The world is changing, and we’re all changing with it. If you suddenly find yourself trying to figure out how to do preschool at home, you’ve come to the right place. We’ve got tons of resources for teaching preschool at home, from educational activities to the best homeschool preschool curriculum. Read on for pro tips from a teacher and fellow mom in the trenches!
With a lot of uncertainty in the world right now, many of us are finding ourselves in unusual positions. Schools have closed, many are struggling financially, and kids are WAY off their routines.
In the midst of all of this, many of us are looking for ways to give our kids structure and consistency, while keeping up with our larger goals for our kids.
We’re not saying your kiddo HAS to do homeschool preschool. A day full of playing and art and sunshine will do them loads of good. But if your kids are like ours, they’re used to going to preschool, and they miss it. Many of us find ourselves teaching preschool at home, and are looking for ways to do it better.
If you’re in the same boat, we’ve got tips on how to teach preschool at home in a way that will be fun for your kids, and low stress for you.
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Set Your Homeschool Preschool Expectations
And that means for your kids AND for you. Decide what exactly you hope to get out of this. Do you want your kids to learn academic skills during preschool at home? Are you going to focus more on learning and exploration? Do you have specific goals you’d like to achieve?
Some people may want to dedicate a block of time to preschool each day- say, from 9 to 11:30, or from 3:30 to 5. Others may just want to squeeze in some learning around other activities.
Before you take on homeschooling your preschooler, really think about your child’s needs (and yours too!) and decide what would be reasonable for you.
Even with the best of intentions, life is going to happen. Maybe you’ll need to move preschool from the morning to the afternoon to accommodate a play date, or maybe your kiddo just won’t be in the mood one day. Maybe you’ll get the chance to do some on-location learning at a farm or a museum. You don’t want your schedule to get in the way of some real life experiences.
Whatever you do, you don’t want to turn preschool into something your kids are going to dread. You want to keep it light, keep it fun, and keep it something that your kids enjoy and look forward to.
Related Post: 10 Daily Activities for Preschoolers at Home
Focus on School Readiness and Exploration
Most kids will learn the alphabet. That’s just a fact. Stressing out about whether or not your kids are getting them fast enough is not going to do any favors.
If you’re planning to have your child attend a formal preschool or Transitional Kindergarten class, you may consider leaving the heavier academics to them. Or you can include some letter learning without the pressure (and without the flash cards!) by playing with letter magnets, doing letter puzzles, and looking through picture books together.
But mostly, we believe you should focus on building fundamental school readiness skills, such as cutting, coloring, and pasting. Teach your kids to clean up after themselves, say please and thank you, and take care of their own needs, like using the bathroom and getting dressed on their own.
Allow your child to build their early academic skills, like counting, learning patterns, and naming their colors and shapes. Teach them to write their name, color inside of the lines when needed, and to flip through the pages of a book. (As a side note, our Explore and Learn Play Packs will hit ALL of these skills, and more at a crazy low price.)
As a teacher, I can promise you- THESE are the skills their future teachers will thank you the most for..
Get a Strong At-Home Preschool Curriculum
No matter how good your intentions, coming up with curriculum on your own every day can be incredibly daunting. We recommend (and use!) the Virtual Preschool videos and play packs from Play to Learn preschool. It’s got a virtual circle time kids can “attend,” as well as those worksheet-type activities you remember from your own preschool days.
In addition to Virtual Preschool, which will likely take up only 45 minutes to an hour each day, we recommend grabbing the Playing Preschool curriculum from Busy Toddler. In it, you’ll find lots of engaging, hands on activities your kids are going to LOVE. (You can check out the first week of lessons on apples to get a feel for the kind of activities the program offers).
My son LOVES the Busy Toddler preschool curriculum (and my seven year old often gets in on the fun, too). It’s the kind of activities that don’t feel like “work” at all, though your kids will learn so much in the process.
Supplement with Engaging Activities
So you’ve got your curriculum in place, but there’s still a whole lot of day left. What I DON’T want to happen is that you spend all day browsing Pinterest for ideas that your kids will spend maybe 10 minutes on.
Consider purchasing one of Hands On As We Grow’s ebooks, containing lots of low-prep, high fun activities to keep your kids busy and learning. She’s got all kinds of ideas separated by topic, such as Sensory Activities, Art, and Learning.
It’ll take a lot of the guess work out of your daily routines, and that is pretty priceless.
Wanting to Go the DIY Route?
Look, we get it- not everyone has money to throw at a preschool curriculum. And while we do think buying a curriculum the easiest route to take, it might not be for everyone.
If you’re going the DIY route, try to find routine daily activities that work for you and your child. Aim for having each day include:
- Letter recognition or other early reading skills
- Number recognition and math skills, like counting and patterns
- Fine motor skills practice (cutting, gluing, drawing, coloring, threading beads, etc)
- Gross motor skills practice
- Creative expression (painting, building with blocks, process art activities, etc)
- Workbook practice (helps with school readiness skills like turning pages, writing your name, and following directions)
We’ve got lots of great ideas for you on our Pinterest boards, so feel free to use them as a starting point!
Keep it Fun
At the end of the day, preschool is supposed to be FUN. Throw in tons of unstructured time to play, to paint, and to get outside. Host playdates with friends, or look for a co-op play group. We participate in a park-based play group through the city, which is a total God send (both for my son and for my sanity).
Allow breaks in routine to let your kids roam. Visit storytimes and museums. Soak in the sun with your littles, and enjoy this time at home with them (as much as one can when your kid is literally jumping off the walls that is).
But most of all, be kind to yourself. Odds are, your kids will learn everything they are supposed to. Your at home preschool doesn’t have to be perfect to be valuable.
And it may just lead to some of your very favorite memories from this time spent with your preschooler.
With just a little planning (and the right curriculum), we have total confidence that you can rock this preschool at home thing. It’s the perfect mix of flexibility and learning time, and let’s face it- it’s REALLY easy on the wallet.
We’d love to hear from some of you who have tried doing homeschool preschool. What advice do you have for others who are wondering how to do preschool at home? What worked for you? We’d love to hear all about it in the comments!