Overview: In this post I’m sharing exactly how you can create simple early learning goals while following a child led approach in your homeschool preschool.
Welcome to the Starting Homeschool Preschool Series. This is post #4.
1.Peaceful Days with a Child-Led Homeschool Preschool
2.Is Project-Based Preschool For You?
3. A Typical Day in Our Child-Led Homeschool Preschool
4. How to Set the Perfect Preschool Routine at Home
5. How to Write Simple Home Preschool Early Learning Goals
6. How to Create Simple Homeschool Preschool Lesson Plans
“Mommy! Are you ready to watch me?”
As Sicily bends over her brand new dinosaur small world, the water dinosaurs are climbing trees and jumping off into the water. I ask “Do you think dinosaurs were able to jump into the water from the trees?”
“I don’t know.”
“Well let’s take a look.”
We grab a few of her dinosaur books and as we’re reading we discover just how big the dinosaurs are. We head outside to do an experiment to make the realization of just how big these creatures were.
I gave Sicily a ball of yarn and asked her to use the yarn to show me how long the T-Rex was. She went about 6 feet. I then told her to hold the ball of yarn while I walked the yarn out 40 feet, which is how long a T-Rex can get.
She was amazed at how big these animals were. We spent the rest of the afternoon guessing and measuring out other types of dinosaurs.
Later that night, she returned to her dinosaur small world, but the dinosaurs never jumped off the trees again. I asked “Are the dinosaurs tired of jumping into the water?”
“Silly Mommy! Dinosaurs are too big to climb trees.”
Sicily loves pretend play. The majority of her free play time is taken up by baby dolls, kitchen, and small worlds just like the dinosaur one.
Loris Malaguzzi says there are a hundred languages…a hundred different ways a child can learn. And each child has prefered methods (or languages) of learning. That’s why if you’ve been following me for a while, you know I stress the importance of multiple exposures in different ways.
Sicily loves pretend play and most of our learning experiences start within her imaginative world, just like our dinosaur story.
But how does this all factor into the specific early learning goals we want our children to reach?
Simple, we create broad early learning goals then set up experiences around our preschooler’s interests in order to reach those goals.
Why Set Early Learning Goals
If you’ve been around a while, you know that we follow a child-led approach to homeschool preschool. So I can hear you now, Mama!
“Why do I need to set early learning goals if I’m following my child’s lead?”
Ultimately your child is the one in charge of their learning and we’re in charge of their environment. (You can read more about that here and here.)
Our job is to create an environment that gives multiple exposure to the skills and interests our children are ready to learn.
That’s important, so I’m going to say it again…multiple exposure to the skills and interests are children are ready to learn.
It’s our job to provide experiences that motivate and encourage our children to learn the skills we want them to learn.
So that’s where these early learning goals come in. The skills and interests our children learn about starts with the experiences and environment we give them.
So if our early learning goal is to know 15 of the letter sounds by the end of the year, it’s our job to make sure we are adding letter sound activities into our environment along with exposing them to real life reading experiences to help motivate and encourage them to be ready to learn the skill.
This doesn’t mean we force them or plan a structured letter activity, at least not until they are showing signs of readiness. What this does mean, is I might set out ABC books and letter sounds boxes. I also want to make sure my child is a part of exciting experiences where reading is important like reading a recipe or a grocery list.
Then once they are showing signs of readiness, you can begin with more structured activities.
Step One: Create an Overall Vision
The first step in creating early learning goals for your home preschool is to create an overall vision. This is your ultimate parenting goal…the adult you want your child to grow up to be. Here’s my overall vision for Sicily & Kade…
I want Sicily & Kade to be curious individuals that asks questions and seeks answers on a daily basis. They will know how to use different resources to creativity discover answers through problem solving and critical thinking. I envision Sicily & Kade being a person who loves learning and seeks learning opportunities.
What Your Preschooler Needs to Know
The question I get the most is…what does my preschooler really need to know.
And frankly, this depends a lot on your values. If you want your preschooler to learn how to read, then you need to show them that you value reading through your environment and experiences.
Take a few minutes to decide what are the top 5 skills you want your preschooler to know before Kindergarten. This is going to be different for everyone.
I hear you again, Mama…well what’s developmentally appropriate?
I may be going against the majority here, but I believe what’s developmentally appropriate for one child isn’t developmentally appropriate for another.
Every child is different and unique. The experiences and environment we provide is what ultimately shapes what’s developmentally appropriate for them.
So you kinda have to play it by ear. If you’re meeting resistance when trying to learn a skill, then you child is simply not ready and it’s not developmentally appropriate for them at this time. Continue providing un-pressured experiences until they are ready.
For a list of age appropriate skills, download my Homeschool Preschool Quick Start Guide by clicking the image below.
Creating Your Early Learning Goals
Now it’s time to actually create the goals. I try to limit my goals to 5 at a time per kiddo. When I set these goals, I have the intention of them lasting a full year, but if they meet the goal ahead of time then I just create a new goal. Here are my 5 early learning goals for Sicily this year…
- Know 20 letter sounds.
- Write 10 letters and 15 numbers using sensory writing (not with a pencil)
- Begin to actively seek answers to her own questions by using a variety of methods (or languages).
- Quantify up to 20 and rote count up to 50.
- Begin to identify beginning and ending sounds.
And that’s it. Simply start with an overall vision then break it down into the 5 most important early learning goals for this year. Now you can gently add activities and experiences into your environment that will begin to motivate and encourage them to learn these skills. Once you see signs of readiness, you can add more structured lessons and learning games to teach the skill.
Want more on getting started with homeschool preschool? Click the image below to download the Homeschool Preschool Quick Start Guide.