Your busy 3-year-old is ready to explore the world and learn all about it! Are you ready to homeschool preschool with your 3-year-old? Read on to figure out how to homeschool preschool.
Homeschooling 3 Year Olds
Three-year-olds are naturally inquisitive and eager to learn. Their attention spans aren’t long, but they enjoy playing, crafting, building, socializing, and reading together (to various degrees). Capitalize on these attributes by homeschooling your 3-year-old.
How Do Preschoolers Learn?
Your active little one is not ready to sit at a desk for 6 hours. At this age, play is learning, and learning is play. You can design fun games and activities that not only entertain your child but teach her as well.
Homeschool preschool should be loosely structured. It helps to have a daily routine and various activities planned, but don’t be overly rigid. Some games and activities may completely engross your child; others may occupy him for 5 minutes or less. That’s perfectly okay.
You also want to incorporate plenty of free play and time to explore. Sure, you may want your child to make a block tower of 6 blocks (because you read that that is a 3-year-old developmental milestone), but if he has the idea to turn blocks into a road for his toy cars, go with that. He’s learning and enjoying himself at the same time. Take the win!
Curriculum for Homeschool Preschool for 3 Year Olds
You don’t need a formal curriculum for homeschool preschool, but you can use one if it appeals to you. The best homeschool curricula for three-year-olds involve plenty of stories, games, and activities. They are flexible and don’t take a lot of time during the day. They encourage the child to use his imagination and explore the world.
This Charlotte Mason-style program is open and go. No prep needed! There are four themes for preschool: Zoo, Farm, Garden, and Pond.
Each month of this curriculum has a theme and key concept, and the program is filled with hands-on activities that will help your child learn, discover, and “play skillfully”
This Christian curriculum for three-year-olds features “fiction, fairy tales, and fun.” This literature-based approach to preschool connects to other subjects with gentle, hands-on learning and delightful books.
Lesson Plans for Homeschooling Preschool
If you decide to go the purchased curriculum route, you may receive lesson plans as part of the program. But you can also make your own. Each day, design a schedule where you do an activity in each of the following areas:
- Reading (Which book will you read today?)
- Fine-Motor Practice
- Gross-Motor Practice
- Language Arts
Do you need help with ideas for your lesson plans? We’ll send you free weekly lesson plans for preschool. Sign up to receive a weekly lesson plan right in your inbox!
Preschool Motor Skills Development
Your preschooler should be advancing his motor skills in two areas: gross motor skills and fine motor skills. Gross motor skills refer to movements that involve the whole body: running, jumping, sitting down, riding a bike, skipping, climbing, etc. You can work on gross motor skills at a playground, in the driveway, and even inside your house. Play games that involve running or jumping. Do yoga with your child. Throw, catch, and kick balls. All these help develop those gross motor skills
Fine motor skills involve the coordination of the eye and the small muscles in the hand. Most people think of writing as a fine motor skill, but that muscle coordination can be practiced with other kinds of fine motor activities. Beading, cutting, gluing, drawing, folding, tracing, lacing, and building with small blocks all are terrific fine motor practice.
Preschool Language Arts
Your little learner is not yet ready to write and spell yet, but she is ready to learn about the letters of the alphabet and the sounds of words. Make letters familiar by working with three-dimensional letters (letter puzzles or magnets). My kids learned their letters from foam letter puzzles. We would pull them out of the puzzle and play games with them like “I Spy” and “Guess which hand has the T?”
You can work on the other pre-reading skills like phonemic awareness (hearing the individual sounds of words). Rhyming is a great way to do this. Classic rhymes like Mother Goose work especially well, and if you pair them with finger play, you work on fine motor skills at the same time.
Crafts that involve tracing, cutting, drawing, and painting strengthen the hand muscles to prepare for writing. Simple maze books engage the child and work on precision hand movements.
The other major focus of language arts for 3 year olds is reading aloud. Immerse your child in literature! Read classic books, silly books, books of poetry, books about animals…you name it! If your child won’t sit still for reading, play audiobooks while he engages in free play or rides in the car.
Preschool science should emphasize exploration. How do you do this?
Nature is a wonderful teacher. Catch bugs, collect leaves, build fairy houses out of twigs and moss, spot birds and flowers, observe an anthill, dig in the mud…all these activities teach your child about the world.
Simple science experiments expose your child to the wonder of the world around him. Set up an ant farm, hatch a butterfly, mix food dye and shaving cream, mix warm and cold water, pour layers of fluids with different densities, make bath fizzies, grow crystals…anything goes! You can purchase science kits or perform your own simple experiments.
Give your child the tools to learn about science and then let her discover on her own. Make busy boxes with science tools. Here are some ideas:
- Legos or other building toys
- Measuring cups and spoons (and water)
- Magnifying glass and a book to press flowers
- Play dough and toothpicks
Preschool math focuses on three main objectives: numbers, shapes, and counting. All of these should be tied to what the child can see, touch, and feel.
Learn the names of shapes and make them out of cardboard. Find snacks that shape. Play with pattern blocks and tangrams.
Teach the numbers in the same way you teach letters. Play with number puzzles, spot numbers in the world, and teach the connection of the printed number with actual amounts.
Count together: count while you wait, count objects you see like clouds and toes and ladybugs. Use plastic math manipulatives to count and act out number stories (e.g., “One teddy bear went to the pool. Then another joined him. Now two teddy bears are playing at the pool.”)
Homeschooling Preschool for Three-Year-Olds
Homeschooling preschool is a wonderful choice. It gives you time to discover and bond with your child. It’s exciting and joy-filled and fosters connections within the family. By working on some core skills and allotting plenty of time to explore, your 3 year olds will thrive in homeschool preschool.