12/01/2017

Simple Ways to Teach Preschool + FREE Printable - Ihsaan Home Academy

 


Many homeschooling parents wonder whether they should start homeschooling their preschooler. There isn't a right or wrong answer to this, but there could be better options for each and every child. Every child learns differently and has different interests. The average 'preschool' age is between 3-5, but less than 3 is a also preschool. I talked about whether it's necessary to homeschool preschool in a previous post. The post also comes with a preschool assessment sheet for Muslim kids. Ultimately, parents should stick to what's best for their children. Even though there really isn't one way to answer this question, it's still nice to see different perspectives and probably take tips or inspirations from them. Let me share with you what I've been doing with my daughter.

Read books
From the time she was a newborn, I enjoyed reading books to my daughter. She loved it! I was sometimes amazed by how concentrated she was and how much interest she showed. Through books, I believe she learned most of what she knows today. I was never afraid to read 'advanced'  non-fiction books! I believe her learning grew from there. Everything we read had something new to learn from it. To get her attention, I made it as fun and silly (sometimes) as I could. The things parenting would made someone do! You gotta do what you gotta do.

To make the more 'complexed' books easy for her to understand, I pause a lot throughout our reading times. I ask her questions and answer my own questions by saying something like, "Where do elephants live? They live in the Savannah, right?" Ok, I failed at attempting to make you visualize what I meant. I hope you still got the point. Moving on... Oh, by the way, I always elaborate on new words. We even watch videos when we learn about new animals or objects. She loves when we do that!

Overtime, I saw her love for books grow stronger and stronger. Today, if all she could do was read books all day, she would be over the moon! I even started a challenge few months ago to read her at least 10 books a day. I remember some people wondering on Twitter how I did it and what kind of books I read to her. It went very well for some time and we both enjoyed it. I think I just burned out eventually. Guess what... 10 books were NOT enough for her! Allahumma baarik 'alayki (may Allah bless her). She cried every time the reading came to an end. I just couldn't keep up with it, but I really wish I could do that ago. Maybe not ten books, but a little less may be okay too.

Here are examples of the non-fiction books we sometimes read:
These are just some examples. As you can see, some of the books are word-picture books. They are usually animal, insect, object, opposite, and first word books. She learned many words through these books. She could name most of the animals and objects before the age of 3. Another thing I do is that I incorporate Islam when we read. An example would be while reading about animals, we talk about who created animals, the amazing things they do, and how the creation of Allah is amazing; Subhaanallah (Glory be to Allah). I buy some of the books and we borough some from the library. We do also read some kid fictional books with meanings.

As much as I like to be patient with her learning to read, I feel the pressure to just teach her now because she's ready. She wants to read on her own and even pretends to be reading sometimes. We started with letters, then moved up to blending the letters to make sounds. We later started reading small words, and the plan is to move on to blending more words and learning sight words in shaa Allah. We're currently on blending small words. I'm planning on soon making an A-Z phonics booklet for beginners in shaa Allah. I think that will help me stay focused a bit more. I'm currently not as focused and consistent as I should. I like everything structured or else I lose my focus.

Encourage questions and look for answers together 
My daughter LOVES asking questions. She always wants to know what something is, the purpose of it, what it does, and what people do with it. She loves details and hates being clueless. When she doesn't know, she asks! And she won't stop asking until she gets an answer. Sometimes I don't know the answer. I happily tell her "I don't know." What I do to follow up the "I don't know" is by letting her know that we can find out in shaa Allah. So, we go on the Internet and start researching. I read what needs to be read and explain it to her, get a video for us to watch, and we talk about it. When she learns something new, you better believe she will mention it a million time. Well.. not literally a million time, but... you get the point!

Independent play to encourage imaginations
She started playing alone since she was a little toddler. It helped her grow her imagination and find new skills on her own. I talked about independent play in a previous post.
She learned to draw, color, mold, and perfect her fine motor skills by herself! She would wake up in the morning, take her pen and notebook, and start drawing whatever she wants. She also loves painting. She may not be perfect at it all, but she learned it all on her own before the age of 3. Let your kids explore on their own! It helps them develop and help you find time to work on different things.
Here are few examples of what she did on her own:

My husband and I always encourage her in what she does. Whenever she makes something new, she runs to us to have a look. She really enjoys making things on her own. As you can see, her drawings have faces. From the beginning, I tried talking to her about no-faces, but since she taught herself to draw by observation, she tries to draw things as she sees them. Whenever I draw without a face, she tells me, "Where are the eyes? Where's the mouth," or whatever else. In shaa Allah she'll eventually understand.


Have conversations
I've always talked to my daughter as I talk to someone much older. The baby language thing; nah, we don't do that. Because of that, when she talks, she sounds like a child much older than her age. She's really quiet when she goes outside, but she's far from quiet at home. She loves playing, but also loves "grown-up-ish conversations." She likes pretending to be a woman and mother sometimes and it's cute because she obviously knows she's a kid. The important part of it all is that we have fun while we're at it.
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Do housework together 
I need to improve on this one. She always likes to help around when I'm cleaning, cooking, washing clothes, or doing any domestic chores. I lose patience and just want to do it all. I'm working on this. I really should let her help out more. She loves it, and it helps her learn more.

Do crafts
Doing crafts is fun, kids love it, and they learn a lot. I make printables, we do painting sometimes, drawing, learn letters and numbers in a fun way, cut papers with scissors, glue, and do whatever comes to mine. And NO, we don't do all of that every single day. You don't have to make printable sheets. You can simply do something like this when learning letters and numbers:

Do activities and worksheets
You don't have to do this one, but if you choose to, there are many free printables online. I piled a number of preschool resources and printables here. I also have a complete Preschool-Kindergarten curriculum for Muslim kids. It comes with English and Arabic activity books and lots of extra activities. I made it for my daughter and to share with others who may prefer having everything in one box instead of printing different sheets from different places. I'm more productive with my daughter when I know exactly what I want to do; well, sort of. I need to at least have an idea from the beginning even if I I later venture off a bit. But, you can totally do without any of that. keep it simple, fun, and creative!

Now that was a bit personal. I don't usually talk much about my personal life or experiences in detail, but I thought this post may help someone out there. I'm not an expert, so just read this article as just someone else's experience that you may be able to take tips from. Most importantly, please, do NOT compare your children to other children. Every child is different and learns in his/her own way. Do NOT pressure your children while trying to catch up with other children. Doing so would be harming them. Instead, find the balance by being very attentive to how they learn and what makes them happy. Encourage, complement, and let them explore. Feel free to ask if you have any questions.


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