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.
I’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
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
This 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:
- Dr. Seuss books (fun, repetition & great language)
- Frog & Toad books
- Goodnight Moon
- Make Way for Ducklings
- Caps for Sale
- The Giving Tree
- Where the Wild Things Are
- If You Give A Mouse A Cookie
- The Very Hungry Caterpillar
- Brown Bear, Brown Bear What Do You See?
- The Little Engine That Could
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.
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.
As 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.
Once 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.