How to Start Homeschooling Kids at a Young Age

how to simplify your homeschool

Over the past month, I’ve received several questions from my readers. I hope to answer one of those homeschooling questions each week. Since these cover a wide variety of topics, I think we will have some good discussions here. Here’s the first question.

5 tips for moms -how to start homeschooling young kids...from How to Homeschool My Child.comI’m in the process of starting H. (3 in February) with a more structured schooling approach at home. Would love some topics focused around “where to begin” and what resources to start with. I would value from everyone “your How To List” on what’s worked and not worked. I’m also new to the area, so love having all the ideas that are being posted of activities for learning as well as community.

Thank you so much!

Last summer at a homeschool show, I had this type of question asked about 4-5 people in one day. Let me share a few thoughts I shared with those parents.

1. Use the Library

how to start homeschooling young kids from How to Homeschool My Child.comWe went to storytime at the local library once a week. This provided an environment for my kids to enjoy books and stories. It also showed my kids that reading was fun and adults enjoy reading, too.

When you are at the library, check out some books that your child would enjoy reading. It doesn’t matter what the topic is, just bring home books and read.

If your library has special events (like ours), make a point to attend. Every summer our library has a kick-off day for their Summer Reading Program. The firetruck was there, along with several booths outside. My kids loved climbing in the fire truck, getting their face painted and playing games. They also set a reading goal for the summer.  Again, it was a fun activity tied to reading.

2. Read Aloud Every Day

tip #2 - bedtime read aloud on how to start homeschooling...from How to Homeschool My Child.comThis sounds so simple that you might think it’s not school. However, I started this habit when my kids were young & continued it through high school. I remember reading Little Women to Ashley & Gentry at night while they were in bed. The girls were about 4 & 6 years old. I decided to take a plunge and read a longer chapter book to them.

I had never read Little Women, so I was starting my own journey through the classics.

The lights were out. The girls were in bed. I sat by the door to read. The doorway was the only place to get enough light to read.

We got sucked into Jo’s adventures & her family’s trials. It was wonderful!

Since your child is 3 years old, I would not recommend reading a longer chapter book like Little Women. I would suggest some of these:

3. Take Field Trips

When you are grocery shopping, talk to your kids about the bakery on one trip. Ask the baker if your child can take a look. On the next trip, talk to them about the meat department. Ask questions about where the meat comes from, how it gets to the grocery store, and so on.

Visit the fire station, police department, auto repair shop, florist and other shops around your town. Check out a few books about the place you visit that week. It’s really not that hard.

If you have a local homeschooling community, get on their list so you are notified of more organized field trips.

tip#3 puzzles for preschoolers from How to Homeschool My Child.com4. Puzzles

I don’t recommend critical thinking skills at this age because, developmentally, children love rote memory.  Adults may not enjoy the same concepts over & over, but young kids love it.  Does your child ask you to read the same book everyday, for a month?  That’s where they are developmentally.

Having said that, I do recommend puzzles as an easy & natural way to encourage your kids to think.

5. Do School in Everyday Life

Does that sound hard?

It doesn’t have to be. Let your child help set the table. If there are 3 of you eating dinner, have him count to 3 for the forks, spoons & knives. Once he has all the silverware out of the drawer, have him count all 9 pieces.

At the grocery store, let your child learn his numbers by reading numbers on the price tags. Or numbers on the roadside. Or letters on billboards.

What Curriculum Do I Recommend for Preschool?

The Three R's by Ruth BeechickAs you can see, I don’t recommend buying specific curriculum at such a young age. If you want a good guide to help you with these ideas, read Ruth Beechicks, The Three R’s. Dr. Beechick gives specific ways to work with preschoolers.

Before Five in a RowOnce your child turns four, I would recommend Before Five in a Row. It centers learning around library books. Are you seeing a theme here?

Real Books & Real Life leads to Real Learning 🙂

Watch this blog for more details because Kendra Fletcher (Preschoolers & Peace) will be my guest on a facebook chat.  Mark your calendars for Tuesday, April 9

Question: How do you start homeschooling kids at a young age?  You can leave a comment by clicking here.

Disclaimer: There are affiliate links in this post.

For more ideas with toddlers & prescholers, click here for the Tender Moments link up.

how to simplify your homeschool
There may be affiliate links used in this post.


  1. I adore this article! I love it, love it, love it. My younger son just turned 7 and it finally clicked with me when he was around 4. I have four older kids who I was struggling with starting at early ages because I felt I had something to prove. Older HS moms would tell me for preschoolers and early elementary, read, play, explore, read, explore, read. I never could get that until this guy. We had a blast and he is really starting a little more formal 1st grade work now, still slow and steady, but so much fun and it’s coming easier for him than it did for my older kids. I have a 2yo and a baby on the way as well. I sometimes like to imagine how much different their learning experience is going to be compared to my older kids the poor little guinea pigs. 🙂

    1. Julie,
      I’ve been out of the country on a mission trip and just now catching up on my blog. (I took a week long sabbatical from the internet and didn’t get online while I was gone:-) )
      Thanks for your very kind words. I understand where you’ve been. It is often hard to relax in our homeschool when you have other moms comparing each other. Glad this was helpful

  2. Great recommendations! We have done about half the book in BFIAR and love the method. That along with library book has been all we’ve needed so far. I hope you’re writing a follow up with recommendations for kindergarten and/or first grade 🙂

    1. Isn’t the library a wonderful (& free) resource. The librarians knew my kids by name because we were there every week.

  3. I totally agree with reading aloud, and all these tips, really. My preschooler LOVES and learns SO much through reading books and then doing a hands-on activity (like BFIAR), so we find a lot of book-based unit ideas online or I make up my own with his favorite books!

  4. Thank you so much for sharing this! This philosophy of teaching young children matches what I have come to believe to be true– young children learn best through every day experiences. It is hard to maintain this stance in the face of all the workbooks and organized, structured teaching for toddlers and preschoolers that seem to be so popular right now. My almost two year old boys know their shapes and some letters already just through normal every day activities. I don’t plan on having any structured teaching for at least a few years, yet I expect them to learn what is necessary through every day experiences. And we read, read, read! Whatever they are interested in, we read as many books on that topic as we can get our hands on. We read the books over and over until I am convinced they have them memorized word-for-word even though they are not yet able to vocalize all the words.
    Thank you for this inspiring post!

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