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The average price of preschool costs anywhere from $4,460-$13.158 a year! That’s anywhere from 1,820 to 5,370 Venti black coffees from Starbucks for the year! This article is for Moms who are looking to teach their toddler at home but don’t know where to start.
Preschool is very expensive no matter where you live. Not all states offer free public preschool for children. Even with free public preschool, many of the programs are underfunded and overcrowded to provide the best education for each individual child.
When my son was 3 and a half, I decided to put together my own preschool schedule and work on some of the skills he will need for kindergarten. It was very simple. He caught on quick. And the structure of the day was useful for me and my son! I felt like I had more free time following a structured preschool schedule with him versus not having a schedule.
You too can teach your child at home with your own structured preschool schedule!
Having a structured preschool schedule at home has many benefits and it doesn’t require any special skills to teach your child what they need to know for kindergarten!
First off, what’s the best way to set up the schedule?
Young kids have short attention spans. That’s how they’re structured and there’s no changing that. It’s important to have a wide variety of “subjects” over the span of the preschool day.
Also, don’t set up the whole day to be preschool. It’ll be stressful and will never work long-term. There’s a reason kids only go half day preschool, or if they go full-day, much of their day is playing/unstructured.
I’ve included a sample schedule at the end of this post to see what we followed. On the schedule, I included pictures from google images so my son had a visual so he knew what was next. His school stuff was set up in his own binder, and we kept all the school related activities in a big Rubbermaid bin in the corner, out of the way.
We always began our day with the calendar and weather. YouTube has some great videos to help your child memorize the days of the week and months of the year! Music is a great way to teach kids skills that they need to memorize!
Each “learning time” (when we completed academic work) was no more than 15 minutes long
Children lose interest fast, so don’t plan to do all the academic learning all at once. Even within those 15 minutes, plan to do 2 different tasks. For example, you can work on math for a little bit and then switch to ABCs. You keep the child’s attention that whole time, by switching up the tasks! Some great examples of learning time activities to work on can be read in the article for 15+ Skills a Child needs for Kindergarten
Do learning time activities at least twice during the period of time you are following the preschool schedule. That way you can cover more subjects, just not all in one sitting.
If you don’t have an idea of what to do for learning time activities. ABC Mouse offers great learning time activities for your child. This is a great, online, program for your kids to teach them skills they need for kindergarten. ABC Mouse has lessons for kids as young as 2 and goes all the way up to age 8!
They offer a FREE 30-day trial to try it out! See if the lessons help your child! If you aren’t happy with the results, you can cancel anytime! Otherwise, ABC Mouse offers a monthly subscription to their service online. They have a special offer happening right now for 38% off an annual membership!
Also, try to make a preferred activity after a learning time. That way the child has something to look forward to after the learning time is over. Unstructured play is just as important for a child to learn as any of the academics you are teaching, especially at this age!
Speaking about play time…
Allow the child to play alone. This gives you time to have some quiet time to get your own things done. The play time doesn’t have to be for long periods of time, though. 15-20 minutes is plenty of time for a child to play during your scheduled preschool.
Schedule in some reading time.
You can pick a book if you are planning a theme for the day, or have your child pick a book they want to read. Go over who the author and what author means. Discuss the illustrator and what that means. Identify the title of the book. While reading, ask questions about what they think will happen based on the pictures or how do they think the character felt. After the book, ask the child what happened first, second, and third.
Reading time should be much more than only reading the book!
Craft time can be as simple or complex as you want to make it!
- Draw pictures on the back of a huge piece of wrapping paper!
- Make a birthday card for someone if there’s a birthday coming up.
- Make crafts for a holiday coming up.
- Decorate cupcakes that you bake!
- Do science experiments!
Plan the craft or go on a whim. You control how much time you put into it! Create a board on Pinterest to give you craft ideas. Vary between paper crafts and gooey, messy projects. Craft time lasts longer because it usually takes much longer to complete and play!
If craft time requires some setup, it’s a good idea to put a play time before it so that you have time to set everything up! Sometimes, it’s hard for young toddlers to wait and you lose their interest!
Add in a game time if you want!
Game time is a great time for kids to learn cooperative game skills. Playing by the rules and learning how to lose gracefully are both skills many children need to learn. Practicing these skills each day during your preschool time, allows your child to learn, without realizing they are learning!
It’s important for a child to get moving so add in a “gym” time and let them burn off some energy!
This can be anything to get your child moving! The ideas from these articles are great for when it’s rainy or cold outside:
You can also go for a walk outside. Play in the yard, go to the playground, ride their bike, go for a scavenger hunt, anything to have them move around!
As you probably thought while reading this, is that you already do a lot of these things with your child already. Having a structured schedule while doing the same activities you already do, gives the child an understanding of what a school day resembles. You also get the peace of mind that you are covering all the basic skills needed for entering kindergarten.
Don’t get caught up in having to follow the schedule every day without flexibility! That’s what’s fun about it! You can restructure and go on “field trips” to the library, zoo, park, go on a walk to learn about nature instead…the possibilities are endless!
If you only want to do the schedule 3 days a week, do that. If the schedule works best 4 days a week, do that! You have control of what days and time work best for you and your child!
Some Moms may feel overwhelmed by the thought of “homeschool”, but preschool offers so much flexibility. Give your child the preschool schedule and guide them through the day.
Pretty soon, the child will be directing their day and choosing what they want to work on, and you will become an observer to their self-directed learning!
Download the Sample Preschool Schedule here!