So this last week, I asked on Facebook what questions you all had about homeschooling a preschooler. The responses I got there, by email, and on Twitter were amazing.
I’m going to tell you right now – I don’t have all the answers. We’ve only been at this a week at home. But as a nanny who helped in numerous classrooms, then as a preschool and kindergarten teacher, I’ve worked with enough kids to know quite a bit about their learning styles.
I’ve also been researching homeschool methods and ideas for the past year and a half. I want to write on what I’ve learned, in hopes that it gives anyone interested the confidence to give it a shot. I’m going to be doing posts weekly on our days – from what mistakes I’ve made, how our routine for school goes, books that I love, crafts we make, and skills we learn (or don’t).
Today I’m going to share with you my favorite books for getting ready to homeschool and the process of teaching a preschooler. Please know that I read these over a series of months, some I still am, several I refer back to often. These are my style, so you may find them too laid back, too formal – and that’s fine. Hopefully it simply gives someone a jumping off point.
Be sure to check your local library before buying any! None of my links here are affiliates or paid, and none of the authors know I’ve featured them.
Or that I’m alive.
Here we go:
Sometime last year I was introduced to Five in a Row, and promptly fell in love with it’s emphasis on literacy, books, and more natural based learning. I realized they also had a preschool program, Before Five in a Row (BFIAR), yet while it’s from ages 2-4, I held off until Bella was almost 3 to start anything structured. I plan on doing a more in depth post on the entire preschool book later, but this the basis around the structured time we’ll set aside for preschool. BFIAR is Christian based, but in this book it’s very easily left out to become simply teaching the classics and activities.
As you can see, our library had Homeschooling FAQ’s available and yours probably does too. I love its straight forward approach to homeschooling – all the laws and thoughts and different methods. Often I stopped while reading and thought, “Huh, I had no idea about that.” It is very heavy on reasons not to send your child to public schools, but if you can read past that you’ll glean a lot of good information out of it. (That’s not the main reason we chose homeschooling so I’m not anti-public school by any means.)
I knew Montessori would be a big part of our homeschool style, but needed a direct approach to how to start it. Teach Me to Do it Myself features Montessori activities that are perfect for the older (3-4+) preschool skill level. I love it because it focuses on the basics that so often get skipped over. Threading buttons, setting the table, learning to pour, understanding what numbers mean and not just the reciting of them, and the phonetic alphabet are just a few of the skills listed. Easily written out with side notes for modifications and other activities to try, this book is a keeper for us.
If you’re interested in Montessori, I can highly recommend Teaching Montessori in the Home as a way to learn about it in depth without having to search high and low for how to apply it to a preschool level. It explains what the basic concepts of Montessori learning are and includes activities in the back. The one I have (not sure if there is an updated edition) does say she recommends only homeschooling until the child is around kindergarten age for “socialization” reasons – however it was published in 1968 so I take that with a grain of salt.
This isn’t a homeschooling book, but I find myself turning to it again and again over the months that Bella grows up. Your Toddler Month by Month (ages 1-4) teaches me about where she is developmentally and physically, and I can see where she should be in the next 6 months/year. I find it helps me to view her differently – I take her tantrums and attitude less personal when I know it’s normal for her age and not just directed at me. It also helps me to know how she’s learning and understanding new concepts, all essential for teaching at home.
Steady Days – one of my favorite books for having organized, practical days and weeks. It’s one of those books where you read it and think, “I could totally do this.” Jamie makes motherhood and all the juggling we do just a bit easier and more manageable with her ideas and schedules. She’s also really honest – you don’t read the book and sink into the couch with a cake and bottle of wine thinking, “Well. No point in trying. Obviously this lady has perfect kids.” She also blogs at Simple Homeschool.
Other books I’ve used and love:
- The Complete Daily Cirriculum for Early Childhood - I used this heavily while teaching preschool.
- Brain Quest for 3′s – Not a book but flip cards with questions geared towards 3 year olds. Loved this as a nanny when we were stuck in the car. Other ages/grades available.
- Writing in Preschool: Learning to Orchestrate Meanings and Marks – I can’t speak highly enough about this book that uses actual pre-writing of children to decode the meanings behind it and to see how your child’s “marks and scribbles” are their way of preparing to write. It’s a fascinating book on how children put together pictures and words in their own unique way.
I’m putting together more of these posts, but these books are for you as a teacher, books for your children will come later – because how do you choose quickly from all those?
I hope you’ll join in here as we build a homeschooling community from preschool and on, encouraging others by sharing/pinning/tweeting what I’ve put and commenting with any questions, your ideas, or just to help someone who might be floundering. Please always feel free to leave a link to your own blog or someone else’s that might be helpful.