Preschool at Home – Our Obstacles and Resources

 

We’re a homeschooling family. Or really, I suppose I should say that we WILL be a homeschooling family. Our oldest is still a couple years away from being officially school aged. Evan is only 3, but will turn 4 this December, so many of the kids in his age group are starting preschool this year. Because of this, I wanted to start him with preschool at home.

I have this struggle where I want to take somewhat of an unschooling route, let his interests lead the way (especially while he’s younger), and let him learn just through living and playing, but I also want to keep up with everybody else and “do school” with him.

It’s conflicting, I know. But my home school goal isn’t to recreate public school – it’s to facilitate a love of learning. As you’ll see, we’re taking a laid back eclectic approach.

Β What most of you probably don’t know is that I’m no longer a stay at home mom. My husband lost his job earlier this year, and so I’ve taken on a part time job (technically two – one is a work at home job though), in addition to my Etsy shop. So even if I wanted to do a completely structured home school regimen, that’s not really possible at this time. However, we WILL still be teaching Evan, of course! And we are not changing our minds away from home schooling.

My husband has long term work goals, but for the time being, he is staying home with the kids. I still get to plan and put home school things together for them, but he’s getting that quality time in with the boys right now.

So, here are some the things we have compiled to start us on our home school journey.

A planner.

I bought a fancy planner from Plum Paper on Etsy. I love it, it actually only just got here (it takes 6 or so weeks to ship because they are customized). This isn’t really a necessity, but I needed a planner anyway, and I added extra space for me to keep track of bills and everything.

I’m an avid “checker” and have multiple notebooks that I keep track of everything in. Now I will use this planner for all of our normal life stuff that went into my previous planner, and I will keep track of what we do as far as home school.

(Interest based) Anatomy resources.

Evan has been really into anatomy, so I bought a few things to go with that interest. Evan loved playing a stethoscope at the midwives office when I was pregnant with Oliver, so we bought him his own last Christmas.

Some things we bought him for this “school” year include this cool magnetic human body dress up doll from Melissa and Doug, a book (“Me and My Amazing Body” – I want to get the rest of the books in that series!) and a really neat coloring book from Dover Publishing.

If he wants to delve deeper into this in the near future, there’s a Magic School Bus episode available on Netflix (which he has already seen, but it’s been awhile), and we can always check out YouTube and the library.

 

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(Interest based) Dinosaur resources.

Another thing that Evan has shown a lot of interest in lately is dinosaurs! He has a few toy dinosaurs, which I think might be one of his favorite things these days.

So far, I have picked up three books, but I plan on doing more with this. One of the books, which is great for his age range, is “Larry gets Lost in Prehistoric Times.” Other books we purchased include “National Geographic Little Kids First Big Book of Dinosaurs” which is age appropriate, and “DK Eyewitness: Prehistoric Life.”

The DK book is out of his age range, but has some really awesome pictures for him to look at until he grows into it, and I couldn’t resist it. The DK books are another series that I want to stock up on.

Reading.

Before I go any further, I will say that reading is a normal everyday part of our lives. Evan LOVES being read to, although he cannot read yet. He has shown interest, but I don’t think he’s ready to read on his own yet.

If we get there any time soon, we have “Teach Your Child to Read in 100 Easy Lessons” on hand. I’m hoping that he picks it up naturally though, with regular exposure to books. We read all kinds of books to him, even those slightly out of his age range.

We recently picked up the first four books of a series called The Magic Tree House, and those look like they could spur interest into educational topics. We also have a few sets of early reader books, which he really enjoys.

Basic preschool skills.

For basic educational needs, we have cheap dollar store workbooks and those from the Target dollar section. We have preschool scissors, glue, and all kinds of art supplies.

We have a chalkboard/dry erase board from IKEA (they have them for only $15!), and we recently ordered these neat dry erase pocket sleeves from Amazon. I am sure you could duplicate the effect with page protectors, but with younger kids, I like the idea of something a little more sturdy for now.

I have a Kumon workbook on tracing, so I put those into the dry erase sleeves so that they can be reused. We plan on buying some more of the Kumon workbooks. Not pictured above: we have a Montessori Letter Work book that has sandpaper letters for kids to trace with their fingers. We plan on picking up the rest of those books as well.

Freebies.

I’ve downloaded SO many free worksheets from Teachers Pay Teachers and other blogs (usually found on Pinterest), and I have even made a few myself (like the one pictured above).

There are so many ways to incorporate learning into a preschoolers life. We only pull out worksheets occasionally, and focus more on play around here, but they are great to have on hand.

Some of my favorite websites for free preschool worksheets are 3 Dinosaurs, 1 plus 1 equals 1, and Itsy Bitsy Fun.

Play based.

We have a couple preschool board games, but would like to get more. They teach social skills such as taking turns and are a great way to incorporate math into life!

Another fun way to incorporate learning through play is blocks, and manipulatives. We have LEGO Duplos, Mega bloks, snap cubes, counting bears, marbles, beads, and pipe cleaners. I also save bottle caps from flavored water (the wide caps), and the caps from yogurt or puree pouches, and those make great cheap/free manipulatives.

So that is a glimpse of some of the things we will be using with Evan this year. We plan on taking advantage of our zoo membership and getting out of the house more often too. There’s also a hands on science museum not too far (about 45 minutes away) that I am so excited to take the boys to, and I’ve even found some local home school groups we can get together with.

Are you a home schooling family? If so, what are your plans for the year?

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12 thoughts on “Preschool at Home – Our Obstacles and Resources

  1. I never thought I’d have the chance to home school working 2 jobs, but now that I’m working from home, I just think my daughter needs exposure to other teaching styles than just me. I’ll always be open to home schooling if she struggles in public school (we’re in a good district, but every child IS different) but for now I think that she needs to know that there are many styles and many kinds of people out there, and you can learn from all of them.

    I do like your plans, though. good luck this year, looks like it will be a lot of fun!

    • Thank you! I’m willing to try whatever works for our kids. So if that means putting them in public school later, hiring a tutor, or switching curriculum until we find a fit, I’ll do it. πŸ™‚

  2. I was a teacher of K-3 for 15 years. I love your idea of teaching through what interests Evan. If he finds it interesting, he will want to learn. Good luck to you!!!

    • Haha, we try. But we definitely have our veg out days too! It’s amazing how much kids pick up on their own. They’re such little sponges.

  3. My 4 year old just started half-day preschool this month and we are still doing quite a bit at home. I love the resources you’ve shared, thank you! My daughter keeps saying “I’m not learning anything!” at school, since her older sisters have taught her so much.

  4. I honestly think home schooling is the best thing any parent can give to their kids because when kids learn from home they get the opportunity to larn through play and that’s very important for their cognitive development.

    Great collection here!

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