is homeschooling or a friend that you can visit each week so your preschooler can play with kids his/her age. That has been one of the trickiest things for us as my preschoolers approach age 5 and 3.5. Glad to have you here!

  22. This post was so informative and practical. I bought many of the suggestions. I’m doing the Horizon curriculum bc I found it at a reduced price but the teachers guide was so overwhelming and scripted that I did not find it sustainable. My kid plays like crazy so thank you for the reminder/encouragement. The expectations on kids is so crazy and really any benefit from preK is lost by 3rd grade so shoving material into a 4 yr old feels wrong. You are not in NC by chance? I feel like we would be good friends!

    1. Hi Jheri,
      I hope you like some of the same preschool tools we have used! It’s a very laid back approach that we like. I don’t live in NC 🙁 But do look up your town name + homeschool group on FB and see what pops up! I just found a couple groups we are looking into because all the kids my son’s age (5 now) are in full time Kindergarten so play dates are not much of an option.

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