Four is a critical age in the developmental process of children, and they are consistently soaking information up like a sponge!
They really begin building life-long habits around this time, and more often than not, they are influenced heavily by their environment and most of all the big people in their lives.
Not only can you help them create effective routines for their daily lives, but you can establish monumental learning practices that will assist them greatly in future grade levels and well into adulthood!
It will help you as well, especially if you plan on homeschooling your 4 year old for some, if not all, of their time as a student!
Hey there, my name is Jerromy and I am all about that homeschooling life!
I was homeschooled on a farm and I do my best to apply the same values I was brought up with as I teach my own children at home to this very day.
My main goal is to help other homeschooling parents make educated decisions about their kids’ schooling by providing resources and information to help them avoid the mistakes I have made on my journey homeschooling my kids.
If you are new to homeschooling, check out my article on how to get started the easy way.
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Where to begin homeschooling a 4-year-old
This really depends on where they are in their developmental process, and what they already know. This will vary greatly from child to child, but for the most part, they should at least be beginning to understand the following before they start kindergarten-level school work:
- Identifying Colors
- Understanding what numbers are and beginning to count to 10
- Learning the alphabet (not fully) and identifying both capital and lowercase letters, and punctuation marks.
- Using tools; spoons, forks, scissors, glue, paintbrush, etc.
- Attempting to color between the lines
- Directions; left, right, up, down, under, over, beside, etc.
- Organization skills
- Cooperation with others towards a common goal
- RESPECTING other people and their personal space
- Repeating sentences or remembering parts of a story
- Experimenting with their environment; making mud pies, chasing bugs, breaking sticks, all the way to cleaning their own messes and beyond. You basically just want them to be aware of things around them and what should and shouldn’t be there and to take the appropriate action depending on what the situation might be.
While these aren’t all going to be strong suits for every kid, you can at least look at this list and begin to build an idea of what your 4-year-old needs reinforcement in so you can make adjustments in what they are introduced to in an attempt to build up those skills specifically.
If they are all up to speed in these areas, they may actually be ready for kindergarten work!
If they aren’t, that is fine too! You have a wonderful opportunity to start educating them in a stress-free way, which will do wonders when you start to break into the more intense stuff. You will both have a great time I promise!
Building Good Learning Habits
Developing habits that are productive to learning can take a lifetime to establish for some people, but the earlier you start the more likely you are to find the most effective way to teach them the right way to learn!
This next sentence might sting so I will italicize it to make it look less aggressive. Most of a kid’s bad habits are learned from their parents.
Okay, so now that I may have stepped on your toes a little, I will say that it is never too late to establish some good habits of your own, so your kids can start picking those up moving forward. It might also be a good opportunity to show them how to admit to a fault and make recompense for it…
Every facet of their lives will play a major role in their learning experience, so every bad or good habit will have a correlating effect on their education, so better late than never!
Once you decide what needs to be adjusted, start implementing them daily.
Things that would help the most early on are:
- Picking up after themselves
- Keeping things organized
- Finishing what they start
- Knowing when to take a break
- Expressing concern and emotions responsibly
- Apologizing when wrong, and accepting the outcome
- Helping others, ALWAYS
- Thinking ahead and making plans
- Trying new things; foods, toys, activities, etc.
Not only will these small practices have a major impact on everyone’s day-to-day productivity, but the long-term benefits can be astounding and can set your child up for nothing but success in their future, no matter what path they decide to take in life.
You may notice improvements in your own personal life as well!
Always Be Teaching
Make everything an opportunity to establish and reinforce the skills they will need in the future, but do it discreetly when possible.
If they get used to you asking them to count their crayons, name the color of each, and set them up in an organized way, they will learn to be receptive to questions regarding school in the years to come while slowly building those critical habits I talked about earlier. It will become a normal thing for them, and they will be less likely to resist your future attempts to educate.
This applies to literally everything they do, and it is super easy to implement, even with the business of schedules.
You can introduce them to different activities they will be facing in the next year or so too, like tracing letters or doing simple addition or subtraction with beans (my kids love to do this); the opportunities are all around you so make the most of each day!
I wouldn’t rely too heavily on books and curricula at this age unless you believe your child to be ready, then by all means help them get ahead a little bit!
You mainly want them to discover learning in their own way, so you can help them find the information they need as they grow.
The idea, for now, is to teach them HOW to learn and apply critical thinking to different problems accordingly. Once you get them thinking freely, they will handle every situation with care and find the best outcome based on the circumstances at hand.
If you teach them how to effectively find a solution, they will never have problems, only new challenges.
Leave room for advancement
They will be in school for upwards of 12 years, so there shouldn’t be any pressure at all to push them past what they can handle. They WILL learn what they need to know in due time, and every child is different.
Never, and I mean never compare your child’s knowledge to another kid’s. Read that again.
You wouldn’t want another parent comparing your teaching ability to theirs would you?
This can do vast amounts of damage to their self-esteem and discourage future learning. Explain to them that different people are suited for different things and that it is often better to be different from everyone else!
After all, we need plumbers just as badly as we need doctors, and I can guarantee they will be great at whatever they decide to do in life if they have lots of encouragement and positive reinforcement catered to their personal needs and interests!
Words of advice before i leave you today:
Know that this journey will be different for each family, and there are no wrong answers as long as you have your children’s best interest at heart.
Let them be kids, but try to find a way for them to learn effectively while doing so. There are many ways to learn, and no one-size-fits-all solution exists, trust me I have searched until I could search no more!
Nothing else in their lives will compare to a parent that took the time to find the best way possible for them to achieve their dreams, and the best time to start is NOW!
Homeschooling 4-year-old kids can be one of the most challenging things you ever do, but the lasting memories you make with your little ones will stay with you both, forever.
Make it a good time, and most of all HAVE FUN!
They will be all grown up before you realize it.
For now, I bid you farewell, but know that I am here to help you on your path to home education, and I encourage you to reach out if you have any questions or just want to chit-chat about homeschooling stuff; Just comment on one of my posts, and I will respond ASAP!
Have a great day!