How do I homeschool?

My preschool child?

Regardless of whether families identify as homeschooling or not, most parents are teachers of their preschoolers.These young children learn in a variety of situations.

  • Music – literacy awareness may start with the ABC song.
  • Hands on beside an adult – measuring food in the kitchen.
  • Independent play – science as children play with building blocks and explore outside.
  • Books – learning about the butterfly life cycle in a children’s picture book.
  • Mentoring and Role Models in groups – sharing and taking turns.
  • Observation – looking out the car window at a building under construction.
  • Field Trips – visiting a fire station, apple orchard, or natural park area.
  • Questions – receiving answers to their “Why?” questions … preschool and curiosity go hand in hand.

Reading out loud is very important at this stage. Growth in language development, fostering imagination, and bonding with parents are just three reasons to read out loud to your preschooler.

Some families find it helpful to have a scheduled daily reading time and a weekly learning opportunity out of the house (library visits, field trips, play dates at the beach). Preschoolers learn all day long, but some parents who like routine choose a learning time when ‘special’ learning opportunities take place. This isn’t necessary, but can increase the fun and anticipation of learning. John Holt’s book, Learning All The Time, is an excellent resource for all parents of preschool children.


My elementary school child?

In elementary school, parents build on the foundation of skills and knowledge that the child has already acquired. Wherever your child is at, you can start from there. This is great news for children who do not learn at the same rate as the provincial curriculum dictates. It is very possible for one homeschooled child to be at a certain ‘grade level’ in math and a different one in engligh. Whatever their area of interest or expertise is, your child can move forward with more learning in that area without needing to wait for the rest of the class to catch up. Thankfully, this also helps children who are struggling in a certain area to take the time to learn concepts before moving on.

As children progress through the elementary years, parents have many options of how to enable their children to learn and the flexibility to try new options from year to year. Click here to read explanations about different education methods.

Reading out loud through this stage continues to be important. Vocabulary expansion and understanding character development are just two benefits of reading to children even though they are capable of reading to themselves. As you read with your children, be sure to ask questions or think out loud. “What predictions could you make?”…. “Does this remind you of anything that happened at soccer practice yesterday?”

Fostering creativity, group learning experiences with peers at a local co-op, and lots of outdoor active learning are commonplace in elementary home education. As children progress toward high school, remember that you aren’t restricted to courses that your local public school offers. It’s OK to have a tech or home economics class. Requesting input from your child during the planning stages can help both you and your child have a successful year.