What does it mean to bring learning to life for your kinder? In this post I want to share some tips that can help you with homeschooling kindergarten or preschool age kids.
Some tips on homeschooling kindergarten
Today in kindergarten, we read “The Princess and the Pea” by Lauren Child (also author of the Charlie and Lola series). I really liked this version of the story as it appeals to our younger readers.
(The original author is Hans Christian Anderson, but this version is updated and kept my 5 year old’s interest). I also felt we were able to do more with this book…in terms of language arts.
I printed three index cards with keywords from the book that I felt stood out the most. We used these for sight words. Each time we came to that particular word in the book, I held up the card, until eventually my daughter could name the word without my prompting.
(here’s a video our story and language arts time)…
Then we re-enacted the story. Our play was fun. (I played the king, queen, and the prince! Talk about multiple roles!) And of course, my princess played…the princess.
So, of course I was inspired to write a post that will give you some ideas about merging pre-k fun with your curriculum.
Bringing “learning to life” for your younger preschooler or kindergartener:
1.) Never stick with the book.
If you are using a curriculum mapped out from September through May, consider it your personal guide, but not your mandate. Kids this age just need to have a lot of fun in their day … and I’m constantly reminded of this every single day we have school. No matter what it is (whether math, science, or handwriting, if we don’t make it a fun and enjoyable experience, all of our plans will backfire).
So find resources outside of the curriculum to help your child engage in the learning process. I personally like Lesson Pathways (which pulls together free online resources all in one place). Find DVD’s, games (both online and off), or art activities that help to solidify what you’re teaching.
2.) Tap into your inner creativity.
This is where you’ll need to go way, way back to when you were a little kid. What kinds of environments completed your educational atmosphere that helped you to learn better? Who was that perfect teacher that made learning fun for you?
Emulate her. Do what he did in the classroom to make it come to life for you. Repeat the good things, the creative things, in your homeschool.
No, you don’t have to be a master artist or to be artistic, nor do you need a team of curriculum advisors to help you to make learning fun for your little scholars.
Remember, kindergarten and preschool is a time for fun and creativity and one of the biggest elements in a child’s memory of the pre-k years is the environment.
What did learning feel like for him? Did school feel exciting? Was school a drudgery or a chore? Was school a loving place of whimsical fun? Was it a time when you got lots of hugs and were embraced for who you are? Was school a place of judgment?
Ultimately, we (the teachers, the tutors, the homeschool parents), are responsible for creating an environment that will set the tone your child’s memory of learning at home.
If you can allow yourself the freedom to get creative and see your world through the lenses of a child, you’ll find that learning on your 5-year-old’s level looks drastically different than what we might have assumed it should look like. Suddenly, gone are the daily grind of routine seat work.
(And yes, there is a time and place for the workbooks…but it’s absolutely necessary to shift things up a bit sometimes and come at learning with a different approach).
Here’s an example of what I mean by creatively teaching outside of the box.
Do you live out in the country? Take a walk through the woods and count your steps along the way. Skip stones at a pond and count them. Collect rocks, then count them and sort them. Describe the grass, the water, the trees. Make up a story about a little boy who went for a walk in the woods. Record your story on your smartphone so you can have your child write it down later. Observe the pond water and collect a sample so when you get home you can compare it to faucet water and maybe start a conversation about how our communities work to provide clean drinking water for citizens. You can also talk about how the pond is part of God’s creation of water systems, and how most of the earth is made of water. Check the time on your watch on your way home and try to figure out what time it is and what time it will be when you get back home. Have your child skip on your way home and sing a song or make up a rhyme.
3.) Leave lots of room for free play.
Of course we’ll want to have time for the seat work (learning to read and count, practicing handwriting, exploring science concepts together). But beyond seat work, we should always remember to factor in time for your kid to simply be a kid.
For my daughter that means putting on a pretend play at our local children’s theater...or “playing house” with all of her dolls and teddy bears.
Whatever your child loves to play, make sure their day is filled with wonder and fun!
Hope you enjoyed these tips 🙂