Over the past few years, a lot of friends and readers have asked what we’ve used to teach our kids at home in those years from ages 2-4. Maybe you want to homeschool all the way through or maybe you just want to do preschool at home. It’s becoming less and less common these days for parents to keep their preschoolers at home before starting Kindergarten, since most parents opt for formal preschools now.
We’ve done so many different things and I think they’ve all worked in one way or another. Some of it has been formal instruction, but much more of it has been the same everyday learning that most moms do with their children. In fact, much of it has come from watching my mom, who gave birth to seven kids and could turn snack time into an opportunity to practice our counting. She made everything fun. I try to take her same fun approach, especially in the early years.
Here’s what we’ve done so far. Take what you like and leave the rest behind!
Make Learning a Part of Everything We Do
I didn’t know it was too early to introduce phonics; I just thought that since my child understood that a frog says ribbit, she could understand that a B says “buh.”
Before she turned 2, my oldest child could identify all of her letters and their phonetic sounds. My second child is 2 1/2 and no where near that level, but we keep our steady dialogue going all the time anyway.
Formal Instruction in an Informal Way: Phonics Pathways, BOB Books, and Math Felt Board
Early Reading Instruction: Phonics Pathways is super easy to use and the lessons only take a few minutes. We started using it when my oldest turned 3. I was pregnant with our third baby, experiencing 9 months of morning sickness, and I spent quite a bit of time in bed. We would complete a lesson or two in my bed and she would beg to do more. Once she mastered early phonics, we moved onto the Bob Books so that she could feel the accomplishment of reading an actual book. For more on our Pre-K/K Curriculum, click here.
Books, Books, and more Books
I used to be a teacher, and in my graduate-level education classes, we read that research shows on average, children must listen to at least 2,000 books before they will be ready to read. I like to get a head start on that number and I start reading to my kids when they’re babies.
We’ve made it part of our daily routine. Every day, we read before naptime and bedtime, so I can be certain that my kids are read to at least twice a day, but of course we try to read more than that. I can’t resist those magic words: Mommy, would you read this book to me?
Games, Puzzles, and Fun
I love anything by Melissa & Doug, especially chunky wooden puzzles, both the early peg puzzles and the normal wooden puzzles for older preschoolers. They’re durable and perfect for chubby hands to put together.
What are some of your favorite methods and resources for teaching your little ones at home?
Linking up at Intentional Homeschool.