Learn how to structure a homeschool preschool routine that will keep your days simple and enjoyable.
Do you want to start teaching your preschooler at home, but you’re wondering how you’re going to fit it into an already busy day?
Then continue reading because in this post I’m going to show you how to create a routine for your preschool at home, even if you’re already homeschooling older kids or have a baby.
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When you’re busy, you may not feel like you have time to fit preschool lessons into your day too. But I want to show you how you can get it all to fit. Even if you’re already homeschooling older kids or have toddlers or babies trying to get into everything.
How can you do this? By creating a routine. Having a homeschool preschool routine will help you fit it all in: the homeschooling, cooking, cleaning, taking care of your baby.
Teaching Preschool at Home Series
This post is the fourth in a series on how to begin teaching your preschooler at home. You can find links below to the rest of the series. At the end of this post, you’ll find a link to download my free Preschool at Home Quick Start Guide to help you get started teaching your preschooler.
- Begin Teaching Preschool at Home in 5 Easy Ways
- How to Teach Preschool Skills Your Child Needs to Know
- 11 Really Helpful Supplies for Teaching Preschool at Home
- How to Create a Relaxed Homeschool Preschool Schedule (this post)
- How to Easily Plan Your Homeschool Preschool Year
Why Create a Routine for Your Homeschool Preschool?
- Preschoolers thrive on structure. It’s helps them feel control in their lives. They know what to expect each day.
- Using a routine in preschool helps transition your preschooler to structured elementary lessons more easily.
- A routine ensures you will get to everything you need to and not forget anything. Most of the time, anyway!
- Keeping a balance with your responsibilities is easier with a routine.
- Creating a homeschool preschool routine helps keep your days simple and enjoyable while still being productive.
How to Create Your Homeschool Preschool Routine
As you start to create your homeschool preschool routine, I would like to mention one very important tip. When you create your routine, it’s best not to put specific times down for your activities when possible. Spending your day watching the clock and worrying is not simple or enjoyable!
Decide when to do preschool lessons.
The first thing you want to do when you sit down to create your routine is think about how you can best work preschool lessons into your day. Do you need one large or several smaller chunks of time? Do you want to have daily lessons, or lessons just 2-3 times a week? What time of day works best?
Now as you’re figuring this out, remember that preschoolers don’t need long lessons. Around 20-30 minutes of formal learning is more than enough. Also, it doesn’t have to be all at once; maybe your child or schedule fits better with two to three, 10-minute lessons.
And it doesn’t have to be everyday either. Let your child be your guide. Stop when you can tell interest is waning. But be sure to leave plenty of time and opportunities for play throughout the day, both inside and outside.
Decide how to teach.
So now that you’ve decided when you should have preschool lessons and around how long they should be, think about how you’d like to fill that time. Would you like to add a type of circle time or a morning basket? You can do calendar time, sing songs, and read books.
What preschool skills would you like to cover? Examples are learning the alphabet, numbers, colors, shapes, or motor skills. What kinds of games would be fun to play to help teach those skills? Would your child enjoy activity sheets?
We don’t do a lot of workbooks or flashcards here, but my preschooler still loves sitting at the table with his older brothers during school time. Activity sheets help him feel like a big kid, and also teach skills he needs to learn.
Should you use a homeschool preschool curriculum?
You may decide that you’d like some help or guidance teaching your preschooler. While it’s definitely not necessary to use a preschool curriculum, it can certainly help make it easier. If you’re already homeschooling older kids or aren’t sure how to teach, using a curriculum may help you enjoy teaching preschool at home more. If you want a literature-based program, Sonlight has a wonderful preschool curriculum.
I do like to use preschool resources to help me. I love using literature-based activities with my kids. Before Five in a Row has great activities already planned out, which saves me time having to come up with my own. I’ve also found a wonderful music program, Clap for Classics, that helps me share classical music with my preschooler. Another program we enjoy is You Are an Artist video chalk pastel lessons. These programs certainly make planning my homeschool preschool much easier, especially since I also have older kids that I’m homeschooling.
Tips for a Relaxed Preschool at Home Routine
1. Create a flexible routine.
First, don’t set your routine in stone. You’ll notice I’m not calling it a preschool schedule. While they can mean the same thing, usually a schedule includes specific times. That might work for some families, but in my house, I can pretty much guarantee that if I want to do a certain lesson at a specific time, that is when something will come up.
Instead, build your routine around anchors. Read a Bible story over breakfast, do a music lesson before lunch, and read books while baby is napping. Things you do every day, like meals, make good anchors.
2. Create a child-led routine.
Another tip is to let your child be your guide. Choose learning activities based on your child’s interests. I like creating invitations to play: a puzzle set on a shelf, a playdough tray on the table, books arranged neatly in a basket on the couch. I don’t force my child to do any of them, but I set them out so he’ll see them and hopefully play with them.
Along with that, if you try to introduce something and your child shows no interest, then let it go for a bit. My preschooler wanted nothing to do with learning letters or any kind of writing activities when he was three and newly four. But now, several months later, he’s learned all but about five letters of the alphabet and writes as much as he can. And since I encouraged him to develop his fine motor skills through puzzles and sensory bins, his handwriting is beautiful.
Kids will learn when they’re ready. The most important thing you can do is observe your child and try to use their interests to develop preschool skills.
3. Combine learning when possible.
Try to combine preschool with other activities when you can. For example, have your preschooler help in the kitchen. Your preschooler will learn math, following directions, health, and work on fine motor skills. You’ll be able to get dinner ready, even if it takes a bit longer due to your little helper.
If you have older kids, try to join your preschooler in with their lessons. For example, have snack time during a read aloud so all of your kids are quiet and listening. Use art lessons that all of your kids can do. You could also make an activity binder of tracing, coloring, or cut and paste pages for your preschooler to work on independently while you teach older kids.
4. Be flexible!
Most of all, be flexible and leave lots of time for play. Take an extra long nature walk on a beautiful spring day. Skip your planned lessons if your preschooler is engrossed in play instead. Your preschooler has a long life of school ahead, so set them on a path of finding learning fun.
Our Homeschool Preschool Routine
So how does this look in real life?
- My preschooler and I read together after breakfast before starting the homeschool day with my older kids.
- If we have time and he shows interest, we’ll do a learning activity together after the story.
- After, I start the homeschool day with all the kids. My preschooler joins in where he can.
- While I work with older kids, my preschooler works on an activity binder or hands-on activities like playdough or sensory bins.
- All of the kids enjoy a snack time while I read aloud from our current chapter book.
- During math with my older kids, my preschooler will listen to a music lesson on my computer with headphones. On Tuesdays, he’ll attend a live music class instead on my computer in another room.
- We all have lunch together and the kids enjoy some recess. My preschooler will play or do a science activity or read with me while my older kids work on their independent work.
- After school, the kids go up for a bit of quiet time to relax. Then the rest of the day is theirs to enjoy.
Schedule for Preschool at Home: Relaxed, Child-Led Preschool
I created a very relaxed, child-led preschool. Most days my preschooler and I begin with a fun picture book before starting the homeschool day with my older kids. While I’m homeschooling the older kids, he sits with us at the table. He joins in when he can, like with our daily prayers. If it’s not something he can do, many times he’ll work on a learning binder I put together with activity pages for tracing letters, counting objects, or coloring. Often, I’ll have my preschooler pop on headphones and listen to a music lesson while my older kids work on math.
Some days he’s not in the mood for “school.” On those days, I encourage hands-on activities like sensory bins, playdough trays, puzzles or games.
Overall, when he’s interested, I take full advantage and sit with him. We’ll read books, do learning activities, maybe do a science experiment or take a nature walk.
I put lots of hands-on learning activities and picture books on bookshelves in our classroom area so that my preschooler can see them and do them on his own. I know firsthand how quickly these preschool years go, so I keep our days light-hearted and full of fun learning.
To help you get started teaching preschool at home, I’ve created a Preschool at Home quick start guide. This guide includes over forty ideas for preschool themes, as well as planning pages to plan your activities and books by week and month. It’s a perfect way to get ready to preschool at home.
To sum up, kids thrive on structure, so creating a routine that gives you a good flow to your day will help your child know what to expect next. It’ll also help your child transition easily to more structured learning as they go to school or move into more formal homeschool learning. Above all, remember to keep your day flexible. Your day is its own learning experience, so fit in what you can when you can, but don’t be so structured that no one enjoys it.