Hey, everyone! We are almost 2 weeks into our preschool at home journey. I hope you are all enjoying the series. My little one is learning so much, but I am surprised to find that he isn’t the only one! Apparently, there is a huge learning curve for mom too. As promised, I want to pass the things I am learning on to you. Here are some tips and tricks I am learning for doing preschool at home.
Timing is E-V-E-R-Y-T-H-I-N-G!
One big lesson I have learned is to work out the timing on when to do my teaching and activities. This will vary depending on the child. One thing I love about doing preschool at home is the flexibility. And who knows your child better than you, right?
As an example, I will tell you how I plan out my time. You days may look different and that’s okay. Many preschool aged children don’t have a super long attention span. Some have bursts of focus and bursts of just pure kinetic energy. Pay attention to your child’s patterns. If you try to force them to sit for an activity during a high-energy time, it isn’t going to end in anything but frustration.
My child wakes up in the morning and likes to relax for a while before he’s really fully alert. He wakes around 8 am. We don’t typically start our “preschool day” until around 10 am. That gives him time to wake up, get going, and get in some play time before having to work hard.
Adjust the Schedule to Fit Your Child
When I started, I thought we would do 3 hours of learning in a block from 10 am to 1 pm and we would do it 3 days each week. Well, let me tell you, on day 1, I found out that isn’t very realistic. From talking to other moms who also are doing preschool at home, I have been reminded that learning is hard work and exhausting for those little minds.
This is another important tip for preschool at home. As with everything in parenting, I always suggest following your child’s lead. Some preschoolers can only sit for maybe 15 minute intervals at a time. My son has about an hour in him. Some children can go longer. Go with their flow. If your child can sit and pay attention and benefit from organized learning, go with it! If your child isn’t quite there, follow their lead. A lot of their learning at this age is through play time. You can incorporate learning into games they play.
Some Examples of Learning Through Play
I will give you some examples of learning or teaching through play time. If your child is playing with toy cars, for example, you can count the cars with them, or sort them by size or color.
Building with blocks can be great for counting or sorting as well. You can also ask them to build something that goes with your theme for the day. We are doing letters. Each day we have a letter we are focusing on. We talk about different things that start with that letter. So, as an example, for the letter C, you can build castles, cars, a cat….whatever you can think of.
Change it Up to Avoid Boredom and Burn-out
Another huge trick I have found through doing preschool at home is to change up the activities. Keep it interesting. This will immensely help your child stay focused and engaged. Plan some sit down and focus activities, like worksheets. Plan some hands-on creative projects. Also, plan some activities that get your child up and moving.
For the day we were working on the letter A, we also went on a walk to look for ants outside, and airplanes. We also made paper airplanes and flew them in the kitchen. These activities were a nice break from the sitting still things that we did.
For the letter B, we did some building with blocks. We also played with balls. I had my son sort a variety of sports balls by size. Smallest to biggest. Then biggest to smallest. Then we played ball for a while. Kicking a ball back and forth, then bouncing it and catching. All great for gross motor skills, and for keeping the monotony at bay.
We are working on the letter C right now, and we have gone for walks and counted cars on the street. We will be baking cookies. We also raced some toy cars.
Plan More, Expect Less
Another wonderful tip I have learned is to always plan more, but expect less. My son surprised me. He is really enjoying doing these preschool at home activities. For being such an active child, he even really likes doing the worksheets and things. In fact, there have been a couple of times where we have gotten through all of my planned activities and he’s asked to do more.
Uh oh! Now what? Well, luckily I have been pretty good at improvising so far. However, I am now starting to plan way more each day than I ever expect to get through. If we get to it, great. If not, oh well, I can save it for another day.
Again, I say follow your child’s lead. If they want to keep going, be prepared. Have some things ready and on-hand if that comes up.
Show Off the Hard Work
Another fun tip I can give you is to find a way to display or show off your child’s hard work. Because for them, it IS hard work. They should be proud of it. Find a way to display it and help instill a sense of pride and accomplishment. Whether its magnets on the refrigerator, or a special cork board, or just sticking things to a wall with sticky tack, find a way to make it special.
Preschool at Home and “The Rules”
The best part of preschool at home is that there are no rules. You can adapt and teach your child in creative and fun ways and tailor lessons to their interests and personalities. Toss out any rule book you may have in your head. Have fun with it. I promise that if you are having fun with it, your child will too. Until next time!
What is your favorite thing about teaching your little ones? What is your least favorite? Comment below and let me know.
Check out more in the Preschool at Home series HERE.
Follow me on Pinterest for more fun preschool ideas HERE!