This year in addition to my middle schooler and elementary schoolers, I now have an “official preschooler.” I love having my littlest home with us learning alongside his brothers and sister. He listens along and picks up so much information just by being with us. Many people ask what preschool curriculum I use. My answer these days: The world God gave him.
At this tender age, all a child really needs to learn is right in front of him. His family is teaching him. Then step outdoors and let God teach through His wondrous creation. It may be the only classroom a four year old needs.
There’s so much fun to do outside in autumn. The cool crisp days are the perfect atmosphere for exploring. Take a nature hike. Collect leaves, acorns, twigs, etc. Then use your findings to explain the seasons, colors, and nature. Point it all back to God. Engage your preschooler in His wondrous creation.
Point out how God made the seasons. Explain how the days are cooler, and the leaves change. Pick apples. Pick pumpkins. Enjoy the fruits of the harvest. Come inside and make applesauce or pumpkin pie.
One of the most interesting things I discovered lately is making letters with the twigs we find. My preschooler loves taking sticks and “making” letters out of them. So I’ll ask him now to make an “A” and he will take three twigs and make them into the shape of an “A.” Then an “E,” and so on. We do it for as many letters as we can, and it’s a fun game.
We can also use the outdoors to count leaves, rocks, acorns, etc. Then have him sort them by size, shape, color, etc. For beginning phonics point out all things that begin with certain sounds. “P” for pumpkin, “L” for leaf, etc.
Colors and shapes are all right there outdoors. It’s so much better to go on a hunt outside looking for objects that are orange, or red, or green, rather than using a worksheet about colors. The same is true with shapes. Point out objects of all different shapes. Learn through the world outside. See the shapes of real things, not just drawn on a paper.
Work on senses-sit in the brisk air and ask, “What do you smell?” or “What do you see?” How about feeling different dried leaves, verses ones that are still green. “Which ones are rough?” “Which ones are smooth?” Listen to the sounds-crackling, rustling, birds chirping, etc. There are so many ways to learn!
I encourage you to use as much of the world as you can to teach, especially to a preschooler. They have a natural curiosity at this age. Go with it. Don’t stifle it by making tasks “work.” Your preschooler will learn plenty being in your presence, and in His presence. Enjoy autumn!
Karen DeBeus is a homeschooling mom to four children and a devoted wife to the love of her life. She is passionate about educating others about homeschooling and encouraging families along the way. She is the author of Simply Homeschool: Having Less Clutter and More Joy in Your Homeschool, an eBook written to encourage moms to put God first in their homeschools.
She writes about her thoughts on simplifying all areas of our lives on her blog, Simply Living…for Him where her goal is to encourage others to put God first in all they do. Simplifying is about getting back to the basics and reducing the physical clutter in our lives, as well as lessening “mental clutter.” www.simplylivingforhim.com.