Read these 22 Preschool and Kindergarten Homeschool Tips tips to make your life smarter, better, faster and wiser. Each tip is approved by our Editors and created by expert writers so great we call them Gurus. LifeTips is the place to go when you need to know about Home School tips and hundreds of other topics.
“Make Believe” is the fantasy world of childhood; where crazy things can happen and silly things usually do, where imagination runs wildly in pursuit of reality. Children “become” when they play make believe. Using the basis of make believe in the academic classroom is a wonderful way to encourage play while learning, allowing for the stigma of such subjects as science and math (yuck! How do they learn this so young?) fall to the wayside when dressed up as a crazy math magician or mad scientist. Hang up a picture of Einstein and provide crazy hats and wigs, plastic eye glasses and long white men's dress shirts make perfect “mad scientist” coats. Discuss with your child what a mad science might look like, then fill it up with plastic beakers, magnifying glasses and other scientific props (often picked up at Goodwill), you can create a science lab for little or no money at all. Science experiments with non-toxic items can make a marvelous display of color and bubbles without cause for worry about a youngster ingesting anything harmful. If your science lab is lacking science experiments, go online, enter the keyword children's science experiments or some other variation of the phrase, and see what the Internet delivers. As you progress into your make believe science world take the time to discuss scientific concepts and ideas that are being studied in a playful manner so that the mood is not disturbed but introduction to scientific language and concepts are explored through play. As your child imagines other fantasy locations and activities to enhance and extend the academic learning in your homeschool kindergarten, don't be afraid to follow where the road leads. You never know what you will learn in the land of “Make Believe”.
As you begin to implement your preschool homeschool curriculum, it is important that you create an environment that encourages a variety of learning opportunities in one space. For the early learner, everyday is a day of discovery and knowledge acquisition. It is through manual explorations that children learn about the world around them. Toddlers and preschool children grow and change at an alarming rate, ask any mother how quickly time passes as she is watching her first born son leave home for college. Activity or learning centers are a great opportunity for young children to move around a room visiting different learning concepts and still being free to explore without boundaries. The different learning centers need to be simplistic, free roaming and have unlimited access. A young child will move from center to center like a butterfly in a flowerbed. Many ideal learning centers have one general theme or concept that is being introduced through a variety of different mediums placed on different tables or flat surfaces around the room. Creating centers such as dramatic play or housekeeping, a puppet center, music or listening center, a reading cubby or quiet spot, math center, science center and an art center are all equally valuable to have available for your young student. The more available these different concepts are, the more comfortable your child will be in exploring them. Young learners take time to explore a concept, however the exploration takes place in broken time frames throughout the day. Don't be in a hurry to change your themes too often. Children love to have time to play. If you pay close attention to your child's interaction with the different centers, you will know immediately when it is time to change. If you are unfamiliar with planning and preparing preschool or kindergarten curriculum, the Christian curriculum company, Sonlight Curriculum® has many valuable resources available; exciting games such as memory, alphabet BINGO, pattern building activities and many other games to entertain and educate your child.
When a child is immersed in a safe learning environment that encourages play, the academic benefits are immense. As the teacher/parent within your homeschooling experience, it is important to recognize and verbalize the different positive things that your child accomplishes. There is a saying in educational circles, “Catch Them Doing Something Good” which is very powerful. Teach your child the importance of making the correct choices by recognizing them with sincere praise. Many parents get caught up with the idea of having to reward their child for every correct action that they make; this isn't always the correct way to recognize your child. If you teach your child the personal satisfaction of having done the right thing, they will grow into adults who do not define success through the positive feedback of others, but as children who can stand strong by their own faith and determination. Independence is a key component in the homeschool environment, teaching your child to be accountable for his or her actions will teach integrity and character. The Bible is a wonderful compass for anyone as they journey through life. Teach your children to seek guidance, counsel, comfort and support in God's word. If you do not have a children's Bible, consider purchasing one from Sonlight Curriculum®. Additionally, there are many different verbal and physical signs of support, encouragement and praise that the parents can use when recognizing good behavior. Using these forms of recognition and rewards will go a long way in the success of your young child. As you praise your child, encourage and recognize who they are and what a great job that they are doing, make sure your comments are specific and sincere. Your child will see through a phony compliment immediately.
Toddlers learn through visual, auditory and sensory stimulation. Music is a joyous way for toddlers to sing, dance and express pleasure through freedom of movement. Filling your house with songs from children's CD's, children's dance videos and simple dancing for joy in your own home, you will create a friendly and heartwarming learning environment for your child. Children celebrate the little things in life with extreme joy, creating a joyful environment encourages the uplifting attitude in everyone. If your child enjoys comedy and silly play, create a puppet theatre out of a large cardboard box and provide plenty of puppets for your toddler to choose from; have your child perform for you and other family members. Story time and sing-alongs are a fabulous way to expose your toddler to a wide vocabulary and to academic growth. Counting songs, the ABC song, and other popular children's songs provide fun and excitement to the educational process; children don't even know that they are learning academic concepts. As your child sings counting songs along with you or a compact disc, they are learning the concepts of numbers, counting forward and often counting backwards as well. If you don't have any children's music in your house, purchase the Level A complete preschool curriculum from Sonlight Curriculum®, their musical collection will have your child dancing and singing and immediately learning number concepts, number songs, patterns, the alphabet and other complex concept set to music. Once you began to incorporate the Level B Kindergarten curriculum from Sonlight Curriculum®, your child will already have a clear grasp on the basic concepts and ideas that were presented within the music.
Toddlers and Preschool children love to interact with their environment in a physical manner. The early learning years are intended to be informational, with children gathering information through sensory exploration; movement, touch, sight, smell and taste are very important parts of the toddler homeschool curriculum. The important role as the teacher within the preschool homeschool curriculum is to make sure that the environment is safe, that the child does not put unsafe items into their mouth and that the freedom to explore is filled with many different opportunities for learning. If it is possible, provide multiple learning opportunities for your child to encourage the learning process. Offering water colors, finger-paint, children's sewing cards, puzzles, stringing beads, blocks and other small motor skill focused toys will allow your child to work on building his small motor skills. Additionally, offering physical activities for large motor skills such as riding toys, balls, outside play equipment and other games will encourage a healthy movement and the building of large motor skills. Toddlers enjoy learning about textures as they begin to explore the world around them, offer opportunities to explore and discuss items that have various textures such as soft, rough, smooth and hard. Provide different opportunities to revisit this concept to enhance comprehension. Use these terms as your child shares different items and investigations with you, increasing his vocabulary and beginning the important process toward academic excitement. As you and your child begin this wonderful learning adventure, remember to offer plenty of free choice time, as this will help your child to use to learn their imagination and will introduce the concept of independent creativity, an important independent life skill. When your toddler begins to slow down, use this time to introduce the Bible and God by reading stories from your Family Time Bible. Young children are fascinated with God and the stories from the Bible, the sooner you introduce these stories, the more comfortable your child will be in their faith. If you do not have the Family Time Bible, it can be purchased online at www.sonlightcurriculum.com.
Children begin their life learning. From the moment you bring your new baby home from the hospital you have become a homeschool parent. Talking, cuddling, singing and laughing with your baby are teaching the warmth of love, sound of language and the joy of laughter. Homeschool is a lifestyle, not a practice. Once you begin to interact with your newborn infant, you have in fact begun an informal curriculum of homeschooling. As your infant grows and becomes more interactive with the surrounding world, he or she will learn which actions bring about in which reactions. As the primary parent begins to read picture books, sing songs and talk to the infant, the child will respond by making sounds. These basic interactions are going to become the foundation upon which all other learning will be based. Many new parents don't realize how important each interaction with their newborn infant actually is in the overall development of their child, but every day is a new opportunity to teach and learn together. Now is a great time to purchase the Level A learning package from Sunlight Curriculum®. In the years ahead you will be tempted to purchase different children's stories, what better way to prepare your child academically than to purchase an entire collection of classic literature handpicked by professional educators that specialize in preschool and kindergarten curriculum planning. These books are classics that you may remember your parents reading to you. Investing in the Fiction, Fairy Tales and Fun for Little Learners, or “Level A” package will provide hours of fun and a great educational head start for your little one.
To develop literacy skills in kindergarten homeschool children they should be exposed to an environment that is literature-rich. You can not read too many books to this age group. Books instill awareness in children of print, narratives, letter and word recognition and listening comprehension. Exposing your children to books will teach them simple things such as writing goes from the left to the right or that every letter has its own sound.
Preschool homeschool should be full of activities that will promote math. During your child's developmental phases, homeschool preschool is a critical step towards their education. Follow some of the tips above to help your preschooler advance in homeschool techniques.
Farm animals are a great theme for preschool homeschool. Teach about a different farm animal each day. Read books, sing songs and do crafts which will reinforce the information. For instance, here are some pig facts you can teach to children.
To encourage writing in preschool homeschool have your children write their names on their artwork and worksheets. Write their names for them on a piece of paper and allow them to copy them to the best of their ability. You can also promote writing by helping your child write a grocery list. Ask the child to choose two or three things that need to be purchased at the store. Write the words on a piece of a paper and have the child copy them to the grocery store list.
Preschool homeschool should be fun and educational. Themes are a big part of teaching preschool children. Themes help guide the teaching process and they make learning fun and playful. Transportation is a theme that many preschool children love. You can teach your children about different forms of transportation through playing games, crafts and books. Discuss different types of transportation with your child using pictures. Discuss planes, ships, rockets, buses, trains, cars and trucks. Then follow up with questions.
If you are doing a preschool homeschool program with your child, you should place a strong emphasis on books. Have your child choose an area in the home which will become the “library.” Buy new and used books for your child on a regular basis which can be added to the library. Read at least one book a day to your child and ask your child to read the book back to you. While your child probably won't actually “read” the book word for word, it does help the child to understand the concept of reading and sharing a story. This process will also teach your child about the layout of books, voice inflection and memorization.
Manners are a big theme in kindergarten homeschool. Teach your children manners by demonstrating them to the class. Get two puppets to demonstrate formal introductions and how to use manners. Demonstrate the use of the following manners:
Kindergarten homeschool does not have to be expensive. If you are already working with older children in the home, you should know that there are many homeschool programs which are tailored to teach more than one grade level. For instance, there are some second grade programs which can be tailored to meet the needs of your kindergarten child.
Before you go out and purchase separate curriculum for each child, why not consider purchasing one that is user friendly to all of your children? Not only will it save you money, but it will make learning a joint venture and save time! Curriculums which are friendly to many grades will generally come with a chart that will help guide you when you are deciding on your purchase.
The general rule of thumb is if you have children in three different grades, lean towards purchasing the curriculum that falls in the middle. It will be perfect for the child in the middle, and it will be fairly easy to tailor to your older and younger children, too. If you want to give your child a head start on developing their literacy skills choose a kindergarten curriculum that is literature based. While they may think they are just hearing a good story, their brains will be making connections that will aid them as they enter the elementary grades.
Preschool children love music and to learn and sing songs, so why not add educational music to your CD mix?
Education music will add to your homeschooling curriculum in a way that will be enjoyable to both you and your students. There are many programs available that cover a wide variety of topics, such as Audio Memory Geography Songs CD Kit, which teaches the names and locations of continents, oceans, countries and states, so educational music is a tool well worth looking into for your homeschooling environment.
The preschool years are the prime time to prepare your homeschooler for a life of learning and exploration.
To help you discover your child's learning strengths and weaknesses and to develop his or her abilities, Sonlight has developed a program called "Preschool Readiness Skills." Add this to your homeschool preschool curriculum to help develop your early learners motor, visual, auditory and comprehension skills. Using workbooks that will make your child feel like they're playing, you can develop the memory, tracking, hand-eye coordination, and sequencing skills that will prepare him or her for their elementary homeschool years.
When preschool home schooled children play with early learning toys and other materials, they learn about their world, themselves, and others. Through the manipulation of materials and toys, children figure out how things work and how to solve problems, as well as build muscle control.
You should have a variety of toys and materials on hand to augment your home school preschool curriculum, including paint, blocks, and imagination toys like a puppet stage or kitchen area. A variety ensures that you promote the development of the whole child and not simply target specific developmental areas at the expense of others.
Furthermore, choose toys that appeal to your children, as an early learning toy is only effective if the child plays with it.
Trying to home school older children with a preschooler is around is tough, as the preschooler naturally believes the world revolves around them, and until they learn to respect school time they're going to be a menace to your other students' learning environment.
A good tip to prevent your teaching from getting derailed by your active toddler is to be organized and have a number of distracting activities available for him or her. Set out lots of paper and crayons. Keep your Tupperware in a cabinet your preschooler can reach and go at it. An electronic educational toy that lights up and makes noises can keep a young one occupied for a long time, and give you the time you need to teach your elder students.
The trick is to keep a varied set of activities around so your toddler doesn't get bored too soon and come back to you seeking attention.
A cute way for little ones to remember color names and spellings is to put the topic to be learned to song. For example, this to the tune of "jingle bells":
White, white, white,
White, white, white,
Teeth and snow,
All are shades of white.
If you're homeschooling your child, you can search the Internet for an endless variety of fun, learning songs that your child will enjoy while learning at the same time!
Edutaining is a great way to start your Pre-K homeschooling child on the road to a lifelong love of learning. A combination of educating and entertainment, edutainment is learning through play. There are many toys available for a wide variety of age and skill ranges that teach letters, numbers, vocabulary and shapes in fun ways.
If you're going to buy your child a new toy, make it a learning one.
Can I homeschool my preschooler?
Certainly, you can. Homeschooling your preschooler is a surprisingly easy thing to do, and you can decide to opt into a group learning environment later on if you decide that it's not for your family.
Here are some ideas for your preschool home schooling curriculum:
1. Check out books at the library to read to your preschooler
2. Teach your preschooler about science by letting him or her help with gardening
3. Teach your preschooler about math by letting him or her count how many plates, forks, and spoons you need to set the table
Toddlers learn a great deal of their initial information through the observation of mom, dad and siblings. If you want your child to learn to live a peaceful and loving lifestyle, you will need to model those same behaviors. As you begin to adopt the Christian preschool homeschool curriculum, it is important to realize that modeling the behaviors of curiosity, kindness, think aloud and communication will encourage similar behaviors in your young student. Plan daily learning activities that are age appropriate for your child. It is best to keep tasks simple and fun for the very young learner, adjusting and adapting in difficulty as the child grows. Daily story time should become a habit with your child. Babies love picture books and toddlers will request to hear the same story over and over again until you think you might go crazy. Do not despair, with every reading of any story, your child is learning. Read aloud story time, teaches such basic skills such as language sound, vocabulary, color (from the illustrations), how to track print, how to “read” a book, simple small motor skills required for turning pages, which way a book is held properly, each of these is a fundamental foundation skill that will be built upon in the days and years ahead. If you purchased the Level A collection when your child was born, at approximately age 4 it would be a wise investment to purchase the Level B collection. This level is appropriate curriculum for your child from the ages of 4-6 years. As your child continues to grow through the Sonlight Curriculum® programs, your continual introduction of this literacy rich curriculum will create a lifelong reader.
|Jennifer Mathes, Ph.D.|