Which curriculum should I begin with? If this question plagues you every time your consider homeschooling your preschooler then you’re in the right place. Here’s quick and simple answer– you don’t need one! Doesn’t that feel better?
Here’s Why You Don’t Need One
Once you start getting into box curriculum selection, it’s like going down a rabbit hole. When you’re just starting out and trying homeschooling, the most important thing is knowing how your kid likes to learn. The only way to do that is to jump in and get started. Thus, purchasing a box curriculum (usually consisting of a complete set of books, charts, and other resources) is a big waste of time and money- even if it’s recommended by another mom who swears it worked best for her kid. Yes, even if you’ve read twenty super positive reviews on Amazon. Why? Because every child is different.
So here’s what I recommend- Sample. Sample. Then, sample some more.
Go to your local Costco. Go to your local Barnes & Noble. Go to your local keiki toy store (there’s a good one next to Sport Authority in Windward Mall), and/or go to your local teacher resource store and thumb through the workbook sections for your child’s skill level. You already have some idea of what you kids needs to work on and what they already know. Start out with something your preschooler really likes to do. Go with the easiest level, something you know they can do relatively easily. You want to start off with something encouraging for both you and your kid.
The key thing to remember is this, don’t go overboard here. You’ll be tempted to pick up every series, every level, every skill. Remember, homeschooling shouldn’t break the bank. These little skill books will run you about $3.00-10 bucks. Just pick up one or two books at a time from a place. Go home and see if your kid likes it and is ready for it. Try to pair that book with a puzzle. I love the Melissa and Doug toys because they last a long time and their directions have so many variations on how you can use the puzzles.
Introducing Your Child to Learning at Home
After selecting an easy skill/activity book. Show it to your preschooler and tell them about it. Thumb through the pictures, let them point out things. Tell them how excited you are about them becoming a big boy/girl and that they’ll be starting school soon. Tell them a story about learning when you were a child. Warm them up to it slowly. Schedule a time 10 minutes max for the next day, mornings after breakfast are golden time. Tell them all about a special learning time you’ve created and how excited you are to have learning time with them in the morning after breakfast.
Next up, follow through. Keep your word. After breakfast, warm up with some block or a puzzle for a few minutes. Break out the easy skill book. Walk them through it. Be really patient. Ask them if they’d like to try. You can offer an incentive like tv time afterward, playing outside, favorite toy, after learning time is up. Stop at 10 minutes with the skill book. Move on to blocks, a puzzle, or a coloring book again. The whole learning session shouldn’t be longer than 15-20 minutes especially for a three year-old. Don’t expect big results right away. Remember, this is new and you are establishing a routine and introducing your kid slowly to learning at home. You are setting the foundation that you are their teacher too and that they can come to you for learning new things.
I think it took about two weeks for us to get into a nice routine where we were having regularly fun & learning time. We’d skip a day here and there too. Remember, that’s the beauty of homeschooling. You don’t have to create tons of rules and enforce complicated schedules. Go with your family’s groove and set weekly and monthly goals instead of daily ones.
A Few Books We Started Off With
I started of with just the first two books focused on holding a crayon and tracing things. Then over the course of 2-3 months, slowly picked up other skill books to sample. We’d do a one or two pages together, unless she asked to do more. I dated each page so I can easily go back and track her progress.
We’ve benefited from several box curriculums since both my husband and I work outside the home and needed symmetry for ourselves and others that were caring for our kids. We are flexible and have since become more eclectic but still rely on complete curriculum with supplements and a combination of resources for the summer time of our year around school.