Image by UNC – CFC – USFC
By Erin Odom, Contributing Writer
When I was a kid, not everyone went to preschool. I didn’t. And even when I started kindergarten, I only went for half a day.
But, at least in my part of the country, it seems preschool for 3, 4 and even 2 year olds is really pushed.
My oldest daughter was barely a year old when friends started asking me if I was going to send her to preschool. Honestly, I hadn’t given it much thought—except that I didn’t attend preschool myself and went on to have a successful academic career. In fact, I don’t feel like I missed out at all for not attending preschool.
But preschool seems to be the norm these days. To be honest, I’m not so sure it’s necessary.
However, as a mother who hopes to homeschool one day, I’ve started thinking about what I can do to prepare both myself and my daughters for in-home learning now—during the “preschool” years.
My Preschool “Plan”
Not knowing much about homeschool myself, I’ve spent the last few months unofficially interviewing other homeschooling moms. I’ve mostly talked to moms of multiple children (3 or more) who have been homeschooling for years. (Some already have grandchildren!) The resounding piece of advice they gave me was to incorporate learning into the every day.
Learning as we live—instead of a daily, planned-out lesson. That’s my preschool plan—at least for this year with my 3-year-old. We may reevaluate at 4.
And even if we do change to a more academic focus at 4 or 5 or 7, more than anything, I want to instill in my girls how to be godly women—godly homemakers. That part is maybe the most challenging for me because I feel so inadequate as a homemaker myself (still—after nearly 7 years!). I want them to develop a love for reading, history, foreign language, culture and, yes, even math and science. But I also want my girls to know how to care for their families and keep their homes.
For now, it’s translating into a flexible routine I’ve developed after being inspired by this post from Keeper of the Home. It means taking time each morning for leading my girls in a devotion and spending more one-on-one time with my 3-year-old during my 10-month-old’s morning nap.
Yesterday’s “preschool” looked like this:
- Bible/History: Cain & Abel
- Reading: Dr. Seuss books and Kipper the Dog’s Alphabet book
- Math: Counting how many diapers fit on each rod of the drying rack and measuring out laundry detergent
- Home Economics: loading the washing machine, using stain remover and making cloth wipes
- Science: discussing hibernation and where all the caterpillars went while on a walk–and stopping in to notice an ant hill.
- Social Interaction: a free children’s dance class at a local church
As I continue to flesh out what the next couple years of preschool will look like around our home, I also really like Kate’s project-based homeschooling approach. When I read her post, it was relief to find an approach to preschool homeschool that sounded flexible and fun.
Now, I am not saying there is never a place for actually sitting down and teaching children letters, numbers and other preschool skills. I think there can be a place for that, and there are many free and affordable preschool resources all over the web. Next week, I’ll be posting about some of these resources in my monthly Parenting on a Penny series on my blog.
Thankfully, “learning as we live,” is almost always free.
What is your approach to homeschooling preschoolers? Do you think formal preschool is necessary?
Erin is a believer in Jesus Christ and stay-at-home wife and mom of two little redheaded girls. She writes for Carolina Weekly newspaper group, Modern Alternative Mama,Lake Norman Mommies and Jack’s Changing Table. She loves mission work, speaking Spanish, breastfeeding, cloth diapering and researching how to live a healthier lifestyle. She blogs about breastfeeding, natural living and homemaking at The Humbled Homemaker.
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