Looking for homeschooling ideas for your preschooler? Try these budget-friendly resources!
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My mom started homeschooling me when I turned 4. She was an early childhood education major and couldn’t wait to start doing this new, edgy thing she had learned about called homeschool.
I don’t remember much, except being put in time-out on the stairs outside our schoolroom. I didn’t want to sit still. I didn’t want to do flashcards, and I got bored easily.
Now, after homeschooling my own kids and helping homeschooling families all over the place, I believe preschool is a generous word for loosely-guided learning through play.
Every child learns to count, sing the ABCs, and even potty train on their own schedule. We can present the tools to learn these things, but ultimately, they will only start to learn them when they are ready.
So what tools do we give them? How can we set them up to learn and NOT end up in time-out on the stairs?
And how do we do it all on a budget?
Here are our favorite tools and resources for doing preschool at home and on a budget.
How Do I Start Homeschooling My Preschooler?
My main goal for preschoolers is that they learn through playing. This is what we do with our preschoolers:
- Read books out loud (see below!)
- Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library (free books for every child until age 5!)
- Play outside! Seriously.
- Ideas from How to Raise an Amazing Child the Montessori Way (find it at your library)
- Free Printables for tracing, letters, and numbers (tons of ideas here)
- Montessori Trays (tons of ideas here)
- Puzzles (first these then these when they’re ready)
- Channie’s Dry Erase Alphabet/Number Flash Cards (Channie’s is awesome!)
- Leapfrog Colors, Shapes, and Numbers Dry Erase Practice Workbook for Pre-K
- Busy Boxes
- The Bob Books (for teaching Reading)
- Storybook Treasury of Dick and Jane and Friends (Reading) (bought this at a thrift store on a whim – it’s been amazing for teaching my kids to read.)
- Kids Cook Real Food (Get a free download: 10 Snacks Your Preschooler Can Make, here!)
- We play with crayons, markers, sticks, rocks, play dough, and we practice fine motor skills.
- Story time at your local library (they usually teach fun learning songs!)
- Don’t forget educational shows! God bless Daniel Tiger.
How Many Hours a Day Should You Homeschool a Preschooler?
Typically, this will look different depending on your child and how much time and energy you have to put into preschool.
While it’s always a good idea to have a daily rhythm (no matter your kids’ ages!), don’t assume that ther preschool education is limited to formal bookwork and read alouds. Kids learn by playing and doing, and your preschooler is constantly learning, whether they are watching a show, helping you in the kitchen, coloring, playing outside, or playing with toys.
Typically, I tried to have a few different options for my kids each day: a few read alouds, a Busy Box or a Montessori Tray (tons of ideas here), free printables (tons here) or workbook, an educational game or toy (see below!) and outside time.
Awesome Preschool Tip:
Read Aloud Books for Preschool
These books have incredible lists of awesome read-aloud books full of diversity, beautiful illustrations, and fun writing! Look for the books they list at the library!
- Before Five-in-a-Row (shows you how to take a read-aloud book and turn it into a week’s work of learning in all different subjects)
- Give Your Child the World (I applied the 5-in-a-Row concept to the books here)
10 of My Personal Favorite Read Aloud Preschool Books:
- Richard Scarry’s Best Storybook Ever
- The Snowy Day
- The Very Hungry Caterpillar
- Jessie Bear, What Will You Wear?
- The Story of Ferdinand
- The Little Engine that Could
- Last Stop on Market Street
- Frog & Toad books
- Little Bear books
Preschool Educational Games & Toys
These open-ended games and toys go a long way in teaching our kids important skills in preschool. They kept them learning and playing while I did chores or worked.
We built this collection slowly, adding them to wishlists for our kids’ birthdays and holidays. Some we even found at thrift stores!
- Montessori Sandpaper Letters (plus how to use them)
- Melissa & Doug Letter Matching Game/Puzzle
- Pattern Blocks & Boards
- Melissa & Doug Lace & Trace (sometimes you can find similar items at the Target Dollar Spot!)
- Wooden Geoboard Mathematical Manipulative
- Magnetic Tiles Building Set
Educational TV Shows
These were our favorite learning shows for our preschoolers.
- Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood
- Super Why
- Leap Frog Letter Factory
- Leap Frog Phonics Farm
- Leap Frog Number Land
- Leap Frog Numbers Ahoy!
- Baby Signing Time and Signing Time
- Whistlefritz Spanish (cheaper if you buy through Prime Video!)
Whether you can’t wait to start preschool homeschool with your child, or you’re simply looking for ways to make preschool at home less overwhelming, these ideas will help your child grow and learn!