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How Long Should Homeschool Preschool Be?

It’s time to start the school day…how long should it last? And what do you do when? Read on to find out about a homeschool preschool schedule.

How Long Should Homeschool Preschool Be

Homeschooling Preschool Schedule and Length

The words “homeschool preschool schedule” can be misleading. Your homeschool preschool schedule will likely be more of a routine than a to-the-minute schedule. That is a benefit to homeschooling: you can be flexible! Some activities will fully engross your child; others may not interest her at all. That is okay. At this age, you want to make learning as fun as possible.

A preschool classroom typically has instruction time for half of the day, so that is a general guideline. Usually, you’ll want to do school in the morning when a child is fresh and alert, but if afternoon or evening works better for your family, then choose one of those times. 

You will likely not need the entire morning. Plan for 3 hours, but realize that that is not a solid 3 hours of instruction time. That includes time for playing outside, doing crafts, dancing, eating a snack, and playing games.

Homeschool Preschool Subjects

The preschool years range from 2-4, which is a wider range than it sounds. A 4-year-old is completely different in interests, physical capability, communication, and attention span from a 2-year-old.  

You will begin with basic subjects for a 2-year-old:

  • Fine-Motor Practice (hand and eye coordination)
  • Gross-Motor Practice (whole-body coordination)
  • Pre-Reading Activities
  • Basic Math and Problem-Solving Activities
  • Language Development

A 4-year-old will cover more traditional subjects, albeit in a fun, hands-on way:

  • Reading
  • Science
  • Language Arts 
  • Math
  • Social Studies
  • Fine-Motor Practice 
  • Gross-Motor Practice

Preschool Lesson Length

Your preschooler is not ready to sit for long stretches of time. She simply cannot give her attention for that long.  If you want to teach something to a 2-year-old, you can expect focused attention for around a minute. That’s not long! So make learning as engaging as possible: use songs, chants, and fingerplay to teach.  Design activities and play that teaches skills and concepts (mixing colored playdough or playing Simon Says).

By the time your child is 4, he can pay attention for around 5 minutes. That is enough to teach a short lesson before you follow it up with an engaging application activity. For example, if you want to teach about changing leaves, give a short explanation with visual aids, and then follow it up with leaf collecting or leaf painting.

How Long Should Homeschool Preschool Be

Qualities of a Homeschool Preschool Schedule

A homeschool preschool schedule should be a) balanced, b) short, c) engaging, and d) flexible.

Balanced

Plan different types of activities each day to keep things fresh. Even if your child would play dress-up and other imagination games all day, throw in some STEM activities and letter recognition activities too. 

Short

Remember that your child’s attention span is not very long, so keep your lessons short. Fill your preschool time with play. These years are not formal school. Reserve a large part of your day for unstructured time, outings, and naps (oh yes please!).

Engaging

In the preschool years, learning is play, and play is learning. Make activities fresh and fun. You may imagine that your child will only learn from a book or a worksheet, but that’s simply not true.  Your child is learning naturally from the world around him.

Flexible

Go with the flow! Take field trips, go on nature walks, and visit Grandma. Start the day reading together, end it that way, or both! Homeschool preschool can be anytime, anywhere.

How Long Should Homeschool Preschool Be

Sample Homeschool Preschool Schedule

Here is a sample homeschool preschool schedule for a 2-year-old:

  • 7:00 am Wake up, get dressed, eat breakfast
  • 8 am Gross motor playtime
  • 8:30 am Problem-solving/cognitive activities
  • 9 am Snack
  • 9:15 Morning walk or outside time
  • 9:45 am Fine motor activities
  • 10:15 am Reading books & language activities
  • 10:45 am Free play (or more gross or fine motor activities)
  • 11:30 am Lunch

The afternoon is open for outings, naps, and time with friends and family.

Here is a sample schedule for a 4-year-old. This one is for the afternoon:

  • 1 pm Read aloud 
  • 1:15 Fine motor or pre-writing activities
  • 1:35 Social studies 
  • 2 pm Snack
  • 2:15 Reading instruction
  • 2:30 Outside play or gross motor activities
  • 3:00 Science experiment, STEM activities, or nature study
  • 3:30 Math activities
How Long Should Homeschool Preschool Be

Homeschool Preschool Schedule and Length

You know your child. Is he active and on the go? Plan for lots of hands-on activities, and pay attention to when he focuses best. Plan your homeschool preschool schedule to set him up for success.  Is your child quiet and creative? Plan for plenty of art tie-ins to science and reading. 

The preschool years should be sweet and fun. Don’t overload your child with rigorous academics and a packed schedule. By choosing engaging activities and giving your child plenty of space for free play, she will gravitate toward learning.

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