The Early Years of Homeschool

Today we’re talking about the early years of homeschool. Please, leave some of YOUR ideas for the early years of homeschooling in the comments.  We need your wisdom. :)  Currently we have 3-children that are ages-5 and under.  I know several of you who have 4 or 5 kiddies ages-5 and under.  You, my friends, rock!

The Early Years of Homeschool

Reader Question:

  • “I have a 3-year old daughter and 4-year old son.  We want to homeschool, but I’m overwhelmed and don’t really know where to start.  I’d really like to know how you homeschool younger kids? Should I spend money on a curriculum?”

In my mind the most important thing to remember during these early years is that you’re already doing a great deal of learning.  Reading to your children, interacting with them on a daily basis, and going through the motions of the day serve as treasured learning tools.  Don’t try to make your home into a rigid classroom.  Your home is a comfortable place for your sweet blessings to naturally learn and grow.

My prescription for healthy early years homeschooling:

  • Snuggles
  • Stories
  • Laughter
  • Games
  • Play
  • Everyday natural learning experiences with mom!

We do not use a full packaged curriculum for any age.  One of the reasons why we homeschool is to customize learning based on each child’s needs.  Many families enjoy a complete purchased package. Some prefer this the first few years of homeschooling.  We use learning tools that we already have in our home, free online resources, and our library card as much as possible.

Here are a few of my favorite FREE online resources for preschool and kindergarten:

In the early years of homeschool I rotate games and easy activities in the younger kids workboxes.  Our workboxes may not be very pretty, but they work well for us.

 Naomi’s Kindergarten Workbox:

The Early Years of Homeschool

The contents of her kindergarten workbox:

The Early Years of Homeschool

  • Science books: I rotate different books
  • Dry erase boards: Several alphabet & number boards
  • Basic craft supplies:  She has her own glue sticks, crayons, scissors, tape, ribbon, card stack, and *sometimes* glitter glue sticks mysteriously appear in her box. ;)
  • Puzzles/Games:  Again, rotation is the key.  I keep her box exciting by rotating different items.  In this picture she has dominoes, matching cards and a few 50 to 100 piece puzzles.
  • Workbooks:  I’m not big on workbooks after severely burning out on them early in our homeschool journey.  However, Naomi loves to fill in the blanks.  She does so with pink crayon, and that is just fine with me.   I keep a supply of workbooks available from our local Dollar Store.

 Gabriel’s Preschool Workbox Contents:

The Early Years of Homeschool

  • Gabriel will be 3-years old in May.  He really enjoys sorting and organizing dried beans, rice, game pieces, legos, and beads. You can read here about creating a preschool sensory station in my post a boy and his beans.  His workbox also includes dominoes, books, and his train computer.

On most days he’ll sort for long periods of time.  It’s just his thing. :)

The Early Years of Homeschool

Recently, I added in an old homemade Popsicle maker to his sorting collection.

The Early Years of Homeschool

No longer am I the frazzled mom attempting to force my young children to sit for hours and fill in the blanks. I had to let go and let God take over our homeschool TONS OF GRACE —>>>It takes time to unlearn “doing school,” and embrace a lifestyle of learning.   As I mentioned in my post about our daily homeschool routine we have a 2-hour block of time that we call our “table work time.” Our older boys are able to complete all of their assignments in that time; however, I do not expect our younger children to stay at the table for that long.

The Early Years of Homeschool

The younger children may also pick from a variety of Melissa and Doug style learning tools, in addition to their workboxes.

Between their workbox activities, and mixing in some playdoh, chalk, or painting, they may stay engaged for close to our 2-hour time-frame.   They are free to fade into playtime at any point.  Naomi and Gabriel also sit/quiet play during afternoon read aloud time.  This week in our read aloud time we’ve read quite a bit on Clara Barton as part of our Civil War study.  In her Kindergarten year, Naomi is absorbing facts about this founder of the American Red Cross.  I’d say that is a pretty full kindergarten experience!

The Early Years of Homeschool

 

Remember, play is a big part of learning!  Childhood is a gift.

Comments

comments

Comments

  1. says

    For some reason, children learn from a young age that “school” is some onerous thing which they must hate. For that reason, if I were starting over, the word school would never pass my lips. I would say things like, “Let’s read a story,” or “Let’s play a game,” or “Let’s make a picture,” or “Let’s go outside and see how many different kinds of flowers we can find.”

    • says

      I agree, Carol. I’d like to have never used the name “school,” too. I think overall the way that we learn is very relaxed, as I know your style is too. I really agree with the “always learning” mode of thinking. :) Thanks for linking up!

  2. says

    I did not begin homeschooling my children until they were in Kindy. I even sent them to public pre-k. While they were in pre-k they learned all about how “awesome” public school was going to be so I then spend the first few months of homeschool convincing them of the benefits. Psh! I will not be doing THAT again. :) All that to say, that I found your post informative and look forward to implementing things next year when my little guy turns 3.

  3. says

    Thank you so much for including a link to my site! So very thoughtful of you.

    I appreciate a look into your workboxes for your littles. Workboxes are a constant item on my to-do list, I just haven’t taken the time to set them up yet. This is a good motivator! Pinned it.

    And YES I totally agree on using the pink crayon! I have one daughter that really likes matching/filling in the blank/circling and her writing tool of choice is always a pink crayon. ;)

    Thanks again-

    • says

      You’re welcome, Lauren! It’s my pleasure. Your site is a wonderful FREE resource. :D

      Ah, yes, we go through many pink crayons; such is the joy of homeschool! I’m glad I’m not alone!

  4. kira says

    i have an almost 5 yr old girl, almost 2 yr old boy, and a baby girl baking away and expected later august. i have been reading your blog and find it refeshing and inspiring. i was looking at the workboxes and saw a binder in your dd’s box. what is that? just curious! we don’t have alot of space and not much room to hang alot of poster type things up for schooling. i have heard of “office” binders for each kiddo. i started one for my dd that has different things she may want to look at from time to time (her name, addy, phone, daddy and momma’s info, days of the week, months, etc). i am always wondering what other mommas include in something like that for a 5 yr old kindy kid.

  5. says

    My kids are ages 4, 3, and 2. For the longest time, I tried to print off the cute worksheet pages I found on Pinterest, used flashcards to quiz my “bigs” on their letters and numbers, and tried to find cute activities to help us celebrate obscure holidays (such as today!) but recently I’ve stopped ALL of that. We play. All day. I have a dress up box, a musical instrument bin, alphabet blocks, fun and catchy sing-along cds, books, crayons, play dough, moldable sand, etc. They play and play and play all day. And miraculously, somehow, without the worksheets, the flashcards, the dry erase boards, the projects, and the structured “school” time, my kids are learning their letters! They’re recognizing numbers, memorizing Bible verses, and catching onto vocabulary that’s far more advanced than their peers. Without the structure of “school,” my 3 are so happy and imaginative, they’re practically teaching themselves. We watch lots of PBS shows in the afternoons, such as “Sid the Science Kid” and “Super Why?” which encourage science and reading. I always watch with them so we can talk about the things we see. This age is so precious, and I guess I discovered that I don’t have to do “school” with them. I just let go, said a prayer, and let them learn at their own pace, and it’s been wonderful.

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  2. […] This post was shared at: • Homestead Barn Hop • Soli Deo Gloria • On Your Heart Tuesdays • Titus 2sdays • Gratituesdays • Living Well Wednesdays • Welcome Wednesdays • Works for Me Wednesdays • Homemaking Link-Up • Big Family Fridays […]

  3. […] 10-12 = Table Work:  What we’ve come to call “table work” at our house is just that, the time when the books are spread out and we dig into our lessons.  I have more posts in the works with additional detail on how preschool, kindergarten and older years work in our house.  Short version for today: Naomi (5) and Gabriel (2) spread out at the kitchen table with their workboxes.   I focus the 30-45 minutes working directly with Naomi and Gabriel, while Jadin (11) and Zion (8) start on their workboxes at our schoolroom table independently. Liam (1) is either riding on my back or sitting in his seat chewing on a puzzle.  Here you can read more about our early years of homeschool. […]

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