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Our Super-Simple Homeschool Preschool

|by | Simple Homemaking

our super simple home school preschool smallest

I’ve entertained the idea of homeschooling almost ever since our first child was born. To be honest, I’m still not sure what my husband and I will choose to do, but I’m committed to fully exploring this option.

So, I’m giving it a trial run by homeschooling preschool formally this year, three days per week. This is the last year before our oldest daughter starts kindergarten.

(Oh, and both my older kids are going to a church preschool the two other mornings of the week, so we’re getting our feet wet all around.)

But just because it’s “formal” doesn’t mean it’s complicated. In fact, it’s SUPER simple.

I have an undergraduate and graduate degree in education, plus a couple years of classroom teaching experience from my former life (pre-kids), so crafting a simple yet impactful preschool is within my area of expertise!

I want to share what I do, because it is amazingly simple and it’s working

Here’s our daily schedule in a nutshell:

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This agenda takes us about 45 minutes, but it’s also pretty open-ended. We can keep learning, talking reading, exploring, looking things up on the computer, et cetera as long as we’re energized to do so.

Our school time takes place during the younger children’s naps. It’s a special, quality time between my daughter and me.

Supplies We Use

I will share the simple supplies we are using, but honestly, you could make or improvise everything. No need to rush to the store, but for me, buying supplies is helpful to get started.

  • a primary journal. This is a composition notebook with large dashed writing lines and blank space for an illustration on each page.
  • pencils and colored pencils
  • site word cards
  • various education items. This could be anything: non-fiction science library books, a globe, a United States puzzle, math counters.

3 Things We Do on “Preschool Days”

These activities take about 45 minutes to complete. We do this as soon as the younger siblings go down for their afternoon naps.

1. “All About Me” Journal

The purpose of this journal is simply to get her writing. At the beginning of preschool she knew how to write capital letters and her name. This was the foundation we had when we began this journal.

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The Rules of the Journal

  1. Only you can write in it. She can’t beg me for help.
  2. Only you can color in it. She can’t beg me to do it for her.
  3. You can only use pencils and colored pencils. They won’t bleed through the paper.
  4. You can only write one page per day. Using scarcity to create motivation and a sense of privilege. Her focus is shot after one page anyway.
  5. You must do your best work. If she gets silly with it, we erase.
  6. Each page must tell something about you and the picture must match the words. She has clear direction and purpose.

When we started, I had to help her through everything. She would decide what she wanted to write, and then I would feed her one letter at a time, while modeling sounding it out.

It was tedious.

But in only three weeks of the practice, her progress is nothing short of amazing. Now she’s incorporating many lower case letters and writing several words independently from memory. She knows how to add spaces between words and periods at the end of sentences.

All because of the practice and repetition of writing one sentence per day.

Any more in one sitting would be mentally fatiguing for her.

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2. Sight Word Practice

After the journal entry is complete, we move on to sight words. This is how I’ve chosen to edge into reading. We have an early reading leveled set, but sight words are laying a foundation to help her be more confident when she starts reading these books.

The books themselves were a bit much yet.

I purchased this set of sight words at a teacher store. I like it because the words are organized into groups. You work on one group until you’ve mastered it, then you add the next one, keeping the former on the key ring as well.

You can imagine the momentum and confidence that builds as she adds new words to those she already knows. The reinforcement of past sight words is fabulous.

We go through her sight words two times per day. She attempts, then I tell her what it is if she hasn’t figured it out.

She is learning many phonetic sounds and concepts as they come up naturally. No special lesson planning required, and she knows how to pronounce th, ch, ou, etc.

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3. Another subject… usually of her choice

We have a globe, a United States puzzle, math counters, math games and literacy games. We also go to the library periodically and check out some non-fiction type books for this time.

After we’ve completed the journal writing and sight words, I let her choose one other thing to work with and talk about. No lessons are planned, we just explore together according to her interests.

It’s just that simple.

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So, there you have it! This is what we’re doing on Monday, Tuesday and Thursday afternoons around our house.

And you know what? It’s working. And you know why? It’s simple. No lesson planning required!

Do you or have you homeschooled preschool? If so, how did you keep it simple?

14 Comments

14 Comments on Our Super-Simple Homeschool Preschool

  1. Chrissla
    March 16, 2017 at 4:20 AM (6 months ago)

    I love the all-about me journal! I will be starting to homeschool my son for preschool next year, and I really love that idea! He’ll be 3 so I feel like he might be a little young for it, but it sounds like a great idea to try. Thank you for sharing!

    Reply
  2. Bridget
    October 17, 2016 at 6:48 AM (11 months ago)

    I would love to homeschool my daughter, but I’m afraid I wouldn’t be very organized. This is great! You make it look so simple. We will have to try something like this.

    Reply
    • Katie Bennett
      October 23, 2016 at 5:23 PM (11 months ago)

      I am so not an organized person, but this has really worked! Thanks Bridget!
      Katie Bennett recently posted…Luvs #WhatULuv Baby Party!My Profile

  3. sarah
    July 8, 2016 at 10:08 PM (1 year ago)

    Thanks for the wonderful ideas. What kind of things is she writing in the about me journal? Is it just stuff like ‘my eyes are blue’ then a drawing of her face? Stuff like that?
    Thanks.

    Reply
    • Katie Bennett
      July 9, 2016 at 2:43 PM (1 year ago)

      Yes, basically. She likes to write in the third person, so …okay, whatever! 🙂 I figure it’s good name writing practice. So she writes things like “Clara Lee Bennett is a curly girly.” That’s an endearing phrase her Nana uses to describer her curls. Or “Clara Lee Bennett loves broccoli and chicken.” It is anything from physical traits, to her favorite things, to what she does regularly, etc.
      Katie Bennett recently posted…Put Down Your Smartphone And “Be Still and Know That I Am God”My Profile

  4. Lisa @ This Pilgrim Life
    October 1, 2015 at 7:57 PM (2 years ago)

    We did some things here and there last year for preschool, but it wasn’t always regular or very structured. I used The Ordinary Parent’s Guide to Teaching Reading and the lessons in it. Other than that, most of what we have done is a LOT of reading, a lot time outdoors, and engaging them in conversations about whatever we are doing or is going on. We are just starting kindergarten this year and are still keeping things pretty low-key. Our lessons usually last between an hour or two.
    I really like the daily writing you are doing! I may try to work that into our daily work too. 🙂
    Lisa recently posted…Instilling Habits of Health and Hospitality– Drop by DropMy Profile

    Reply
  5. Nataliya
    October 1, 2015 at 4:41 PM (2 years ago)

    Thank you I needed this! I have a kindergartener and a preschooler. I’ve tried a few things with them but it all gets overwhelming, I love this and can’t wait to try it with them!
    Nataliya recently posted…Our Library tripMy Profile

    Reply
  6. Elsie
    October 1, 2015 at 10:18 AM (2 years ago)

    This sounds like so much fun! I’ve always wanted to homeschool, especially during the little years, and I’m already dreaming about what we’ll do when our son is old enough. I really like your ideas here and super-simple approach. Have you heard of Rod and Staff books? They’re a set of rainbow-colored workbooks for preschool and maybe kindergarten. Really sweet and simple. I LOVED them when I was little and will probably use them with Little Dude.
    Elsie recently posted…A Ready-to-Wear Wrap for Easy Babywearing!My Profile

    Reply
    • Katie Bennett
      October 2, 2015 at 12:10 PM (2 years ago)

      I have not heard of them! I will check that out. Thanks so much for the tip Elsie!! You will LOVE teaching that sweet boy. It’s super-rewarding.
      Katie Bennett recently posted…Our Super-Simple Homeschool PreschoolMy Profile

  7. Linda P
    October 1, 2015 at 3:01 AM (2 years ago)

    Makes me want to be in home preschool too!

    Reply
    • Katie Bennett
      October 2, 2015 at 12:09 PM (2 years ago)

      I am surprised how much I enjoy it. I always said my biggest deterrent to homeschooling was just that… that I wouldn’t enjoy it. 🙂 And here I am! I am realizing how many passions I have that I can invest into my own kids. For instance, I love geography, culture and the world. I think these are a beautiful reflection of God. As we look at the globe I get to tell her about many people groups and events, and we even spend time praying together for the world as things naturally come up. I can’t even say how special that is to me.
      Katie Bennett recently posted…Our Super-Simple Homeschool PreschoolMy Profile

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