We’ve just started, but I’ve learned a few good things already. The biggest thing is to pray about it! God can give you guidance and direction on what, when, and how to teach your kids right now! Spend real time seeking Him out for that guidance.
1. Preschool isn’t essential. Your kid doesn’t NEED preschool. What they need is an environment in which to explore, create, and learn. They need to learn about Jesus! That can happen in preschool, but it doesn’t have to. So don’t feel pressured to enroll your kids or start homeschooling them now if you’re not ready, they’re not ready, or you don’t see the need. Just play with them and read to them!
2. Do preschool if you want to! Don’t feel pressured to NOT do preschool either. Here are some good reasons to start preschool if you want to:
- Your kid is asking for “school”
- You have a hard time being spontaneous with activities and play
- You want to start teaching certain things to your kids in a more formal way (Bible stories, character, etc.)
- You just want to try it out and see how everyone likes it!
3. Find what works for your family. It’s so valuable to gather ideas and information from other families or web sites. But don’t fall into a trap of comparing yourself to another family or mom. Just because a certain great idea or approach is perfect for another family doesn’t mean it’s the best for yours!
Keep in mind:
- Your family’s daily rhythm (or lack thereof)
- Your kids’ personality and learning style
- YOUR personality and teaching style!
4. Just try something! Find an idea that you think might work and just try it. NOW! My biggest hangup so far with homeschool is the idea that I just have to figure out the exact right approach and materials now or it will be a failure. Homeschooling is way more flexible than that. Just trying SOMETHING and then moving on from there is so much better and less stressful. Besides, the kids are always changing, so how and what I teach them will change as well.
5. Take advantage of free resources. The library is extremely valuable for materials and ideas. We don’t seem capable of a full-family library outing lately, so I just reserve books online and pick them up on my own. The Internet has many resources available for free, including full curriculums, as well as information on local support groups. Find a mommy you can swap school time with. Don’t buy anything you can get for free or that isn’t a long-term investment.
6. Don’t get stuck on “school time”. Some parents like to have a designated time and space for school. I’ve found that at this stage (and possibly later ones as well – we’ll see), it’s better for us to just weave planned lessons into daily living. It helps me to become better at identifying the learning opportunities in the rest of the day and enjoy them with my kids! And at this young age it is a less stressful approach to school.
7. Relax and have fun. Preschool can be so fun! My son feels like such a big boy when he learns new things. I learn more about the sweet little personalities and souls of my children by teaching them and learning alongside them. Plus, if I don’t plan a time to strip my kids down and let them paint with hands and feet and faces, it’s definitely not going to happen. 🙂
These are some reads that really help me in this stage:
- Why Would Anyone Be Crazy Enough To Homeschool (aholyexperience.com)
- Seven Daily Rungs (aholyexperience.com)
- Anchoring: An Organizational Tool (Simplehomeschool.com)
- Typical Course of Study Preschool Curriculum Guide (Worldbook)
- Preschool Articles (Mommylife)