Homeschooling in the Early Years, 4 and 5 year olds
As I mentioned in my first post dedicated to our homeschooling journey, what I do may be different from what you do. What I love may be different from what you love! I know I’ve learned so much from seeing what others have used so, that’s the point of this post. I’m going to share what I’ve used for the preschool years leading up to kindergarten for the 4 and 5 year old. We're about to wrap up year one, so this post is timely in that I want to get this out there before we're in full on summer mode!
I know many mama’s believe, and certain theories or methods preach, that one should not even try formal schooling until age 6. Mainly reading books, listening to nursery rhymes, playing and lots of Cedarmont Kids happen in the early years for my kids. While my oldest had a more formal preschool time since age 3, I’ve enjoyed seeing my youngest have much more free time to play without the concern of letters and numbers or even reading groups at age 4.
For my youngest we started in the Fall with a preschool book from The Good and the Beautiful. I really love their curriculums for littles, especially when it comes to early learning. Things are repetitive, fun, and the lessons keep my kids engaged often through games.
I highly recommend their preschool book and once you’re done with that, the K Primer. Both have been really great and have served us well. They’re incredibly affordable so even if you’re not full on homeschooling but find you have a kid that wants a little more, the lessons are open and go, easy to understand and do when you’re able.
My son has worked on some of the Good and the Beautiful’s Math K book and we’re loving that as well. I think this is very doable in the 5’s as they understand grouping and math more. It’s not pressured, but often enjoyed when we do it thanks to the simple box of manipulatives and games presented in the course.
Apart from those few books, there are five (or more) other things I’d recommend.
1. Alphabet + Number blocks. I love this set because it’s bright and colorful and I basically use them if I need my little to point out a letter or number at this point.
2. Magnatiles + Blocks- So much of this age is allowing them the time and space to use their imagination. Magnatiles + a set of wood blocks are quite possibly the only toys my boys could need. That, and army men for my youngest!
3. Library Card- if you don’t have a lot of books at home, or even if you do, it’s fun to go to the library and let them pick books out. Mine always end up with books on snakes or other reptiles, but we often come back with good stories as well. I’m a big fan of anything Sarah MacKenzie recommends and use her list on Read Aloud Revival. I’ll request a bunch of books so I’m not searching for them when I get there and inevitably not finding them.
4. Audio Listens: We have listened to books on audio, but more often my kids listen to adventures in odyssey in the car or while playing legos. We’ve also listened to several of the Jonathan Park series. My littles can follow along and much like books, it makes their minds have to imagine and think while they listen. I really like Hoopla for free audio listens through the library.
5. Read Aloud! This may go without saying but it’s so true that little kids need a lot of time to explore and play and have you read to them. A few books that my littles have liked include The Wild Robot, Little House on the Prairie Series and Mrs. Piggle Wiggle.
That’s about it. I could add in craft paper, a ton of white paper, and lots of art supplies too. Mine have opted for a blank slate far more than they’ve ever wanted to color in the lines and I’m okay with that. We have plenty of little scissors and glue sticks around too. Also, there’s tape. You’ll be amazed what your kids will come up with given some supplies and free time.
Can I add in one more thing? Taking walks. Getting outside. Having time for nature walks and time to explore. Getting in a pool whenever you can and making time to let them be kids.
I know a lot of Mom's who may be considering homeschool start in the preschool years and I think that's great. Enjoy the little years while you can!