A Gentle Homeschool Schedule For Preschoolers
There are so many examples online of how to plan a homeschool schedule for preschoolers.
So, I’ve put together a few tips to help you plan a homeschool schedule that works well for both your preschooler and for you.
1. A homeschool schedule isn’t one size fits all
Every family has a different rhythm and homeschooling offers you the perfect opportunity to discover your own.
Don’t feel obliged to follow what everyone else appears to be doing.
If your morning people you want to get stuck in straight away but if not then a slower start to the day would suit you.
Observe how your days ebb and flow and give yourself a chance to settle into your families natural rhythmn.
There really is no need to rush into any formal teaching with little ones.
Offering rich learning opportunities like cookery, crafting and gardening throughout the day will prove invaluable to you’re child’s education.
There are so many really easy ways to teach preschoolers to read and recognise numbers that don’t involve sitting down or even picking up a pencil.
3. Something For Everyone
4. Plan for Laughter
Sometimes it’s easy to overlook the simplest of things and it may even seem a little forced to timetable laughter…but hear me out!
As a home educating, working from home parent with 2 young children I do find that I sometimes get stuck in a rut. I start to take myself and life a little too seriously and I laugh a lot less.
The more this happens, the more I notice my children’s moods and as a result, their behaviour change.
Planning a fun game that gets everyone giggling builds our connection, which is key to gentle parenting.
Our favourite funny activities include: wrestling on the bed, bouncing in the trampoline, making up knock-knock jokes and calling each other silly names.
5. Engaging Activities
It is totally normal for a three-year old to struggle with activities that involve sitting still and listening. They will learn to do this as they mature and it is not something that they need to be taught.
Plan engaging and motivating activities that keep their interest and build skills through play.
This post includes tips on how to teach toddlers without them even realising it.
Every child is different but as your child reaches age 4 or 5 they will most likely be able to sit and concentrate on an activity for longer. They may show more of an interest in sitting a ‘writing’ or reading for 15 minutes or so.
6. Invitations to Play
The key to encouraging ‘good’ learners is to promote a love of learning.
Offer experiences that don’t look like traditional ‘learning’.
Set up a bicycle repair shop by upturning their balance bike and laying out a tool set and clipboard.
Arrange toy animals and a medical set to make a vets office.
Provide a pile of loose parts like cardboard tubes and plastic cartons so kids can get creative.
The golden rule I follow for invitations to play is to never force my children to engage in the activity or to complete it in a certain way.
7. Breaks for everyone
Breaks are important for both parent and child.
Children need plenty of time to play freely without interruptions or interference from adults. They also need time to chill whether it’s with a book, game or watching their favourite show.
Our favourite breaks is probably ‘teatime’ where we sit with warm teapot full of hot chocolate and I read to them.
Us parents will need time to get things done too which can be tricky with kids home all day.
I find a bullet journal really focuses my time better and helps me to be more realistic about what I expect to get done.
It is a good idea to work towards young children being able to amuse themselves for periods of time. Again, I wouldn’t force this and how easily it will happen will often depend on your child’s personality.
Often, having a preschool homeschool schedule that allocates plenty of time for genuine connection will help children to feel more content and able to leave your side at other times.
8. Outside Time
Last but definitely not least is to get outdoors.
Watch theseasoms change, build a connection with nature and get some fresh air.
Play Focused Homeschool Preschool Schedule
The preschool schedule is setup in a way that allows activities to flow and find a natural transition.
This really helps preschoolers who struggle with activities changing too abruptly.
It works because at the ‘end’ of each activity we do something that our kids will enjoy…i.e. food or play.
We spend the morning having breakfast, getting ready, watching TV and playing.
At 9am I put YouTube on the TV and we do a Cosmic Kids Yoga session which takes is to 9.30am.
Once they are up and moving it’s usually pretty easy to get them interested in reading what our Challenge Card says…at the moment we’re working through these nature focused Spring Activity Challenge Cards.
Just print off the Challenge Cards and choose one for each day. They’re linked to other resources that you can print off and are adaptable for any age.
Break for a snack.
It’s time to for some free play!
Some kids love to ‘just play’ while others seem to struggle to get started.
If my boys are struggling to get-along or if I feel like they need some encouragement then I’ll put together a quick set-up for them to discover.
A car wash station, a vets office, a doctor’s surgery, a garage, a fossil hunt, toys frozen in ice…there are loads more ideas in this post…Easy activities for toddlers and preschoolers…
Usually it gets them interested and is enough to inspire an elaborate game of make-believe!
Other times, we’ll all lie on the beanbag and have a cry! 🤣
Seriously though I have some great games you can play with kids while lying down!
That takes us up to lunch when we’ll have a picnic lunch outside, on the living room floor with teddies or in front of the TV…depending on energy levels etc.
It’s finally time to chill on the sofa with a book or a tablet and play one of our favourite learning apps for kids.
I find that transitioning them away from screens is much easier if I don’t tell them to get off. I usually wait for a natural break in what they are doing and say “what shall we play?” or if they’re in a playful mood I’ll say “Count to 20 and come find me!”
8 times out of 10 it works and if it doesn’t it doesn’t and we skip straight to…
We’ve started a lovely idea I saw on Pinterest recently. I’ll make a proper pot of tea and some milkshake and we’ll sit together, chat and eat some biscuits.
Now we’ve refueled we do some of our family project.
Projects are great because they are entirely child-led and about a topic of their choice.
They’re also perfect for homeschooling families with more than one child as everyone can work on something different depending on their ability.
For example, we recently did a project on dinosaurs so we:
- Mind-mapped various ideas and questions we had about dinosaurs.
- Found out how big some dinosaur feet were and made life-size outlines.
- Baked dino footprint cookies.
- Made a volcano picture.
- Made a paper maché volcano.
- Sorted dinosaurs into carnivores and herbivores.
- Recorded some facts about our favourites.
I tend to go with the flow and dip into Twinkl or another free home schooling resource if I need a printable.
After we’ve tidied away our project the boys usually run off to play again, turn on the TV or play a fun Facetime game with friends.
A quick note about play…
I think it’s worth noting that I don’t expect my boys to get into their playing groove every single time.
When they do it is absolutely awesome to watch but it doesn’t always happen.
Sometimes ‘free play’ means:
- Pulling out the Lego
- Setting up a Playmobil scene with them.
- Giving them the box of spare parts (containers etc that were headed to the recycling).
- Setting up a quick role play or challenge.
Follow my new Easy Toddler and Preschool Activity Facebook Page for loads of ideas.
I hope this homeschool schedule for preschoolers has helped you but truly the best way to find the perfect preschool schedule is to try out different ideas until you find a good mix.
My top tip for most parents would be to lower your expectations and don’t get too Pinterest happy! It’s amazing for ideas but I often need to remind myself that the whole point of an activity is my child’s experience…not having something beautiful to show for it!
I love to hear from readers so please get in touch and follow my Facebook page Family Edventures.
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