Tips for Planning your Homeschool Preschool Year
Planning your homeschool preschool year doesn’t need to be stressful! In fact, you can plan or not plan as much as you want. Learn how to build a schedule and routine that works for you and your kids, choose whether or not to follow curriculum, and find your rhythm as a homeschool family.
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Before we get into my tips for planning your homeschool year for your preschooler, let’s address the elephant in the room:
No, you don’t need to plan a school year for your preschooler. No, they don’t need to do much beyond play and being read to.
However, many of us choose a more structured route because it works for us, and it works for our kids. I think Kristina from the Blossom and Root curriculum said it best in this article, when she said,
“While some parents feel perfectly confident educating their child sans-curriculum, many do not–especially in the first few years. But it’s essential to look at the big picture. If a parent is able to develop confidence in the style of homeschooling that works for them and their child, they are more likely to a) stick it out, and b) find their groove as they begin to feel like “they’ve got this.” If that requires the assistance of a curriculum, then there is absolutely nothing wrong with using one.”
Homeschool looks different for every family.
What drew me to homeschooling initially was the ability to cater the experience to fit my children’s specific needs and interests. And the fact is, my son genuinely enjoys a structured environment with educational posters, worksheets, and lots of activities!
One thing I want to make super clear here, is that your child may not enjoy a “school-like” environment. They might protest every time you pull out a workbook, and show absolutely no interest in any of the activities or printables found on this site.
And that is OKAY!
It’s completely normal for your preschooler to dislike sitting at a table, filling out worksheets. Honestly, it’s understandable, isn’t it? It’s not for everybody, no matter the age of the person.
This leads me to tip number one.
1. Follow Your Child’s Lead
Your preschooler might love nothing more than to eat ice cream for every meal, run around with no clothes on like a feral animal, and abolish bedtime. However, there’s a big difference between allowing your homeschool to be child-led, and allowing them to quite literally run the home.
I refer to our homeschool situation as child-led and Mama-ran. I run the show, and the kids lead the way.
If your child has zero interest in learning the alphabet, continue exposing them to it, of course. But it’s okay to create an entire unit on horses if that’s their thing. They will eventually find an interest in reading, and will learn letter recognition in due time.
Spend time thinking about what your child enjoys learning about, and more importantly – how they enjoy learning. Let that guide the way in your planning, and mix in some different styles and topics that your child isn’t experienced with.
2. Find Books and Resources
I highly recommend ordering this book ASAP. It helped me find a ton of clarity. 2 other books I’m reading this school year include:
- The Brave Learner: Finding Everyday Magic in Homeschool, Learning, and Life
- The Call of the Wild and Free: Reclaiming Wonder in Your Child’s Education
Don’t forget to check your local library! I forgot all about how wonderful libraries are until we started homeschooling. Not only do they have a ton of resources and books for your kids, but for you too! I was able to find The Brave Learner at our library instead of buying it.
3. Find Your Homeschooling “WHY”
The idea of homeschooling has crossed your mind at least once, or else you likely wouldn’t be on this page. I want you to take that and sit with it for as long as it takes to figure out exactly why you think homeschooling would be beneficial for your child.
Maybe you already know! Or, maybe it will take you a few days of contemplation.
There are a multitude of reasons homeschooling feels right in my spirit, and even more reasons why I believe it will be the best option for my kids. I could list them for you, but it’s really something you have to find for yourself.
Once you know your why, it will be a lot easier to plan your year around that concept.
4. Research the Different Types of Homeschooling
Every family blends together different homeschooling methods, but familiarizing yourself with them will help you find that perfect blend! There are roughly 7 methods of homeschooling:
- Charlotte Mason
- Unit Studies
5. Follow and Join Groups and Pages that Inspire
I will always and forever recommend joining Facebook groups and following pages that inspire you. I’ve said it, and I’ll say it again: There is nothing better than learning something new every time you scroll through a feed on the toilet.
Less social media influencers, and more inspiring content that makes you want to live your own life! Imagine seeing something exciting that another homeschool preschool mom does every time you log on Facebook? That’s good stuff! Use the internet in the best way possible, and connect with others!
6. Figure out Whether You’d Like to Follow a Curriculum or Not
One of the most important things you’ll need to know before planning your year is whether or not you’re going to follow a curriculum. There is absolutely no pressure or reason to if you don’t want to! Your child is still going to learn regardless.
This year, we’re using a blend of 2 different curriculums:
- Playing Preschool
- Blossom and Root (Early Years)
I absolutely adore both of these curriculums, and having the guidance they provide is a weight off my shoulders. Because homeschooling is a unique ride, we found that we needed a little something extra each week, even though we’re following TWO different curriculums!
That’s not to say that either of these are lacking at all! It’s simply that I have to meet my son’s individual needs. We follow the Playing Preschool units, add the Blossom and Root studies and approach, and I add my own Montessori/Unit Study workbooks to each theme.
This is just to give you an example of how much you can customize your child’s experience. All last year, I simply made up my own units and we went with the flow! Sometimes we would do traditional homeschooling for a month or 2, and other times we would relax and do no themes or sit-down schooling for long periods of time.
7. Don’t Plan the Entire Year
If this is your first year homeschooling, I highly recommend not over-planning. You’ll need to see what works for you and your preschooler before you write out an entire year’s worth of units and curriculum. Unless, that is, of course your approach to homeschooling is super traditional or “schooling-at-home.”
This is just my personal advice, given that I believe in following my children’s interests to a certain degree. But it is important to know that life can throw all kinds of things at you, so flexibility is key. I don’t want anyone to give up on homeschooling because things don’t go according to plan or schedule.
8. Put Together a Parent Homeschool Binder
A homeschool binder is a must in our house! You may or may not find much use for it in the early preschool years, depending on your homeschooling approach. If you plan on doing any form of unit studies or following a curriculum, you might find use for a homeschool binder.
I created the Focused and Mindful Early Years Homeschool Binder. It’s what I use, and I may be biased, but I think it’s the bees knees. I’m all about organization and setting/reaching goals, but I could never find a homeschool planner or printable pack that allowed me the flexibility necessary for young children.
Whether you use my binder, or put together your own, don’t forget to make it an enjoyable experience, or you’ll never want to open it up for lessons!
9. Leave Lots of Wiggle Room
No more commentary needed, really. Flexibility will be your middle name while homeschooling, and preschoolers? Oh man, forget everything you remember about school. Play will be the main name of the game for the first several years.
10. Hop Right In and See What Works!
Don’t be afraid to try things that are completely different for your family. Do you usually follow a strict schedule? Try flying by the seat of your pants for a week and see where it takes you. Just jump right in and try different styles and routines until you find what works best!
Action Plan for Preparing your Homeschool Preschool Year:
- Brainstorm what environment and topics your child would thrive with. Write your ideas down.
- Order supplies and materials (lots of art supplies and sensory items! This will be the main way they learn!)
- Create a toy cycling system and ready-to-grab activity setup.
- Find books to help guide you in the right direction
- Find your “WHY” for homeschooling, so you can plan accordingly.
- Find inspiration online. Follow pages and join groups that will keep the ideas coming!
- Figure out if you’re going to follow a curriculum or not.
- Put together your Homeschool Binder, but don’t over-plan the year. Keep plenty of the calendar year open.
- Create a daily schedule or routine and begin!
I hope you found this helpful! If you have any tips for people planning their first year of homeschool preschool, please leave a comment below! We’d love to hear from you.
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