In a relaxed and playful learning setting, you’ll see a lot of free play opportunities in the daily homeschool preschool schedule.
A Daily Homeschool Preschool Schedule: Relaxed and Playful!
In a relaxed preschool setting, you’ll see a lot of free play opportunities in the daily preschool schedule. A routine that includes child-led free play is more beneficial to development and learning than any mom-driven or teacher-driven learning anyway. Until a child is about 5 years old, it’s perfectly acceptable to allow plenty of unscheduled, unguided playtime.
Learning Happens Through Play
At this age, learning occurs through natural play, and through a mom’s recognition of a great learning opportunity and taking advantage of it.
- Playdough: If your child is playing with playdough, ask her if she can form a ball (or even call it a sphere!).
- Crayons: If she’s coloring with crayons, ask her what color she’s holding, or tell her to try to write the first letter of her name with a specific color crayon.
- Blocks: If she’s building a castle with blocks, say, “We need four blocks on this side – help me count…”
- Dress-up: If your child is playing dress-up with a fireman’s hat, take a moment to pretend with her, but also guide her into a conversation about what a fireman does.
- Pretend Play: Playing with a dollhouse alone is an opportunity to just sit back and just watch as she entertains herself. At the same time, it expands her creativity and independence.
- Cooperative Play: If she’s playing with a friend, sit back and watch her learn how to share and cooperate (with some guidance on how to be polite if necessary).
During “free play” time, stay by her side or watch from a short distance, but let her lead the activities.
- Imagination: It is during these times that you are allowing her imagination to grow.
- Problem-solving skills: She learns how to problem solve and become more independent.
- Fine Motor and Gross Motor: She learns to manipulate objects with ever-improving dexterity, and gains more coordination in her legs, arms, balance, and physical strength.
- Creativity: She can create, and become more expressive in visual, artistic, or musical ways.
- Intrinsic desire to learn: Most importantly, she’s guiding her own learning, and she’s not even aware of it.
Your Time Will Come
Sometimes, sure, you’ll be the leader and pick a toy or a game that you feel like using for a learning experience. Say, “How about this?” and usually she’ll say, “Ok!” One of these days, soon enough, you will be providing a set schedule of academic learning opportunities. But for now, she’s happy, she doesn’t even know that she’s learning, and trust me, she’ll know just as much, if not more, than most kids her age do who are enrolled in an academic preschool!
Sample Daily Homeschool Preschool Schedule
Here’s a sample daily schedule that you could try following with your own child. You can use these ideas as a guide for creating your own schedule that works for you and your family. You don’t have to follow it exactly, every single day. The times are not written in for you because in reality, not many homeschool families do things at the exact same time every day, and sometimes things are out of order. This schedule could very well keep the average homeschool preschooler busy from about 8:00 in the morning until about 5:00. Being on a set schedule keeps the whole family happy because everyone knows what’s coming next in the lineup for the day.
- Breakfast, get dressed, brush hair, etc.
- Free Play
- “School” time (Usually a brief 15-30 minutes or so, and can include many different resources. It’s fun to have a weekly theme that you follow, and find daily activities to do together around that theme.)
- Outside play (or indoor movement, depending on weather)
- “Art” (sometimes a cool craft, other times Playdough, other times just coloring in a coloring book or chopping paper into small bits with scissors, sometimes a themed craft)
- More Free play
- TV time (Educational shows only, such as Super Why, Reading Rainbow, Sesame Street, Leapfrog videos, etc)
- Prayer before lunchtime (Even a simple song such as “God our Father, God our Father, we thank you…” or prayer that rhymes)
- “Music” (sing, dance, and play toy instruments along with cheerful children’s music – bonus points if it’s educational themes such as alphabet, numbers, colors, etc)
- Free play and/or theme activity
- “Pre-Reading” activities (Read lots and lots of books, do fingerplays, sing songs, quote nursery rhymes or Bible verses)
- Naptime Prayer (“Now I lay me down to sleep…”)
- Naptime (1.5-3 hours is what most kids ages 1-4 need)
- Free play and/or theme activity
- Outside play (or free play indoors, depending on the weather)
After that simple daily routine, it’s downhill from there – dinner, bath, bedtime! Pretty soon, the routine becomes such a habit that your child will need little direction during transition times, and willingly looks forward to each expected activity. Learning is fun, predictable, and on schedule!