To ease the journey towards education, finding the right homeschool curriculum is essential, especially when you have a toddler(s) at home, who is eager to jump on the learning train.
It seems like ages ago that people had the choice of sending their children to school or bringing the school to them, or homeschooling them. In these days of the COVID-19 pandemic, homeschooling has become the only option. As for online classes, they are only as good as the learner, and we all know that our toddler(s) can be a handful. Therefore, choosing the right curriculum for them is important where they get to learn and play.
Preschoolers include toddlers 2-5 years olds and their education involves fun and curiosity. This is the time when you lay a foundation by guiding them to explore and discover the world around them.
What & How Do Preschoolers Learn?
The word preschool implies learning important skills and acquiring basic knowledge before starting primary school. The preschool homeschool curriculum consists of playing, coloring, reading, writing, art, and craft activities.
Preschoolers will learn letters, numbers, shapes, and colors, art and crafts like cutting and gluing, activities such as coloring, drawing and also learn about the different weathers or days of the week, singing and dancing to rhymes and music and so on. These are among the many activities they’ll learn and discover that will build up a foundation for knowledge.
Since the preschooler’s age ranges from as young as 2-year-olds to 5-year-olds, the primary tool for learning is to play. Children can develop their problem-solving and cognitive skills, expand their vocabulary knowledge, and become more physically involved through play-based education.
Another tactic is sensory-based playing where several tools and materials are used to provide them with hands-on exploration, like, playing with slimes, play-doh, or kinetic sand. This improves critical thinking abilities and polishes their fine motor skills.
What To Look For In a Preschool Homeschool Curriculum?
As the school season draws near, many of us are getting ready to homeschool our kids in this pandemic. So, when searching for the right homeschool preschool curriculum, look for programs that will provide hands-on learning experiences.
Language and Literacy Skills
Look for a curriculum that teaches letter recognition and sounds. It should include quality literature and encourage story-telling and reading for children. Reading aloud to children improves their language and literary skills as they start comprehending that the letters form words and that words have meanings and that the text goes from left to right.
The program should also include rhymes that are demonstrated through stories, poems, and songs.
The program you choose should include the basics such as quantity and comparison before stepping into the world of arithmetic. Sorting, categorizing, comparing (big/small, tall/short), understanding shapes, patterns, and numbers can all be part of the program to inspire children to discuss mathematical concepts through hands-on practices.
Recognizing colors may not be a math skill, but it is important when sorting and categorizing. Other simple matters the toddlers should learn are time concepts such as morning/night, days of the week, and months of the year.
Fine motor skills
Preschoolers are already involved in many tasks at home that the curriculum would help to improve their motor skills. Look for a program that would allow them to improve their skills through activities such as coloring, cutting, gluing, pasting, building blocks, and so on. A DVD set of Dream Big: Engineering Our World, is perfect for kids who love building blocks and Legos and inspires them to participate in activities.
Picking The “Right” Curriculum
When researching homeschool curriculums for preschoolers, you will come across many options to choose from. To ensure that the chosen curriculum is right, there are a few factors you need to consider before beginning to preschool your child.
- Know Your Child
Before going through the curriculum, know and understand the strengths and weaknesses of your child. It is very important to understand your toddler’s learning style as it will help save you and your child from many frustrations. For instance, if your child is an eager learner, then you can opt for a program that is a little advanced, that you think will be best for him/her.
However, if your child is easily distracted, then find something that he/she can learn while playing. Both of these types of preschoolers will turn out to be fine with a different curriculum. Just because they follow different programs does not mean one will learn less than the other.
- Time Management
If you have time in your hand, you can go for a curriculum that is detailed and requires time to teach your little one. For instance, the program Before Five in a Row is packed with activities and children’s literature. It takes a longer time to plan and gather materials and is good for parents with an only child or with plenty of time in their hands.
However, if you are a busy mom with more than one child, you can opt for a program that would keep your easily distracted kids completely busy with an “open and go” curriculum. For example, The Homegrown Preschooler provides you with activities that you can do with your child around the house. This type of program provides hands-on experience with the kitchen, garden, or other rooms as a basis for learning.
- Teaching Styles
There are many homeschool teaching styles available or, you can follow however you think is best for your children to understand and learn. You can come up with your style of homeschooling or seek help online.
The important point is before jumping on the preschool train, do your research carefully about the curriculum you want to adopt and whether or not it will be the right one for your child. Do not worry if you think you’ve picked the wrong one because you can always go back and change it. Try to understand your child’s learning styles and struggles and make a decision based on how well they can manage the curriculum you’ve chosen. Most importantly, have fun!