These days it seems like every mom with a young child at home is looking for tips for teaching preschoolers. It is no wonder because teaching younger students can often feel like stapling jello to a wall.
A HUGE issue so many homeschool moms face when teaching preschoolers (or any resistant learners), is engagement.
Part of the problem is that many parents believe homeschool life is supposed to look like traditional school except at home. And often, this is where the resistance to learning comes into play.
How Do You Homeschool Preschool?
Not to beat a dead horse, but let me repeat. Homeschooling is not supposed to look like school at home.
This is the best part about homeschooling and should give you cause to get pumped! You have so much power to make choices that work for your child. Yay!
If you’re struggling to keep your younger student engaged in learning, there’s hope. My number one tip for teaching preschoolers is the one that I offer for every student regardless of age.
Use your child’s interests as the goldmine to learning that it is.
Tips for Teaching Preschoolers When They Resist Learning
When we are trying to engage younger children or children that struggle with taking direction, we need to think outside the box. We adults have choices to make as to how we respond to perceived “disobedience.”
We can become frustrated with our child’s resistance to learning and enforce our will upon them.
We can take personal offense when our kid doesn’t comply with our directives and push harder.
We can think outside-the-box to come alongside our children where they are in order to best equip them for the long term.
When it comes to engaging our kids in the learning process, that means we adults may need to change our approach. And this means giving our kids opportunities to succeed.
Learning & Stress Don’t Work Well Together
One morning I realized that my boy was not excited about my plan to teach him some sight words. In fact, he was pretty adamant that learning sight words was not going to happen.
I could have chosen to be frustrated and forced the issue. This would have likely ended up causing undue strain on our relationship. Ultimately, that would have made the learning experience that much more stressful. When the stress response takes over, ability to learn and process new information plummets. Don’t force it. It’s not worth it in the long-run.
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Interest-Based Learning Is Fun & It Works
What did I do that morning? I engaged my boy in play.
Hey, Alvin, Simon, Theodore, Baby Monkey! Are you guys ready to learn your words?”
Yep. I simply shifted my perspective and attention to my boy’s stuffed animals. “Pretending” to be the teacher, I directed all instruction to his Chipmunks.
With the pressure off of him, he immediately engaged. He loved playing along and was clueless to the fact that he didn’t want to learn.
Quantity Doesn’t Equal Quality When Learning
We ended up using this strategy to learn six new sight words that day. And while many moms may ask, “Did I do enough?”
The answer is a resounding YES!
We connected relationally while engaging in pretend play. And he was set up for success the next time we “worked” on sight words with his stuffed animals. In fact, he eventually took the lead from me and began to “teach” his stuffed animals using his new found skills.
Phonics Should Be Fun
While we worked on sight words that morning, it is important to equip kids with a solid foundation in phonics.
Over the years, I’ve picked up several phonics and alphabet play-based resources to teach my kids to read. My son and I have had a blast with many of these.
Check out this next post for my favorite play-based phonics tools and activity ideas.
Teaching Tips For Preschoolers: Keep It Short
Remember, small chunks of intentional learning overtime yields exponential fruit. Engaging in play and fun not only opens doors to relationship building, but also primes the brain for optimal learning.
What are your favorite ways to engage your preschooler in learning? How do you engage your resistant learner? Comment below. Would love to hear from you.