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October 24, 2021 | Doug Sauder
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Not too long ago, parents were all getting their kids off to school without a hitch until a viral storm blew in like a hurricane, sending everyone’s compass in multiple directions.
If you’re the parent of a preschooler, perhaps you’ve experienced that while parenting in the age of COVID-19 presents some unique challenges, it also provides an opportunity for some delightful time of homeschooling during this time of social distancing.
To help you navigate through this new, unprecedented season, we chatted with Calvary Christian Academy’s Early Childhood Director, Jan Lashbrook. Here she provides 7 important tips for homeschooling a preschooler.
#1 Structured Schedule
Young learners thrive on consistency, so when possible, provide the lessons and activities at the same time every day. This will help your child mentally focus on the task at hand. Your work schedule will dictate what time that is, but consistency is important. Setting a schedule and sticking to it from the get-go will help your child understand that you need time to do your “school work” too. Try structuring your day so your time facilitating lessons are first thing in the morning and the hands-on activities or games that don’t require your attention are later in the day. That will give you time to do your work while they’re working on their activities.
#2 Key Resources
As a busy parent, you can keep your kid engaged by tapping into resources that are already out there—and there are plenty of them (see Tap into Some Resources)!
#3 Classroom Space
Prepare a designated space away from distractions (a multi-use table or desk is fine) so when your child is in that space, they know it’s time for school.
#4 Brain Breaks
Allow plenty of “brain breaks” in between lessons and activities. Try dancing to fun songs, doing jumping jacks to a song, or create a tunnel with the dining room chairs and let them crawl through.
#5 Hands-on Learning Activities
For each lesson taught, provide a hands-on learning activity that reinforces the concept.
#6 Reading Time
Read for 20-30 minutes with your child every day; one book they get to choose and one that you choose. (Bedtime is a great time to read a fun book and a devotional book together.)
#7 Selected Activities
Allow your child to pick an activity that interests them. You will see their creative juices flow when they’re doing something they want to do! Sensory activities work best with 2-4-year-olds. They’re very engaging for young children, as well as extremely beneficial for the developing brain and fine motor skills. Here are some ideas:
Tap into Some Resources
Some great sites with fantastic sensory and activity ideas for little ones are:
Make musical instruments using the site below:
Read Bible stories online together and talk about the story here:
Online Multi-Family Lessons
Connect and share your ideas with other families who are homeschooling preschoolers. Remember, we’re in this together!
It's okay if you don’t accomplish everything you had planned for the day as part of your homeschooling. There will be days when your child handles the daily schedule easily and you feel a sense of accomplishment, and there will be days when you get nothing done and you and your child are frustrated with each other. That's okay. We all need flexibility and grace; especially young children, and most especially under stressful situations. Go with the flow and do something different that alleviates the stress for you both. Tomorrow will be better!
More than anything, be present with your child. Dr. Barbara Sorrells, executive director of The Institute for Childhood Education stated, “The immature disorganized brain needs the full presence of the mature organized brain.” Parents can sometimes be more engaged with their devices than their child, and some regularly give their child a device to occupy them when they really need the guidance and attention of an adult who will engaged with them in play and conversation.
The World Health Organization recently posted the new screen guidelines that state that children under the age of five should have no more than one hour of screen time a day. Children between the ages of 2-4 should only have one hour a day of screen time, and kids under the age of two should have no screen time. That’s a challenge for busy parents of toddlers, but the above tips should help with that.
If you’re a parent of a preschooler in need of more guidance, Calvary Christian Academy’s team of teachers and administrators are available to answer your questions. To get a conversation started, contact Jan Lashbrook at JanL@CCAEagles.org or visit CCAEagles.org.