Considering homeschooling your preschooler? Here’s what you need to know when making the decision to do preschool at home.
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Hello, hello! It’s safe to say you landed here because you’re homeschooling a preschooler, or you’re considering it. If you’re new to this homeschool thing, we need to chat. Don’t worry, I’m in your corner.
If you don’t know who I am, I’m Victoria Moore of Modern Homestead Mama. I help millennial mothers slow down and simplify to make time for what matters most. Here we dive into various parenting topics, skills related to self-reliance, and homeschooling methods.
I teach families how to grow and make things themselves, cook from scratch, and find joy in the little things.
So, let’s dive right in, shall we?
Homeschool Preschool: What You Need to Know
Preschool – a time of massive growth and tons of play. It’s also a time where parents have to make tough decisions about how they’re going to educate and foster development in their child.
They’re no longer toddlers, but not quite ready for more traditional approaches to public education (not that any child is ever ready for some aspects of public school, but that’s a discussion for another day. There are caveats to every educational method.)
A preschooler is a child between the ages of 3 and 5. It’s the precious 2 to 3 year period before a child would typically start kindergarten in most places.
Developmentally speaking, preschoolers are truly beginning to find their sense of self and are starting to understand more complex concepts, from social interactions and emotional regulation to artistic expression and motor skills.
It is truly a fun and exciting period.
Should You Homeschool your Preschooler?
People are divided on every topic when it comes to parenting. That’s why from the moment you announce your pregnancy, you’re likely bombarded with loads of unsolicited advice. I’m sorry to report that that’s not just a “new mom” thing. People will still be spouting their opinions about your parenting for years to come.
So, first things first – when it comes to making the decision to homeschool for preschool (whether you plan to continue this on for years to come, or just until kindergarten) – you’re going to have to learn how to tune people out.
I mean, seriously. Search for “homeschool preschool,” and you’re going to find articles, videos and comments on both ends of the spectrum. Experienced homeschoolers will tell you it’s completely unnecessary, and will make you feel stupid for thinking your child needs anything but some wooden blocks and sunlight.
Others will tell you it’s crucial to put your kids in school or daycare ASAP to develop social skills and boost their immune systems.
I mean, who can we even trust?
Well, I have the answer: Trust YOURSELF. Have a little faith in yourself!
What do YOU think about homeschooling your preschooler? Do you think they would thrive by continuing another year of open-ended play at home with you?
Do you think they need you to up your game and implement a little more structure?
Do you think they’re social butterflies who need to be involved in a co-op or meetup with other homeschool kids?
Do you think they would benefit from being with a teacher in a public pre-k classroom?
You know your child better than anyone else. Read the Facebook comments, read the blog posts, watch the videos. But at the end of the day, this is a decision that only you can make.
Getting over your Fears About Educating your Child at Home
Several years ago I made a post in a Facebook group, asking if anyone else was nervous about being good enough and smart enough for this homeschool thing. This was back when my firstborn was a baby still, so homeschooling was on my mind, but not something I needed to worry about yet.
I personally had strong convictions about how I want to raise my kids and what I felt was best for our family, and homeschooling really sat right with my soul. And even still – I doubted my capabilities as a teacher.
Why do we do that?
And since that post, I’ve seen hundreds of other parents share the same sentiments over and over again.
Now, if we’re talking about not being able to juggle everything going on in our lives, and adding homeschool to that is just not in the cards for someone, that’s a different story. It’s okay if homeschooling is not for you or your kids.
What I’m referring to is the self-doubt we feel at the prospect of teaching our own kids. It runs so deep that we feel this way even at an age where our kids are literally just learning how to be human, along with some shapes and animals.
This negative self-talk needs to stop right away. As soon as you make the decision to homeschool, it’s on. No more of that! It’s important and doable for your family, so I want you to stop yourself any time you feel some of these negative thoughts creeping up.
Positivity and light only from here on out!
Besides, let me tell you right now – there are so many resources available to homeschool parents. You are not alone in any of this.
Find your Purpose
So, you’ve decided to homeschool for preschool, and you’re learning to stop doubting your capabilities. Now it’s time to get into the nitty gritty.
You need to find your reason for homeschooling. Your true passion and purpose for choosing this route. Because, as with everything else with parenting, it’s hard. If there’s no fire there, it’s going to be a lot harder.
Something that really helped solidify my choice to homeschool my kids was this planner my SIL recommended to me on Amazon. It’s called Plan Your Year: Homeschool Planning for Purpose and Peace, by Pam Barnhill.
It helps you work through your thoughts surrounding homeschool and navigate your feelings, doubts, and overwhelm. She even walks you through creating a homeschool vision board and clear reason for homeschooling.
In the meantime, think about why homeschooling is beneficial, and what its drawbacks are. How can you overcome the negatives and take advantage of the positives? What do you feel the strongest about? Find that passion and base your curriculum and experience on that!
Find Books and Resources that Inspire and Teach
Nothing is going to empower you more on your homeschooling journey than surrounding yourself with encouraging and inspiring resources.
Follow pages that talk about the benefits of homeschooling.
Search for websites that provide advice and worksheets for millions of other parents just like you.
Read books from experienced homeschoolers and professionals.
Better yet – find a local group of homeschool families with similar values! They often have meetups, co-ops, events, and offer general support to homeschoolers in the area.
Do You Need to Follow a Curriculum?
I will keep this section short and sweet today, mostly because this is a decision for you to make. But in short – no. You don’t need to follow a preschool curriculum. Do I recommend it? Absolutely. And full disclosure if you don’t know – I create unit studies for preschoolers, and I have a subscription-based membership program as well.
So, yes. I am biased. But the reason I create and share these studies, is because I believe in the power and confidence they can provide other new homeschool families. I myself mix and match from several other curriculum creators, and doing so has helped my confidence as an educator skyrocket. My kids are thriving, and so am I. So, there’s my 2 cents on that.
But no, you don’t need a curriculum. At this age, our kids are still learning through play mostly. It depends on the child as well. Some kids aren’t ready to even approach the alphabet, while others crave a specific style of homeschooling that requires guidance and worksheets. It will be up to you and your child’s needs.
If You’re Interested:
- The Nature-Based Curriculum We Use
- The Play-Based Curriculum We Use
- The Charlotte Mason Workbooks We Use
- My Eclectic Unit Studies
- My Membership Program for Homeschool Preschool Families
Research Different Homeschool Methods
Everyone has a different idea about what homeschooling is and what it entails, and I promise you, you will be amazed at how many different ways there are to do it.
Once you start researching and looking into homeschool, its going to open your eyes to things you’ve never even considered. I suggest starting small, though. Begin by looking at the main different homeschool methods. There are roughly 7 different methods, and most of us end up being a solid blend of several of them.
All of them offer certain benefits, but all of them also have their drawbacks. You can tailor the experience to provide your kids with exactly what they need as an individual, and exactly what you would like to emphasize and focus on.
What Really Matters
All in all, that’s what has given me the most confidence and comfort in my decision to homeschool our kids. At the end of the day, it’s a lot less about being a genius on every topic and subject from kindergarten to 12th grade, and a whole lot about freedom and control to cater to our kids needs in ways that can’t be achieved in classroom settings.
It turns out, it’s not the end of the world that I’m not great at chemistry or that I might not be as knowledgeable on that subject as another teacher in a public or private school. What I have to offer is far more beneficial in my opinion, and that’s a fully customized experience and the opportunity to teach my kids the joy of education, as opposed to memorized facts and studies that are given to thousands of other children with no regard to their strengths, weaknesses, and interests.
Besides, there are so many resources available to me, I’m not even concerned. Beyond the fact that I will always be learning alongside my children, there are other parents and tutors that adore chemistry, and community is everything.