I’ve been homeschooling preschool since my son showed interest in learning. Heck! I started reading to him when he was in my belly. But, for some reason, the thought of homeschooling kindergarten (coming up for my son and me in the fall) is a little scary.
To be candid, it’s because I’m putting the pressure of a traditional school schedule on myself.
I end up with the question like, “How am I suppose to fit that in our everyday life?” Especially with two other little ones and a dog. That’s going to be so difficult.
But, it doesn’t have to be that way. I can embrace a lifestyle of learning. Where my family can use everyday experiences as learning opportunities. We can learn during the day, at night, on weekends and even holidays!
We can learn math while baking or grocery shopping at farmer’s market. We can learn science while outside or on a trip to the beach. Learning can be plugged into our already busy lives giving my kiddos natural opportunities to grow.
Of course we will use curriculums. Of course we will be meeting our state’s requirements. But, I can release the fear of fitting a classroom setting into our lifestyle.
And that’s the beauty of homeschool.
Read on for 8 Homeschooling Tips for Busy Parents:
8 Homeschooling Tips for Busy Parents
Make birthdays, anniversaries, and your favorite holidays important.
Put them on the calendar. And don’t skip celebrating them unless an emergency happens. This teaches your kiddos to celebrate life and the people they love in it.
Celebrating can lead to learning other things too:
- Have your kiddos bake a cake with you (science and math)
- Setup an invitation to create with playdoh, candles and confetti (art and fine motor skills)
- Look up famous people in history that have a birthday that week and learn about them (history)
- Count balloons at the grocery store (math)
My daughter wanted to celebrate her new baby brother. So, when she was playing with playdoh, she made a cake and then sung happy birthday.
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My kiddos were so excited to meet baby brother yesterday. Their reactions to him were so sweet. My hubby and I got to be alone with our new arrival for a couple days. And then, our other kiddos came home. They had so much fun with grandma. My daughter wanted to make her baby brother a cake. So, she made this playdoh one today. She smashed playdoh into a cup, stuck in pipe cleaners as candles and used beads as sprinkles. She did this over and over until she felt it was just right. Then, she sang Happy Birthday! Melts my heart! What do your kiddos love building out of playdoh? • • #themamaworkshop #preschoolfun #playdohfun
Bring learning into the kitchen.
The kitchen is an amazing place for learning opportunities (Math, Science, Team Work, Roles, Culture). So, involve the kids. Assign them a role. You cook everyday. So, why not make it part of homeschooling?
Here are some ways to learn in the kitchen:
- Strike conversation (“how many tablespoons fit in one cup? What happens when we mix baking soda and vinegar together?”)
- Talk about the water cycle and demonstrate evaporation with a pot of boiling water.
- Do some cool experiments. Like this Magic Milk from Little Bins for Little Hands involving full fat milk and dish soap!
A full day of learning can happen in the kitchen. Here is my son making his own yogurt parfait:
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We're learning life skills today for our second day of preschool. My son initiated this activity. He said, "Mom! I want to make breakfast!" He went to the fridge and gathered his supplies. He brought them to the coffee table (since that table is low). He scooped three spoons of plain Greek yogurt, drizzled honey ontop and added a handful of blueberries! Good breakfast son! I'm going to have a little helper soon. This activity helps with developing fine motor skills (holding a spoon, scooping, squeezing a bottle and transferring ingredients). Which is so helpful when it comes to learning how to write. Learning in the kitchen! So fun! I'm working on a post about our first day of preschool so you all can follow along. I will share our second day too (hey! I might even do an entire series that goes on for the school year). We can learn and grow together! What is your kiddo's favorite breakfast? • • • • • #homeschoolpreschool #motherhoodthroughinstagram #momsofinstagram #motherhoodrising #unitedinmotherhood #momlifeisthebestlife #mommyblogger #sahmlife #momlifestyle #mommymoments #authenticmotherhood #motherhoodunplugged #momcommunity #motherhoodintheraw #communityovercompetition #ig_motherhood #mytinymoments #thatsdarling #mommytobe #mommymotivation #momtribe #documentingmotherhood #honestmotherhood #momtogs #childledlearning #mommabear #theycallmemama #toddlermom
Read whenever you can.
Read in the morning to begin the day, in the afternoon for quiet time, right before bed to unwind, and during long trips in the backseat of your car.
Reading helps cultivate creative thinking and can inspire neat projects. We have done some fun activities involving books. Like this Watermelon Seed Matching Game inspired by the book The Watermelon Seed or this Taco Bar Pretend Play based on the book Dragons Love Tacos. Check out our space week. That was so fun!
Do projects together.
You know…the ones you need to get done around the house.
Projects are our favorite; because, it’s something we can all do together. And it’s usually something we have planned to do anyway. We just involve the kids.
Most of the big projects happen in the evening and on weekends. They don’t necessarily need to be arts and crafts (like we do here all the time on The Mama Workshop). It can be:
- creating a garden together and learning about seasonal fruits and veggies
- building a headboard with dad in the garage
- building legos together and counting how many bricks are in the tower
- painting/drawing pictures of a bug you saw on a hike
- inventing a game together that you play every Thursday night (like the one we did called Swat the Fly)
Go explore outside or try something new.
If you are a family that loves to hike, like we do, you don’t have to stop hiking while homeschooling. So many things can become a learning opportunity while hiking (bug life, survival skills, safety skills, wildlife, plant life, reading signs).
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We got outside yesterday. We played. We hiked. We discovered new things. We learned about bugs. We learned about wildlife. We even reviewed letters on signs. We hiked until we couldn’t anymore. It gets tough carrying a baby in a carrier and when two toddlers end up fighting over the stroller. The dog was the easy one. 😂 That’s when we knew it was time to go home. But, this afternoon of togetherness and learning and playing was amazing. Today, we will be looking up the bugs we saw. We will draw pictures of them and I’ll put up some fun facts with the drawings for us to review. This might turn into a bug week for us! How can you get outside today and learn something new with your kiddos? • • • • • #homeschoolingbyheart #learnathome #flashesofdelight #darlingmovement #childhoodunplugged #thehappynow #unitedinmotherhood #littleandbrave #montessori #montessoritoddler #thepeacefulpreschool #prek #natureplay #365homeschool #playmatters #letthekidsplay #kbn #kbnmoms #waldorfinspired #natureplayground #handson #nannylife #totschool #lifestylehomeschooling #learningthroughplay #kidswhoexplore #preschoolteacher #natureplaysa #forestschool #themamaworkshop
If hiking isn’t your thing, that’s ok. Exploring can happen anywhere. Like exploring a new culture through food. Or going for a nature walk around your neighborhood. Make part of your family vacation a learning opportunity (such as going to the beach and learning about sea life at the tide pools). Explore an interest your child has (like learning to play the piano).
There are things that need to get done in the house. Now, Ludavia, how can my child possibly be learning while doing chores? Here are a few examples:
- writing letters and addressing them (how to write)
- sorting laundry (kiddos learn to sort items in kindergarten by color, size, shape, etc.)
- watering plants (photo synthesis, taking care of something, portions)
- grocery shopping (learn about fruits and veggies, budgets, currency, jobs)
- and so much more!
Search Pinterest for age appropriate chores or use this one from Natural Beach Living.
Play as much as you can.
We all need a break from the everyday. So, go and play. Don’t skip out on that. Play is so important for kiddos to practice what they have been learning. It’s their comfort zone to try new things. Play matters so much.
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A door with a giant keyhole that leads to a room full of foam blocks, tires and cardboard boxes. I call it a door to imagination and creativity. It can lead to building towers and telling stories. Teamwork and reflection. “As children play, they learn many things. As they build towers, they develop a better understanding of structures and stability. As they create stories, they develop a better understanding of plots and characters. Most important, they learn about the creative process, and they begin to develop as creative thinkers.” – Lifelong Kindergarten by: Mitchel Resnick So, #letthekidsplay – it’s so important. Creative thinking leads to innovative things. And keep those cardboard boxes. My kiddos imaginations run wild with those. Just like the little bunny in that book Not a Box. They go on a lot of adventures. visit www.themamaworkshop.com for creative play ideas. Our current play idea: Tea Party Dramatic Play! Learn to Make a Tea Party Headband out of Newspaper☝️
Don’t forget to rest.
A body that doesn’t relax cannot heal. This just got serious. Apologies. But, for real. Rest. It’s important. And if the kids get bored, that’s fine. Kids need to know how to be bored. And in those quiet moments, AHA! moments happen. If we are constantly on the go and don’t have time to pause, we miss opportunities for great thinking.
Plus, it’s fun to see what the kids come up with in those bored moments. My kids have come up with some creative stories to tell each other. They love to build forts to rest under. They are still learning while doing that together. It’s engineering and team work! Whoo hoo!
I hope that these 8 tips help encourage you through your homeschooling journey.
If you involve your children in everything you do, everything can become a rich learning experience for them. Homeschooling will become less stressful if you get rid of the idea of having to fit your homeschooling schedule into a regular school schedule.
Find opportunities to plug in learning in your everyday life.
Have your dedicated time to learning; but, also find those everyday moments you can use for extended learning.
You can read more about how to get your preschooler prepared for learning at home at The Preschool Workshop: How to Get Your Preschooler Ready for Kindergarten. It talks about 5 simple things you can do now to prepare your preschooler for learning at home and in his/her environments.
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