Homeschooling Preschool? This Is What I Wish I’d Known

Beginning homeschooling can be intimidating and exciting at the same time. When we first began, I had lots of ideas about how to homeschool preschool. Looking back, there are some things I wish I had known before we began our homeschool journey.

I’m going to share all the lessons we learned about when to start homeschooling, what to teach, and how long you should homeschool each day to help you get started on the right foot. Discover the top 3 things that made preschool work for us and what I wish I’d known about homeschooling preschool before we got started.

Beginning Our Homeschool Journey

At the beginning of our homeschooling journey, I knew that I wanted to build our lessons around Emily’s interests and curiosity as much as possible. I wanted her to learn letters, sounds, numbers, and counting. I wanted the process of learning to be fun for Emily, so teaching with resources and topics she was already interested in was a must. 

I tried to implement circle time and added programs like Hooked on Phonics, Explode the Code, and Horizons Math. Even in those early preschool days, we were already slowly adopting a loose version of the schedule we use today. Our homeschool preschool schedule was basically morning basket, table time, and afternoon activities together.

A lot of our early preschool “unit study projects” focused on animals corresponding to the letters of the alphabet. For example, we capitalized on Emily’s interest in dinosaurs as we learned about the letter D in our homeschool preschool lesson plans.

I learned a lot about my daughter, myself, and what was really important to us during our preschool years. In fact, we probably learned more about each other during those years than any others. So what did preschool look like for us?

Let’s be honest, it looked a lot like school at home. We did way more work than we should have during preschool. Lots of homeschool preschool curriculum busy bookwork. It didn’t take long for me to discover that more learning was happening as we did life together after school than when we were actually at the table doing school.

Since then, I’ve come to realize that what was really important for me to let Emily be little. With that in mind, my new Purposeful Preschool program focuses on learning through play, exploring your child’s natural curiosity, and working early learning concepts into your day in a way that’s fun and flexible.

3 Things That Made Preschool Work For Us

I quickly discovered that what worked for our homeschool preschool lesson plans wasn’t the traditional school model. The elaborate circle time we started with and all the bookwork wasn’t when we learned the most. We were learning more in the hours after homeschooling when we watched learning shows together, cooked up our favorite recipes in the kitchen, and played games as a family.

So what 3 things made preschool work for us? Here are three of our favorite preschool learning activities you can do with your preschool learners at home too:

Purposeful Play

It didn’t take long for me to discover that I really wanted to let Emily be little. Fred Rogers famously said “Play is often talked about as if it were a relief from serious learning. But for children, play is serious learning. Play is the work of childhood.” 

Learning through play is a big part of how we approach homeschooling not just preschool but every age. In our new Purposeful Preschool homeschool curriculum, we offer lots of awesome pretend play opportunities you can use to explore your child’s interests and capitalize on their natural curiosity about the world around them.

You’ll get 26 different pretend play packs in the new Purposeful Preschool curriculum to help you learn in a way that’s natural, interest-led, and play based with your little ones. You can pretend to be a doctor, a scientist, and so many other fun real-life characters as you learn this year.

Picture Books

Looking back, I wish bookwork had been a much smaller part of our homeschool preschool lesson plans here at the Waldock Way. All the worksheets and curriculum books didn’t facilitate as much learning as hands-on activities and purposeful play. 

One thing we have kept from our preschool approach that I really love is learning through great books. Picture books read aloud are engaging for children of all ages and we have learned so much from them. There are fascinating historical figures, imagination, and important life lessons hidden in the pages of your favorite picture books. 

Discover some of our favorite picture books in our new Purposeful Preschool lessons and share them with your homeschoolers. You can use great picture books to teach topics like poetry, art & music, and even math!

We learned so much through all the amazing picture books we read together during the preschool years! That’s why I’ve included an awesome book list to get you started in our Purposeful Preschool curriculum. Don’t hesitate to spend lots of time choosing books that interest you and your preschooler in the local library or bookstore too.

Cooking Together

There’s a lot to be learned in the kitchen! Building motor skills by mixing and pouring is an important preschool skill that’s lots of fun for kids too. Following a recipe quickly becomes a great way to practice following directions and exploring measurement too.

We had a lot of fun cooking for Dad in the kitchen during the preschool years. Themed snack times were a great way to reiterate all the important early learning concepts we were focusing on that year too. For example, alphabet themed snacks, shape snacks, and counting snacks made practicing letters, shapes, and counting a lot more fun. 

Check out the alphabet themed snacks ideas in my Purposeful Preschool homeschool curriculum for even more great ideas like bananas for the letter B and carrots for the letter C. You can count crackers or grapes for counting practice. Shaped snacks like circular snacking cheese and square crackers make shape practice fun too.

What I Wish I’d Known About Homeschooling Preschool

Hindsight is 20/20, so here are my takeaways looking back on our preschool years. At first, I didn’t know we were beginning our homeschool journey. In the beginning, it just made sense for our family to have Emily at home during the preschool years.

I was really excited about all the different homeschool preschool curriculum options and approaches. I knew that our family wanted to make learning a way of life and I knew that fostering a connection with Emily was really important to me. I didn’t know that our homeschool preschool schedule didn’t need to be so rigorous. 

Once I put away some of the formal lesson plans and ideas that didn’t work for our family (like an elaborate circle time routine with just two people), I discovered what really works for our homeschool family and the courage to follow the approach that works best for us.

As you begin your homeschooling journey this year, I hope you’re able to take these lessons and embrace what works best for your family. Let go of what doesn’t work and above all things let your preschoolers be little as you learn together this year.

Get started on the right foot with my Purposeful Preschool curriculum. You can learn from my experience and discover all the things I wish I had known as you learn together from the very start of your homeschooling journey. Read great books, play all day, and above all embrace being little with the new Purposeful Preschool homeschool curriculum.