How Long Should a Homeschool Preschool Day Last?
This is one of the questions I often see popping in to my inbox, and I would love to say that I could provide you with some kind of formula to help you decide on the exact amount of time you should spend homeschooling your preschooler each day, but the truth is that there is really no set answer that would work for every family.
One of the best things about homeschooling is the flexibility it provides! Homeschooling gifts families with the ability to create routines that revolve around family life rather than attempting to fit family life in around their routines. With careful planning and a little creativity, this can result in some amazing learning opportunities for everyone involved!
One of the things that I have tried hard to do is create a home environment where learning can take place any time day or night.
This is not to say that we never sit down to do more formalized schoolwork together. We do, and I think that as children mature and develop, this is a very important piece to the puzzle, but what I want to do is encourage you to see learning with your little one as something that is not limited by a clock – or a specific curriculum, for that matter. Learning is not something that only happens when a child is tracing letters or sorting shapes. In fact, especially at the preschool age, much of a child’s learning takes place as they’re playing and through typical interactions with family and friends. In fact, I will go as far as to say No workbooks required!
You might be thinking, Elizabeth, why did you just say that? Don’t you homeschool your preschoolers? Yes, I do, and yes, we use workbooks, but does that mean that everyone should do the same things we do? No, some preschoolers may enjoy workbook learning mixed in with other more hands-on learning activities, while that type of practice might not be as effective for others.
Schooling toddlers and preschoolers is a fairly new phenomenon, and in my mind, Homeschool Preschool is simply a somewhat more organized/structured approach to providing your little one(s) with activities (many of which you are probably already doing!) that will reinforce all of the amazing things they are already learning in their day-to-day experiences, and this is going to look different for everyone!
What I want to do is encourage families to get creative and discover learning opportunities that are readily available to their family: activities that work well for them and experiences that are right at their fingertips – whether they choose to use workbooks or not.
Want a closer look?
This is a glimpse in to what we do for:
After reading through what we do, you may feel like we use too many workbooks…or maybe not enough. You may not care for the Phonics program we love…or maybe you use the same one. You may prefer a three day week instead of four…or maybe a 5-day week works best for your little one(s). You may see ideas that you know wouldn’t work well for your child…but you may have also come across something that you want to try.
Every child is different…every parent is unique in their teaching style…every family is distinct…every home situation is going to vary in many ways…and all of these things are okay!
You know your child best…You know their learning style…You understand their strengths and weaknesses…and guess what? With homeschooling, you are able to structure your child’s environment to grow them in their weaknesses and provide them with opportunities that allow them to shine in their strengths!
If you find something is working, stick with it! If you discover something is not a great fit, simply try a new direction! Don’t ever be afraid to stop what you’re doing and consider a fresh approach. Having the freedom to do this is one of the best things about learning at home with your little ones!
My Encouragement for You:
#1: Don’t isolate your children! One of the reasons we love homeschooling is that it provides us the opportunity to do MORE! Our goal is not to shelter or isolate but to gift our children with MORE exposure, MORE interaction, MORE hands-on learning, MORE real life experiences…Yes, MORE…not less. Allow them time to play…provide them with lots of outlets to be creative…make sure they’re getting to experience the great outdoors A.L.O.T…plan outings, activities, and field trips that gift them with loads of opportunities to interact with all kinds of different people!
#2: Don’t compare! It doesn’t matter what other families are doing…It doesn’t matter what curriculum others might be using…It doesn’t matter if you decide not to join the co-op that all the families at your church are joining. What matters is that you discover what is best for you and your family and then stick to it! No matter what choices you make, there is always going to be someone thinking you are doing too much…and someone else thinking you aren’t doing enough. Let all of that go! Embrace the design of your child and stay solely focused on learning and growing with them!
#3: Let kids be kids! Especially when it comes to homeschooling your preschooler, avoid any tendency to be too rigid or structured. If we avoid being too intense, they will enjoy learning with us, and that is definitely the number one goal of this whole thing!
So back to the question we started with at the beginning:
How Long Should a Homeschool Preschool Day Last?
I would say that during the two-year old year, we usually have 10-15 minutes of sit down time each day…during the three-year old year, it’s more like 15-20 minutes….and during the four-year old year, it’s closer to 20-30 minutes. For a number of different reasons, I hesitate to share those numbers. You see, there are times when our four-year old homeschool preschool day stretches out to be much longer than that…but there are also days when our sit down time doesn’t even take 20 minutes. I clarify this in an effort to encourage other families to take a deep breath…relax…have fun learning with your child…ignore the clock and I promise that great things will happen!
This is Our Daily Schedule:
(and the items in bold are what I consider to be our sit down learning time)
Morning Time (Read more about this here.)
While this is a typical morning schedule for us, there are times when certain activities are saved for evenings or weekends when daddy is home with us. Curious how that works?
Check out Why We Homeschool at Night…Sometimes:
This will give you a closer look into the round-the-clock approach to learning we embrace in our family.
While I want to be transparent about the strategies that are working well for us, I in no way want you to force the same things on your children. I simply want to inspire you to nurture a spirit of learning in your home – whatever that might look like for you and your crew!