Homeschooling Your Three Year Old

Posted January 11, 2016 by Prairie Wife - 1 comment

Cowboy C is almost three. Around here, when my kids reach the age of three, I start to get them ready for school. Nothing too serious or regimented, just about 15 minutes each weekday. I think it’s important to start working with or “homeschooling” your three-year-old for several reasons.

First, I think a bit of one-on-one attention can make a big difference during this time. Three-year-olds are notoriously hard to deal with…they are discovering their voice and filled with excitement and interest in the world that can be hard to control and work with (not to mention it can be exhausting). I’ve found that some special time with just the two of us gets our day started off right.

Second, it’s time for them to start learning how to sit and focus for small amounts of time. I think 15 minutes is just right. If the activities are age appropriate and engaging, your three-year-old should be able to handle this amount of time.

Don’t be concerned if it’s hard at first.

With a bit of consistency, they’ll be just fine in a few weeks.

Third, kids are wired to learn! Their little brains are just aching for new stimuli and now is the perfect opportunity to teach them some wonderful skills that will help them move towards being readers and writers!

For those of you that are unaware, I was an elementary school teacher for years before I was able to stay home with my kids. I also have a minor in early childhood. The activities below are based on what I have learned about preparing children for school.

When I homeschool, I take two days a week to do “seat work” and three days a week to do “reading readiness” activities.

Below are some activities that I do with my children. Choose one activity for each day or do several!

Seat Work Ideas

1. Coloring: Don’t worry about coloring in the lines or creating drawings that look realistic. This is about building up muscles in their hand and ensuring they know how to correctly hold a pencil, crayon, paintbrush, and marker.

2. Stickers: Give your child a sheet of stickers to peel off and let them place them on a piece of paper. If they are having trouble peeling the stickers off, just bend one small corner so they can grab it a bit easier.

3. Tearing paper and gluing: Give your child paper (old magazines are a great choice) and let them tear it up into any size they want. Then show them how to put glue on the torn paper and then glue it onto a whole sheet to create a work of art!

4. Cutting and gluing: Give your child paper (magazines are a great choice) and scissors, and let them go to town. They may just make fringe-like cuts or end up being able to cut large and small chunks off. Let them do whatever they want, and then show them how to put glue on the cut paper and glue it onto the whole sheet.

5. Beginning Writing: Give your child a piece of paper and a pencil and teach them to draw lines top to bottom, left to right, and round and round (circles). Coach them at first by holding their hand while repeating the directions. Do one whole page from top to bottom, another from left to right, etc. Soon they can do it on their own. When they are doing well, fold the paper in half to give them a smaller space to practice. This teaches them to start using smaller motions.

6. Name Tracing: When they have a pretty solid handle on Beginning writing, they are ready for this. Write their name on a piece of paper in a dark marker (NOT in all capital letters. Do it the regular way with only the first letter a capital). As you write it say their name, then each letter out loud, and when you are done, say their name again as you draw a line under it from left to right. Hold their hand and help them do the same with a lighter colored marker. Eventually, they can trace it on their own.

7. Crafts: Playdough, slime, gluing Popsicle sticks together, stamping…any fun craft ideas make perfect seatwork activities.

homeschool preschool

Reading Readiness Ideas

1. Read: Read anything your child wants, even if it’s the same three books over and over every day. A comic book, a catalog, anything at all. Reading to your child is the number one thing you can do to prepare them to succeed in school. Talk about how the pictures and words go together, run your finger along the words as you read, and let them turn the pages.

2. Sing: Sing songs with your child. Songs with motions are especially fun for everyone!

3. Rhyme Time: Teach your child nursery rhymes and play silly rhyme games. It can be as easy as they give you a word, and you both shout out as many words that rhyme as you can. You will need to do a lot of modeling for this…believe it or not, the concept of rhyme is really hard!

4. Letter Hunt: When your child has become familiar with the letters in their name, have them find those letters within the books you are reading.

Here is a video of me doing the alphabet chant, and it has tips and an explanation of how to do it!

Below is a link that will take you to a PDF of our chant so you can print it off!

Don’t forget to print a few copies to hang up around the house and keep in the car 😉

Alphabet chant PDF

How do you homeschool your three-year-old?

Copyright: ljupco / 123RF Stock Photo

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