When I started teaching my daughter, I didn’t think of it as homeschooling. There were some things that I thought were important for her to learn so I tried to present them in a way that she could relate to. I didn’t have to do much planning. I didn’t need to buy any supplies, and I didn’t make over my home to make it look like a school.
Our philosophy on homeschooling is creating a structured but free environment that transforms teaching into living, and school work into habits of learning.
You do not need to do a craft or activity everyday. You do not need the whole day to teach. You should not recreate school at home.
You just need a little discipline, some patience, and a lot of love to give your children the best education possible.
Simple Teaching Tips
In my other How to Homeschool Preschool posts I emphasize the need for character development over all other subjects. That means, it’s not so much what they learn, but what they DO that is important during this first year.
Here are some homeschooling teaching tips that will help you establish a peaceful learning environment and tackle the most important subject; your children’s hearts.
The Heart of the Matter
Discipline is the first lesson and it should take priority over academics.
I’m not just talking about children obeying the rules, but also developing habits that help cultivate personal responsibility and self discipline. It’s really about the condition of your children’s hearts.
If your children are fussy, grumpy, or unmotivated, make sure you take time to address the attitude and find a solution to prevent breakdowns. Reward systems and privileges are important to help young children experience consequences and the satisfaction of a job well done.
If your children aren’t doing what they are supposed to do before your lessons can start, don’t be tempted to skip those tasks simply to check the boxes on your lesson plans to “get them ahead of the game”. Set high standards and expect more of your children. They will strive to live up to what you think of them.
If your children have a bad attitude about everything you are doing for them, punish them until they change their attitude. Then remember to read the Bible and pray with them so they remember why they need to listen to you.
Organization and routines help you make the most of your day and prevent behavior problems. You don’t have to micromanage children’s whole day, but giving them a routine will help them know what to expect and be mentally prepared for transitions.
For preschool, start by dedicating a small amount of time doing something with your child. It doesn’t have to be a formal lesson, but something that has purpose and is one-on-one. It could be reading a story one day, counting toys another day, and playing a game the next. Whatever it is, keep it consistent so your children expect and look forward to their learning time.
After you have established this small routine, you can start planning out more for your day. But before put together your lesson plans or homeschool routine, there are a few things to keep in mind.
The Biggest Mistake
An important rule to follow when teaching young children is the law of diminishing returns. It’s a simple guide to show how people feel when they are learning something and time goes by; a great reminder to keep things short and sweet.
So, two things determine how long you should dedicate to homeschool lessons; your children’s interest and your other priorities. There is a healthy balance and you’ll have to determine what is best for you and your children.
For our family, we keep individual lessons to 15-30 minutes. That is one-on-one time with mom or dad. You’d be amazed at how much children can learn in that short time. It also helps breakdowns from happening and we have less discipline issues because of it.
You might be tempted to extend it if your children are having a great time and you should, sometimes. However, stopping before your children want to can be a great motivator for the next day’s lesson or if you need to pick it back up in the evening.
Most of us can’t teach our children all day like a teacher in a classroom. Some think that’s normal because it’s what the schools do, but that’s one of the biggest mistakes homeschool parents make in the early years.
They don’t realize that 5 minutes of individual time with mom or dad is equal to 20 minutes in a large group setting.
Parents try to pack the day full with activities, crafts, and joyful learning. It quickly becomes mournful learning; where the letter B brings scowls and the words “circle time” make children twitch.
That’s why it’s important to manage and limit your lesson time to help your children transition from free play 24/7 to a more structured learning environment.
Capitalize on Everyday Experiences
We dedicate a total of about 2 hours a day to “homeschooling” our 3 young children. The reason I put the word in quotes is because I believe the whole day is filled with educational experiences. Just because it isn’t a subject in a public school doesn’t mean it isn’t important and my children aren’t learning.
In fact, most of the subjects that really matter aren’t even touched in public school.
It is important to remember when you’re planning your day to capitalize on everything you have to offer your children.
Laundry is an educational experience. Helping cook meals is an educational experience. Taking a walk is an educational experience. Calling grandma is an educational experience.
Your children can be learning all day if you take the effort to become more vocal and help your children connect what they’re learning in lesson time to the real world.
For example, we learn a lot at the dinner table. I take advantage of the time by asking them lots of questions, quizzing them on their memory verses, doing some character development table topics, and reading the Bible.
So don’t discount those everyday experiences that most children miss out on. Those are the lessons that excite; an education that children thrive on.
Free Home Education eBook
These are just a few tips I have on Teaching your Preschoolers at home. You can download our Home Education guide for free to help you learn more about teaching your children at home with success.
I haven’t covered all of my teaching tips, so in the next few posts I’ll cover why it is important to keep things simple, free play, learning stations, and a typical day in my homeschool.
Click here to read all the posts in my How to Homeschool Preschool series.
Do you have any teaching tips? I’d love to hear them!