How to Plan your First Week of Homeschool Preschool
Updated: Oct 25, 2021
There's nothing like the start of a new school year. The excitement and energy of new ideas, fresh supplies, and that obligatory first-day-of-school picture get everyone eager to begin... or at least, almost everyone.
I taught preschool for ten years... and even with all that experience, there is something about that first day that made my sleep the night before a little more restless. What will the kids be like? Was I prepared enough? Was I going to get along with the parents? Did I have enough supplies? The questions kept coming...
But every year, the doubts and fears all vanished when I opened the class door and saw all the smiling, eager faces of the kids and parents just waiting to dive into their first day of school.
So let me tell you... from experience... relax! It's going to be fine!
Homeschool preschool is a wonderful way to get your feet wet in the homeschool world without the rigors of schedules, grades, and curriculum. Plus - it's actually an outlet to explore new ways of play with your kids. (eg: tired of blocks? stack dice instead!)
Starting your first week of preschool? Here's a few tips:
1) Choose a subject, then research.
For us, it was apples. It can literally be anything; choose something that inspires them and you. From here, Pinterest will be your best friend. (I lived on Pinterest for most of my teaching career!). Search for preschool activities that go with your theme (eg: apple themed preschool activities) and get inspired even more by the amazing ideas other people have come up with!
2) Make a (very) rough plan
Seriously, don't go crazy. For us, I made a list of the activities I wanted to do, then fit them into the schedule I already knew we had. (Early morning swim class? Just apple tasting for lunch. Mom has a meeting? Perfect sensory bin opportunity!). I made a list of what I wanted to do each day... and then changed it almost every day as my plans changed. Surprisingly, just having activity ideas in my back pocket made the days flow smoother!
3) Go to the Library
There are so many wonderful children's books that have to do with nearly every theme. They don't have to be strictly educational. Having a theme simply gives you an opportunity to look for books you wouldn't normally see or be drawn to. If your kids are a little older, it will seem like a treasure hunt to find only books about your theme!
4) Definitely get messy
Preschool is all hands on learning! On the days where we had a little bit more time, I planned messier activities such as apple prints, finger painting on a apple-shaped paper, and apple volcanos. Allowing your kids to get messy will excite and inspire them.
5) Choose one thing you really want them to learn
This might be one vocabulary word, or a single letter of the alphabet. Keep it simple. And then incorporate whatever that one thing is into many of your activities. For our apple week, this was the parts of the apple. Since "core" and "flesh" were the only new words, talking about the parts of the apple wasn't asking too much. We opened an apple and felt the parts while naming them; we made a chart; we painted with colors that matched the parts and tested our knowledge often. Above all, we made it fun and low key. At the end of the week, I'd say he was familiar with the terms, but may not recall them fluently. Great! We are on the right track!
6) Play together
This is by far the most important part of homeschool preschool - especially in the first week! Drive cars through the dirt together. Bring the stuffed animals to the play vet's office together. Build a stick-and-leaf pill bug house together. Pretend together. Laugh together. Dance together. And most importantly, make memories together.
You know your child best. You also know yourself best. Plan activities are doable for your kids AND for you. Make it easy, light-hearted, and centered around play. Some kids will love to sit and do "big-kid" seat work. Some kids want to be in the sensory bin all day. You'll get into your groove together as you learn what homeschool preschool looks like for you!
If you are just starting your own homeschool preschool journey, read this. It's a great reminder of what homeschool preschool really means.
Sooner than you know, you'll be grading math tests and facilitating frog dissection. Enjoy these exciting days while they are small and still marvel scooping oatmeal and smashing play dough. Happy first week of school!!