Have you heard of a homeschool preschool group before? A homeschool preschool group works like a co-op meaning that everyone puts in collective work. The idea behind a homeschool preschool group is that a small group of moms (or dads or guardians) will come together and educate their preschoolers together. I want to share with you some great tips on how to start a homeschool preschool group!
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About my group
In my group, all of us take turns hosting and teaching. There are five of us and we meet once a week so that means I only have to prepare my house for the group and create a lesson or activity once every five weeks.
Some parents in our group plan to homeschool their children when they begin kindergarten and some plan to send their children to public school. We haven’t found this to be an issue either way as we are all pretty committed to our children’s learning.
As I mentioned before, my group meets once a week. We meet for about two hours or so. Everyone stays with their children the entire time, this isn’t a drop off program. We think of it as a co-op group. My group is composed of four other awesome stay-at-home-mamas with really diverse backgrounds. Our kids are somewhat close in age ranging in age from 2.5 to 3.5 with two babies who tag along just for the ride.
Why start a homeschool preschool group?
Having a homeschool preschool group is seriously so much fun. It is a great way to meet other moms and have your children make new friends. Kids can learn so much from each other. Plus, don’t we all want to give our children the best start possible?
Preschool can also be really pricey. I know that it’s also super competitive to get into preschools in my area. When we first moved back to Texas after living in Canada for my husband’s job it was almost impossible to find a spot. They book up quick where I live. I’m so glad I was able to start a homeschool preschool group.
Also, by hosting and switching who teaches you will learn new perspectives, different lessons, and others will teach in ways you haven’t thought of before. Some of the other moms have had such amazing ideas. For instance, I never thought about trying yoga with my preschooler or learning using the Montessori method.
Plus, sometimes my son learns best from other kids or from other moms in our group. I know my children love me but sometimes someone new is fun to them. I think that’s why my son did so well in speech therapy even though I worked so much with him at home. Sometimes, they learn faster from someone else besides their mom.
Things to consider
My biggest tip for starting a homeschool preschool group is to keep it small. I think four or five moms or even just two or three is enough as long as everyone is committed to the group.
I looked at helping another mom start a group but she wanted to host a big 20 person group that meets at a local library. It was just too much to coordinate. It was overwhelming to me. Someone was always unhappy with something or wanted to change something. Plus for that large of a group, there was a ton of stuff to prep.
By keeping it small you have a lot more flexibility with everything including lessons and where to meet.
How to meet moms (or dads, or guardians) for your group
If you have a group of friends in mind then feel free to skip this section but if not let me give you some ideas. I’m lucky that I have made a ton of mom friends through a local playdates group, a book club, and by going to the gym. It wasn’t always like this! I had to put some work in to find my mom tribe. A great place to start is to read my post on how to make my moms friends.
You can also find or start a group on Meetup, but just remember that even though we use the internet for everything these days, it’s still the internet! Always use caution and screen all adults before bringing your children into a new situation. Again, just be extra careful! Always, meet in a public place if you go this route.
My group is actually not a faith based group. If you have visited my site before you may have noticed that I do have some Bible based activities. These are for a different group that I host over the summer for my playdates group. I solely host and provide the activities for the Bible activities group but that’s a different story!
I think if you want to faith to be a part of your curriculum you would need to discuss it with all potential members first and make sure everyone is on the same page. Faith is a great thing to include in your curriculum.
The children in the group need to be around the same age. Our group started with 2.5 year olds to 3.5 year olds. There are two babies that also come but they are younger siblings. They are mostly along for the ride right now. A 5 year old will be on a completely different level than a 2 year old so try to keep the ages close-ish. We found the one year gap has worked well.
Everyone in the group must truly be committed to the group and educating not only their children but all of the children in the group. This means they will have to OK with hosting and teaching when it is their turn. If only one person is doing all the hosting and giving it can cause them to burn out really quickly.
Rotate who hosts
As I mentioned, in our group we rotate who hosts and teaches. This makes things so much easier. We meet on Mondays because usually our husbands are home over the weekend so it gives us time to clean and prepare the lesson the day before. We use a big group text to communicate and I always text everyone a reminder the night before we meet.
You could also use Sign-up Genius to help coordinate. It is an awesome free service and can definitely help you get organized.
Let the kids play
Another great tip I have for how to start a homeschool preschool group is to let the kids play. This is especially important when they first arrive to someone else’s house. It’s a new place with new toys, and friends they don’t always get to see. They may feel excited or overwhelmed. We always let the kids play for about 20 minutes before starting a lesson.
With a new place, new toys, and friends it may be overwhelming or they may feel really excited. By letting them play for it few minutes it really helps them shake the sillies out and calm down before doing a learning activity. It goes so much smoother this way.
Going outside is so important. We did this really fun bird lesson after the kids played in the park. We made bird feeders and all the kids were so excited to take them home and watch for birds. We hope to do more and more lessons outside when the weather permits.
Yoga has been a big hit in our little group. It was a great suggestion from another mom in the group. Our kids love it! We also let the kids run around someone’s backyard or going to a park after our lesson to burn off some energy.
When life gets busy
I get it, I’m a mom of two who has survived two under two. Sometimes being a mom is just straight chaos. If someone is having a crazy time and it’s their time to host we default to watching an episode of Signing Time.
If you’re not familiar with Signing Time, it’s an amazing program you can use to teach your preschooler American Sign Language (ASL). I actually began an interpreter program because I wanted to go back to school for something different after having my son. I’m currently taking a break until my kids are a little older but I can’t recommend this video series enough.
Even as an adult, I was way ahead of the other students in my program. I had all the basics down from watching the Signing Time videos with my kids! It’s nice to have the DVDs so that we can bring them back and forth to each other’s houses if needed.
ASL is a very popular homeschool program. We have loved learning ASL together as a family. Giving your child a gift of knowing a second (or third) language is amazing. If a mom in your group is bilingual in another language that would also make for some awesome lessons!
We also do simple art or music lessons if one of us is short on time to prepare or if a host is out sick (it happens, we are all moms and get it). We love these paint sticks and this easel for a fun and enriching last minute activity. We made this collective art piece during one lesson.
We also tend to break mid-December and don’t typically schedule another meeting until mid-January. Everyone gets busy with Christmas and New Year’s.
What supplies do you need for a homeschool preschool group?
Well, if you have toddlers or preschoolers you probably already have most everything you need. One thing I did invest in was a Little Tikes table so everyone could sit together. It has been great for our homeschool preschool group. It has also been fantastic for everyday use. I feel like the table helps me utilize our daily structured learning time. We can always sit down and do dot markers, color, or do stickers.
Some other things you might consider getting are dot markers, ASL resources, a portable blackboard/dry erase board, and alphabet or number magnets.
If you want to go all out you might want to consider a laminator or a colored printer, but these are definitely just nice-to-haves!
You can always utilize your local library. There are tons of great books and also a lot of fun and free ideas all around the web. There’s no need to feel like you have to spend a lot of money these supplies are merely a suggestion as I have found them very helpful.
Ideas for homeschool preschool lessons
I have a ton of awesome lessons right here on website! Check out these fun ones below:
- Chicka Chicka Boom Boom Learning Activity
- Chicka Chicka Boom Boom Dot Marker Printable
- Learning about Feelings
- Learning about Ladybugs
- ABC Dot Marker Printable
- Growing Plants Homeschool Preschool Activity
- Learning about Birds
- Blue Boat Learning Activity
I always have a few free ASL resources for preschoolers, if you choose to incorporate ASL into your homeschool preschool group. You can find them below:
- How to Teach Toddlers the ASL Alphabet
- Printable ASL Alphabet Matchup Game
- Printable ASL Numbers Matchup Game
- Free ASL Alphabet Coloring Pages
The most important thing I can tell you about how to start a homeschool preschool group is to have fun and let your kids have fun too!