Homeschooling gives families more flexibility in their schedule and lowers their stress level. It also allows your child to have more bonding time with family and gives you an opportunity to model your love of learning. Homeschooling can be challenging, but it can also be very rewarding at the same time. So, how do you know that you can handle the challenge of homeschooling your child? If you're thinking of educating your preschooler at home, there are a number of factors you need to consider. The authors of The Homegrown Preschooler suggest that you consider the following questions as you plan for preschool at home.
Making Goals for Your Child
- What natural talents and abilities is my child already showing? For example, some children are naturally compassionate and enjoy doing things for others; others display a keen interest in discovering how things work.
- What can I do to encourage these natural talents? Could I ask my child to draw pictures or make cookies for an elderly friend or for our next-door neighbor? Could I provide building materials, blocks, and small gadgets for her to construct and deconstruct?
- What areas do I need to help my child work on? For example, does he need to develop his self-help skills? Can she learn how to show empathy for others?
- What things have I noticed that help my child truly thrive? Does he need extra structure, extra sleep, small frequent meals, time alone, or extra snuggle time? The answers will be as varied as the children.
- How can I enrich the environment so that my child gets enough of these things? Do we need to have a well-defined schedule? Should I change our meal times? Should we create a quiet space?
Identifying Your Own Strengths, Weaknesses, and Expectations
- Are you okay with letting the kids get messy, or will you need to plan the messier activities outside or away from your home?
- Do you appreciate a well-planned day, or do you prefer to wing it?
- Will it be hard for you to do open-ended activities without being concerned about the end product?
- What about my personality will make me a terrific teacher for this child? If you tend to be naturally self-deprecating, ask one of your most honest and encouraging friends.
- What about my personality could potentially cause problems?
- What plans and boundaries will I put in place for myself to head off these problems before they occur?
- Is there anyone in my life (partner, friend, experienced homeschooling mom) who will hold me accountable on days when I just don't feel like following through on my homeschooling commitment?
Planning Your Preschool Curriculum
- What unique opportunities can be found in our current season of life that can be used to teach our child life skills and good character?
- Are there unavoidable difficulties (financial hardship, illness, etc.) that I need to think through and mine for treasure?
- How can both parents be involved in this child's educational experience? Do we need to adjust schedules to allow for more involvement for the working parent?
- Are there opportunities for business travel that we can use to our benefit to educate our child?
- Are there service opportunities that we would like to take part in as a family that we can incorporate into our preschool experience?
- What values are important to our family, and how can we incorporate these into our preschool curriculum?