One of the most common questions I see in various homeschooling groups I am part of is, “What curriculum should I use for preschool/pre-K?” And while I have a great preschool and pre-K curriculum, I use them only for younger siblings who desperately want to be a part of our school day. And even then, I keep their “school day” short and sweet. It’s really just a glorified story time to make them feel involved. If they are not interested, I do not insist they sit to listen. But without a specific curriculum, what can you do with a preschooler that will support their educational growth?
Memory cards come in so many varieties! For younger kids, select a manageable number of pairs, or even keep the cards facing up and ask questions like, “Find pairs of cards that have something blue [or round, or has a hat, or that has food on it].” You don’t have to stick to the normal rules, and this is a great way to build your child’s vocabulary and observation skills in a natural way.
I am not a craft person. I have no handcraft skills. Glitter is absolutely banned from my house, and Play Doh makes me crazy. But my kids love crafts, so for their sake, I suck it up and stock up on construction paper, finger paint, stickers, safety scissors, glitter glue (the only exception to the glitter ban), and yes, even Play Doh. Sometimes. All these things are great for fine motor development and creativity. No need for a plan, either. Just get a storage bin for your supplies and a vinyl tablecloth for easier clean up, and let them have at it!
Educational Screen Time
Screen time is a fact of modern life. While experts disagree on how much screen time is appropriate for kids of various ages, I have always taken the stance that content is really the more important factor in determining the value of screen time. So download some educational apps (We like Teach Your Monster to Read and Starfall). Ready to Netflix and learn? Be sure to check out Number Blocks, Odd Squad, Magic School Bus, Story Bots, and (if you don’t mind a little potty humor for the sake of learning) The Who Was Show. Amazon has an amazing selection of PBS shows, including Sesame Street, Sid the Science Kid, and Word Girl. There are likely tons of similarly quality shows on these and other platforms, so make the most of your screen time!
Never underestimate the value of classic building blocks and Lego to spark learning by play for your kids!
The most important thing your young child needs to get their education off to a great start is time with you! Spend time reading, playing, coloring, and talking together! While self directed time without you is also important, there is nothing kids need more than dedicated time together with an adult they love and trust. So don’t feel pressured to begin formal education before you and your child are ready for it!