Just your friendly ETTC Homeschool Mom coming at you with my Tips for Teaching Preschool at Home! This year I started my homeschool journey with my oldest child Marie, and a journey it has been let me tell you. Homeschool can be a challenge, you have to come up with your curriculum and plan on your own, you have to sacrifice your time to teach your little one, and also sometimes your sanity. But don’t let me fool you, homeschool has also been a blessing. I get to be home with my kids, I get to customize their learning experience based on how best they learn. Also, it can be really fun and an opportunity to share great memories with your kids! So enough babbling, here are some of my tips for you!
Tip #1 – Don’t Spend All Your Money!
I wish someone had told me this straight off the bat because I spent hundreds of dollars on curriculums, posters, and things I thought I NEEDED. However, most of the items got ruined, just didn’t work for my child’s learning style, or I ended up not wanting to follow the curriculum I bought to the T. Most of the resources we do use are from the Target dollar spot, yes I said it! lol, They actually have great booklets for younger age kids for like three bucks! My daughter loves them. I also purchased the big books for pre-k from Highlights and other brands (also at Target, can you tell I’m that Target mom?). But I also found a TON of free resources on Pinterest, or just came up with my own printables. The point is you don’t need all the expensive things for your preschooler, because 9 times out of 10 they will do what they want and not what you planned lol.
Tip #2 – Freebies Are Your Friends
Going off the first tip, freebies are your friends!! There are so many great free resources out there, my favorite go-to place is of course Pinterest. But also ETTC has some great free downloads as well! There isn’t really a point in spending a ton of money on a preschool curriculum, when most likely your child will take you way off the rails. They are still so young, and most of the learning comes from play. So if you’re going to do worksheets etc, then hunt down those amazing freebies!
Check out our FREE Resource Library that contains many FREE samples of our most-loved resources as well as fun family activities and printables. (Use the code ETTC2020 to access the resources.)
Tip #3 – Play Is A Child’s Work
Now I know what you may be thinking, WHAT? Well, let me explain before you close your browser tab. Think about it, when kids go to a public school that’s their job, well, for a preschooler play is their job. HUH? You heard me! Young children learn through play, hands-on activities, and using their imaginations. Let kids be kids, especially at preschool age, it’s one of the reasons most of my ‘curriculum’ went out the window. Sure, my daughter will sit and do some worksheets and tracing activities. But really she learns best when I teach through play. They are very visual and hands-on learners at this age. So let them explore, build with blocks, play with puzzles, and dolls. If you look at it from a different perspective, building blocks teach early architecture, playing with dolls teaches social skills, and nourishes their imaginations. Puzzles help with motor skills and critical thinking. Play is so important for young learners! So let them play!
Tip #4 – Life Is A Lesson
So this one may seem obvious, but I am quite serious. Some of the best educational moments have come from day to day life. Teaching our children life skills, and how to be more independent is an important educational topic. I’m not a strict Montessori Homeschool mom, but I do pull some of their teachings into my household. I believe that giving our kids room to make their own choices, and be independent as long as it doesn’t hurt, is a great learning tool. It makes them feel proud, and that we trust them enough to make decisions. My daughter is only three years old, but she helps me put dishes away, clean the house, she brushes her own teeth and hands. I don’t assume she can’t do something just because she’s too little, instead, I give her an opportunity to surprise me! So don’t be afraid of letting life be a lesson in and of itself.
Tip #5 – Educate Yourself First
My best advice for you is to educate yourself. Unless you have some sort of teaching background already, teaching is going to be a new challenge for you. One of the best things I did for myself was to read books! One of my favorite books I read was The Brave Learner by Julie Bogart. This book changed my homeschool life! It changed my outlook on teaching, on my child, and how educating at home can be a real joy. It helped me be a better mom and a better teacher. So educate yourself! Don’t be afraid to read up, take classes, or reach out to your teacher/homeschool friends for advice and tips. Having more educational tools in your belt will help you be a better educator!
Tip #6 – Learning is an Adventure!
One of the biggest misconceptions about educating at home is that we don’t socialize and our kids aren’t exposed to REAL life. Well if your a homeschool parent then you know this just isn’t true! We have so many adventures throughout our educational journey. It’s one of my favorite things about teaching at home. So don’t be afraid that your kids aren’t experiencing things the right way. Learning is an adventure, it should be fun and experimental. You can always learn from your mistakes! We love to go on nature walks, especially when there is a change in the season. Before covid we hung out with a local co-op group, now we do fun virtual meet-ups with our friends. We bake cookies, and clean dishes, I know that the last one doesn’t sound fun, but it’s a great life lesson. Not only that but we love doing fun science experiments, like making slime, which is my daughter’s favorite even if I personally can’t stand it lol. So go on those adventures and make learning fun!!!
Tip #7 – Join A Community or Make Your Own
Kids are social butterflies who love to play and hang out with kids their own age. If you are able to find a local homeschool co-op group that’s fantastic, but really just a normal playdate with friends is great. Sometimes when we educated from home, we forget that socializing and getting out of the house is just as important. Our kids need to make those connections and have time with someone other than those in their household. It’s a part of those life lessons and skills, learning to play well with others, and work through arguments. Socialization is so important!
Tip #8 – Field Trips Are For Everyone!!
Field trips were my favorite thing to do in school. I have so many amazing memories going on field trips, plus who doesn’t like skipping a day of class to have fun? Well, you can still plan field trips even if you’re at home! Some of the field trips I’ve taken my kids on are our local botanical garden which is my favorite, the Baltimore aquarium, and the Philadelphia Zoo. During autumn we like to visit our local orchards and go apple picking, buy our pumpkins, and visit their mini petting zoo. My kids love any opportunity to go on an adventure outside of the house. But a field trip could be something as simple as going to the park on a beautiful day and having a picnic. Don’t be afraid to make it an opportunity to learn as well! The point is field trips are fun, not just for the kids, but for you too. I have shared some really great moments with my kids, and that’s really important.
Tip #9 – Change Is Inevitable, So Make It Positive!
Your plans are going to come undone, the curriculum you spent hours planning for the week is going to fall apart, and that’s ok! Change is a part of life, so make it a positive experience. One thing you will learn about preschool-age kids, they have short attention spans. They can’t sit there for hours listening to your lecture, or focusing on the same activity for long. So don’t be afraid to break out of routine, and change things up! Sometimes that is where the gold mine of learning is found. In the accidents, mistakes, and uh oh’s. Don’t be so strict with yourself and your preschooler. Learning should be fun for them, not a burden. They are still young, and just being a kid should be a priority. My favorite teaching moments have come spur of the moment, during natural play, or from something we are already doing. I just turn it into something educational. So be creative, and remember change is natural, it’s your job to make it a positive change.
So those are my Tips for Teaching Preschool at Home, I know it may not seem like much. But honestly, preschool is such a ripe age for imagination, creativity, self-learning, change, and play! Your job as a preschool teacher is to use all those opportunities to help teach something. Use your child’s natural gifts, learning styles, and imaginations to customize a learning experience for them. If anything they can teach you just as much as you teach them. I wish you all the best in your preschool learning adventure, and make sure to let me know your tips and experiences down in the comments!
Written by: Brittany Coleman
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