New homeschoolers are often told “just play and read”…but what does that really mean?
“Just play and read books!” We often hear or read this answer when new homeschoolers ask the classic question: “What curriculum should I use for my homeschooled preschooler or kindergartener?” It’s a simple response―and one that rings true for many veteran homeschoolers. But when you are new to home education this straightforward answer can seem more overwhelming than helpful.
In many cases, it even leads to more questions than actually providing tangible solutions to the huge pressure parents feel to fill a day with meaningful, measurable teachable moments.
But rest assured, you have what it takes to homeschool your little learner! And, yes, the basic concept of “play and reading books” is the foundation you need to successfully homeschool this age group―but you might also need to learn how to do this in a meaningful way. So we’re here to help! In fact, our unit studies were constructed on this very foundation that reading together and letting your child learn through play are some of the most important elements to learning. So if you are interested in making books and play your homeschool philosophy but crave a bit more guidance along the way, then we are exactly what you have been looking for!
First, though, let’s cover some of the basic reasons why reading and play are so valuable for children.
Reading to our children exposes them to millions of words, which has been shown to help them become strong readers in the future. (source) Books bring topics to life―even ones that your child has not been exposed to in their every day. They introduce science, history, culture, and math to your child in a way that they can understand, relate to, and enjoy, and they provide windows into the way different people live (or have lived in the past). In this way, reading with your child allows them to learn about different cultures, backgrounds, and life experiences, fostering deeper empathy and understanding.
Reading books together isn’t simply about the mechanics―it gives you an opportunity to bond and make connections, discuss family stories, and make valuable memories. (source) That’s why books can become the backbone of your lessons, like we discuss in this post. Picture books specifically are a wonderful resource for this, even for older children.
So what role does play, well…play in your homeschooled preschooler or kindergartener’s education?
As the American Academy of Pediatrics explains, “Play is essential to development because it contributes to the cognitive, physical, social, and emotional well-being of children. Play also offers an ideal opportunity for parents to engage fully with their children. Play allows children to use their creativity while developing their imagination, dexterity, and physical, cognitive, and emotional strength. Play is important to healthy brain development. It is through play that children at a very early age engage and interact in the world around them. Play allows children to create and explore a world they can master, conquering their fears while practicing adult roles, sometimes in conjunction with other children or adult caregivers.” (source)
If this all sounds wonderful but simply walking into the library and choosing books feels overwhelming and playing with you child is challenging for you, then the Learn + Live Letter unit studies might be just what you need. Our Level 1 units, which are designed for children in the preschool and kindergarten age group, cover dozens of interesting topics that both you and your child will enjoy learning about. Each individual unit has 3-5 picture book recommendations (sometimes more!) that are diverse and beautiful, followed up with activity ideas such as sensory bins, simple crafts, and hands-on experiments that bring the topic to life in a concrete way.
When homeschooling a younger learner, these units provide lesson ideas to pick from like a buffet table―meaning you don’t have to do every lesson or each activity. Instead, our units provide a framework or an a la carte menu to choose from so you can support both your child’s needs and your family’s natural rhythm.
Beyond reading and playing, our units also introduce many other homeschool philosophies and educational foundations that you can explore and try to see what works best for you. You’ll get a full homeschool curriculum that also supports you, the homeschool grownup teaching the unit studies. And we also offer a free blog with dozens of articles that encourage and empower you throughout your homeschool journey with topics like: how to redefine what learning is in your own mind, tips for homeschooling a neurodivergent child, and learning how to manage homeschooling more than one child.
Additionally, we support L+L members with monthly newsletters and group mentoring sessions for Year Members so you feel consistently supported by an experienced, empowering community.
Are you ready to start homeschooling the Learn + Live way? Click here for membership options or email us at email@example.com with any questions.