Reading Together- Homeschool Preschool Ideas

As I shared in my last post, over the month of March I will be giving you many ideas to get started doing homeschool preschool in your home. The ideas I am giving you this week focus on activities to do with your child while you read aloud together. Consider putting some of these into your calendar. Continue to follow along with me through the month of March for more ideas!

Read 20 Minutes a Day

The children’s reading foundation recommends reading with your child at least 20 minutes per day, ages birth and up. I remember reading with my oldest when she was a newborn. We would lay on the floor together and I would hold the book up and read to her, it was a wonderful way to bond!

The Children's Reading Foundation

Take the Reading Pledge

Use Local Resources

Where we live now we have access to the Dolly Parton Imagination Library. The Imagination Library sends us 1 book for each registered child ages birth through 5 EVERY month! My children LOVE getting a book every month in the mail. This is a free program, but is not available everywhere. See if your town has access to the imagination library. One thing I love about many (but not all) of the books that come from the imagination library is that they have questions and activities to go with each book on the inside flap, these help us teach our children reading comprehension.

Here are some more reading ideas for you to work on this week:

As You Read:

  • Let your child pick the book off the shelf, if they want to read it over and over again try these ideas:
    • read the same book different ways, one time make all the voices different, one time just look at the pictures, one time talk about the feelings or what everyone is doing
  • Ask your child about the cover of the book
    • have them identify the cover
    • ask them where the author is (read it to them)
    • ask them where the title is (read it to them)
  • Before reading a book, ask your child what they think the book will be about by looking at the cover
  • While reading together, clap the syllables of a few words or pictures
  • Point to a picture in a book, work with your child to come up with rhyming words (remember, nonsensical words are okay)
  • Talk about how the characters in the story feel
  • Relate any activities your child has experienced with the story

Relate To The Story:

  • Do something related to the story
    • After the book Blueberries for Sal, go pick blueberries together, or can blueberries, or make blueberry jam
    • After the book I am Bunny, talk about what season it is, go and do what bunny does in that season
  • Act out the Story
    • After the story, put on a play, acting out what happened in the story
  • Draw a picture of what happened in the story, let your child draw whatever they want, do not direct it
    • after they draw, ask them what character they liked best, have them draw the character
  • Make food relating to the book

Make it Fun:

  • Talk to your child about being their own author, make a book out of paper and have them illustrate a page or 2 each day,  ask them what they drew and narrate the book for them
    • read the story together when it is finished
    • We usually use something like this:

  • Start a chapter book at meal time or bedtime
  • Get some non-fiction books from the library
  • Focus on some books that relate to something your child enjoys (horses, tea, tractors, dogs etc.)
  • Try to find an interactive book at the library
    • One of our favorites:

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Getting Your Child READY! for Kindergarten-Homeschool Preschool Ideas

READY! for Kindergarten is a national program through The Children’s Reading Foundation, originating in Washington State we have family members that teach and participate in this program. The thing I love about READY is they focus on ages birth through Kindergarten and give parents tools, resources, and ideas to use in every day life or in a more focused “homeschool” preschool atmosphere. I highly recommend finding a local READY! for Kindergarten program if there is one near you.

One of the recent tools I have from them is a calendar with 2-3 activities per week. Some of these activities are simple things we already do every day, others are new things that focus on a skill my children are learning. What a great way to work home school preschool into your schedule if you have not already! Make a list (or use one of mine) and plug 2-3 activities for the week into your calendar. I love using the reminder function in Google Calendar, it emails me a reminder for the day to prep and incorporate the activity.

Here are some more ideas:

  • Work on learning a song or finger play this week
    • think of a rhyme, song, or poem from your childhood you enjoyed
    • Check out Dr. Becky Bailey’s book I Love You Rituals
  • Have child match up numbers 1-9 with another number set (think of a puzzle, numbering 2 sets of spoons, numbers on a calendar etc.)
  • Roll 1 foam dice and turn another foam dice to match the dots
  • When reading a book ask your child “What will happen next” or “what was the story about” or “what did ____ do in the story”?
  • Sort coins or buttons into piles (start with 2 piles of likeness then do more)
  • Count stairs when walking up or down in your home, library, or community center
  • Name an item and take turns saying rhyming words (nonsensical words count too!)
  • Sing the ABC song while brushing teeth
  • Roll 2 dice, put a bear on top of each dot, ask “which has more? less?”
  • Make a two color pattern with counting bears or buttons (ababab pattern)
  • Find a book of Rhymes at the library, memorize one
    • try acting it out together for fun connecting time
  • Show several objects, take away one while child closes eyes. Ask “What is missing?”
  • Ask child open ended questions while reading “what would you do if”, “How do you think ___ feels”?
  • Talk with child about schedule for the day, at bedtime review what they did
  • At bedtime ask child what their favorite activity was
  • Check out a non-fiction book from the library, learn the meaning of some new words, have your child repeat the words back to you

For more ideas check these out:

Over the next month I will also be posting several ideas each week to try. I have also found that once I get my homeschool preschool supplies established and a schedule going, it becomes easier to come up with my own ideas to help my child grow their skills where they are at.

Happy learning!

Writing Letters

Sometimes learning to write letters can be a bit tricky. If your kids are like mine they were able to identify and make letter sounds much earlier than they were able to write the letters. Some of this comes with fine motor development, some with just remembering all those shapes. Here are some ideas to help your little learn to write letters. These are also some FUN home school preschool activities!

practice-writingskills

Inexpensive Writing Practice

  1. Salt Box/Salt Tray Letters
    • Fill a shallow tray or dish with salt, put the letter the child is working on in front of them, have the child trace the letter into the salt, then gently shake the dish to erase it
    • Rice would work as well
    • I like to coordinate this with our letter of the week or letters they already know the sound for, having them say the sound as they write it in the salt is bonus!
  2. Sandpaper and Yarn Letters
    • Using sand paper, give your child lengths of yarn, have them use the yarn to make letters
    • This would work great when learning to spell their name
  3. Spaghetti Letters
    • Cook up some spaghetti make letters out of the noodles
  4. Snowy Letters
    • Use a stick or hand to make letters in the snow
  5. Frosty Letters
    • Cold outside? Have your child blow on the window until it frosts, then they can write their letter on the window
  6. Tracing
    • Write the letter or letters on a piece of paper, have the child trace the letter with a highlighter

Other Letter Practice

I have several other tools I use for home school preschool that help improve letter writing and identification. Continue reading

Homeschool Preschool Ideas

Here are some (of many) ideas to help you get started with your own homeschool preschool. Remember, encourage the process over the product.

Age 2-3

  • Busy Bags (check Pinterest)
  • Sort various buttons into a muffin pan, let them pick how to sort
  • Use a shape or color sorting toy
  • Scissor Practice
    • Teach how to hold scissors
    • Give your child a piece of paper and let them cut it into little pieces until they are done
  • Kumon First Steps Workbooks
    • These are great for fine motor development
  • Put different colored papers on the floor- have toddler jump to the color you call out
  • Get a bunch of stickers, have child peel and stick stickers on a laminated paper  to make them re-usable
  • Write out the names of family members in separate papers, have child identify their name, then call out other names and have them point to it
  • Show child the first letter of their first name, teach the sound of that letter
  • Give child 2 sets of shapes, (on paper or 3-d object) have child match the shapes
  • Give child 2 bowls of beans, have child scoop beans from left to right (learning direction as a foundation for reading), have child try different scooping tools
  • Give child 2 bowls of cotton balls, have child use tongs or tweezers to move balls from left to right
  • Give child 2 jars, 1 with a small amount of water, have child use eye dropper or turkey baster to move water from left to right, have towel or sponge nearby and have child clean up spills
  • Have child sort counting bears into different colored cups
  • Count steps when you walk up and down them
  • Listen to music, dance, maybe even get a pot and spoon out for a drum

Continue reading

Homeschool Preschool–Getting Started

Homeschool preschool, this was a term my mentor used when my daughter had just turned 2. Apparently 2-3 is the popular time to start sending your little one off to get their education. 2-3 years old! My little one had just learned to talk, and we were really just getting to know each other. I wanted to be the one to begin teaching the foundations for her world–who God is and what we are here for.

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Ages birth to 6 are the time of moral development, I wanted to be her teacher for this important foundational time. To me, preschool wasn’t just the time we spent doing formal education, it was every part of the day. Preschool was learning life skills, learning about God, learning about family, and finally, learning academics. My time with my children is limited, I want to make sure that every day I teach them something. Before I get to the “formal education” part of our homeschool preschool, I want to talk about the rest, which is maybe even more important than counting and writing.

The Real Homeschool Preschool

Every day is a day of learning for children. They learn how to get dressed, how to care for themselves, they learn how to cut their food how to help with responsibilities, they learn how to share and be kind to others, they learn about their creator, and they begin to learn their purpose in life. I try to view every moment of my children’s day through their eyes. Many things they do every day, they are still learning to do, and I am here to guide them.

It may be important for a doctor to understand the anatomy of the body, but don’t they also need to know how to communicate with others? It may also be important for a musician to know how to read symbols and terms written on their music, but don’t they also need to know what their purpose in life is?  Continue reading