Homeschooling My Preschool and Kinder-Aged Kids
Let me start off by saying that I am the last parent on the planet that I’d ever think would be a homeschooler. So much, in fact, that I would literally laugh in the faces of people who said they’d taken on this task in a Good-luck-with-that-better-you-than-me kind of way. Turns out, the joke was on me and the task has been mine for the past four-plus years.
Our daughter had attended a private preschool a few days a week that was lovely, but costly. With her little brother following close behind, kindergarten at this school just became unaffordable. We enrolled her in the local elementary school, but faced some unfortunate situations that caused us to question the choice. That, coupled with the fact that my husband and I both work in creative “freelance” fields opened our minds to the freedom that we might enjoy with alternative education options. After about six months, we pulled our daughter out of traditional kinder and our homeschool journey for both kids began.
I became acutely aware that I was suddenly responsible for their education in a different way, therefore making anything and everything an opportunity for learning. If there were berries on the lunch plate, we would now make a point to group them, count them and call out their colors. We kept things fun with lots of play-based learning, reading picture books out loud, physical activities, tactile sensory play, arts and crafts and field trips. I was able to see early on the differences in how they both learn and, therefore, customize along the way. For example, my preschool-aged son had a natural knack for numbers. He demonstrated an understanding of early math concepts by age three. We had the luxury of really leaning in to that. He’s currently at a fourth grade math level in second grade. Our wildly creative daughter, however, can learn anything if it’s put to a beat. I was inspired by the fact that if something wasn’t working, we could switch it up on a dime and try something else that did. With time, we found a community that provided endless social opportunities and much appreciated support.
This path hasn’t been without doubt and challenges, but the rewards have resulted in well-adjusted, happy, thriving kids — making it the right path for us.
For anyone considering homeschooling their little ones I would say, “You CAN do it!” You will doubt this often, but you are fully equipped with all you need for your child to succeed.
Explore the many homeschool options and resources available in California. There are several different approaches and philosophies, from “unschooling” to more of a hybrid charter school system. Figure out which works best for your family dynamic.
My top tips for homeschooling success are:
Find your tribe. There is a plethora of homeschool groups that provide opportunities for play dates, field trips, elective and academic classes, P.E. groups, and mommy support. Develop relationships with others in the trenches with you.
Be flexible. You don’t have to be married to any one way of doing things. Pay close attention to how your child responds and, if something isn’t working, make adjustments. There’s nothing like seeing it “click” for your little one.
Have fun! Remember that preschool and kinder-aged kids are just getting started. Keeping things light and full of play can create a wonderful foundation and desire for learning that lasts for years to come.
Marquita Terry-Lanier is a multi-hyphenate writer, actor, producer, and content creator who currently manages the family blog, Love the Laniers. Marquita happily resides in Los Angeles with her husband, two beautiful children and American Bulldog, Daisy. Follow the Lanier Family’s fun-filled adventures on their blog, Instagram and Facebook.