Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Homeschooling Hands On: Preschool Years

Those of you with a toddler or preschool-aged child who are thinking about homeschooling, I want to encourage you for a minute with something that works for me. Don’t stress over the need to purchase or do a “pre-packaged” or “in the box” curriculum with your child! You can use what you already have in your home…love, patience, and a little imagination.

Did you know that they will learn and build a great foundation for learning if you just let them imagine, interact, and explore the world around them with your guidance?
Let me explain more of what I mean along with giving you some ideas to get you started.

A child’s imagination is beginning to flourish along with being very vivid and active at this early age! Have you ever taken the time, without your child knowing, to just listen to them as they play? Oh, the stories that girls can make up as they play with their dolls or that boys make up as they play with their dinosaurs! If it isn’t the stories they tell, then it is the pictures that they draw to go with a story. Here are a few things that you do to enhance those imaginations!
  • Read books or tell stories.
  • Read picture books and make up your own story.
  • Share silly rhymes or riddles.
  • Look for faces or animals in the clouds or trees.
  • Play dress-up — Set up some shelves, boxes, or hangers where there are costume elements that your child can easily access for pretend play, such as hats, capes, masks that don’t restrict vision, and whatever other fanciful items you think of.
  • Have blocks available for them to use build whatever their heart desires.
  • Have a basket of art supplies available for them.
  • Play with puppets. Make sock puppets together to use!
  • Create a tent or house out of blankets and sheets

A toddler or preschooler loves to interact with their parents or other adults. I often hear parents joke around with each other at how talkative their young ones are, but do the adults really take the time to listen to what the child is saying? Taking the time to interact with your child will not only help them to develop their verbal skills but also their world around them. It is also important that you take the time to let your child play and interact with their peers. So what can you do to help them with interaction skills?
  • Talk to your child as he/she play about the shapes, colors, and numbers of their toys.
  • Daydream together.
  • Take field trips to the zoo, museums, and library story times.
  • Get together with friends and go to the park.
  • Join a homeschool group and do play dates.
  • Do household chores together.

What young child doesn’t like to explore? They are always on the search for something. They want to have their hands on everything. They want to see it. They want to smell it. They want to taste it. Here are some things that you can do with them to help them explore.
  • Play with Playdoh.
  • Take walks and observe nature — take a magnifying glass with you!
  • Plant a garden or grow plants in pots.
  • Bake cookies.
  • Play with sand and water.
  • Do a treasure hunt.
Let them take the time to imagine, interact, and explore their world through their eyes. Relax and let them learn by imagining they are the king of the castle, interacting with you by counting the stripes on the zebra at the zoo, and exploring the backyard looking for worms!
Doing these things with my younger children helps to relieve stress and enjoy the time of their childhood because it does not last forever!

This post is linked to:

**repost from my contributing article at Happy to be at Home!


Jenny said...

I am homeschooling my daughter for Kindergarten this year. Last year we did preschool and I totally agree with your post!

It's amazing how much kids learn just being kids!

Kara said...

I agree! My 2 1/2 year old is learning all sorts of things from things we have around the house. I can even take things from my older daughters curriculum, like their math munipulatives, and she can do things with them.

momtofivekids said...

What a great post! So true!