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Our Society’s Preschool Vision…
It has long been believed that Formal Early Childhood Education was essential to a child’s brain development and if we skipped on it our children will never catch up. This belief has been behind the push for children to begin school earlier than we did as kids, and it honestly seems to be inching up more and more as time goes by. Sometimes I tell my husband, soon expecting parents will be asked to wear headphones over their bellies playing the Alphabet and phonics sounds so kids can be born already with reading knowledge. 🙆♀️
Today’s society expects parents to enroll their young children in daycare and go back to work. I can attest myself, that the pressure is real! Many people assume because stay at home parents don’t work, we have no ambitions or even worse, we are “leeches” of society 😯. Few see our work of staying at home parents as a real or even important job. Well, I respectfully disagree and consider our job an extremely important one, and can testify it is not just a job, but a full-blown career.
By placing our kids’ future into our own hands without entrusting others with it, our mission is to help them reach their God-given potentials.
Our society desperately needs some good God-given leveled headed people. As homeschooling parents, we can confidently say NOBODY can do this job better than us Mothers/Parents can do, and many studies finally prove it.
NEA (National Education Association) is one of the organizations against homeschool education. They believe children should be out of the house and enrolled in school from Preschool to Highschool being taught by Professionally Trained Educators. Many people who work in the public education sector, believe us homeschoolers are ruining our kids by not doing so.
Truth is, not all kids are ready to start a formal education as early as today’s society expects them to (especially boys). Thankfully, HSLDA (Home School Legal Defense Association) is there for us to make sure legislators do not interfere with our families freedom.
It is now finally being recognized more and more, kids greatly benefit from being around their parents more during their early developmental years than being sent out to attend preschool. So how do we homeschool Preschool and/or Pre-K? Are we really supposed to start homeschooling our children starting at age 3 so they won’t “fall behind” their public school peers? My answer to this question is simple:
Follow Your Child’s Lead …
As a mother of 3 beautiful boys who are being homeschooled (3rd grade, 1st grade, and no grade yet), I can tell you the Pre-school and Pre-K curriculum we chose was a match made in Heaven and worked out wonderfully, giving great results to prepare our kids for the next 20 years of constant school work ahead of them.
Some days we played all day, others we sang songs, dug in the dirt, built with building blocks, watched meaningful educational cartoons, went camping and exploring all the wonderful places around us. We also spent plenty of days at the beach, zoos, sanctuaries, farms, and countless days just enjoying each other and not letting society’s side eye look bother me. (My article “St. Augustine: A History Lesson in America’s Oldest City“, is a perfect example of how a simple camping trip can turn out to be a wonderful educational opportunity no textbook will ever be able to offer).
Yes, we chose not to use a formal Pre-school or Pre-K curriculum and everyone turned out to be better than OK!
Now that my kids are older reading, writing, adding, subtracting and so on, people don’t really have much to rebuke me with about my choice to not formally Pre-school my children, but boy have I experienced a great number of judgmental parents out there!
Sometimes when people ask me how long I’ve been homeschooling, I feel I’m shortening myself by only including our formal school years. Shouldn’t I include from when I taught them how to roll on their bellies, feed themselves (remember that simple but so important skill of hand-eye coordination when they had to learn to bring those cute little baby puffs from the tray to their beautiful little mouths?🧡), to the time when I taught them how to walk, and talk?🤷♂️
My purpose here is not to tell anyone to homeschool Pre-school/Pre-K or Not, but instead, my message is to follow your child’s lead and do what your God-given Motherly instinct tells you is right for YOUR child and nobody else.
Our Non-Structured Pre-School/Pre-K years…
I’m all about being structured now that we are in our elementary years but during the previous years, I chose to naturally teach my children many skills while allowing them to simply be kids. Our children learned their Shapes by playing with building blocks and magnetic shapes they would be pulling on and off the fridge while I’d casually say its name. Same was for their Letters and Numbers. They learned Colors by simply playing and living life, or us flipping through different books during our playtime (which was all the time, oh how I miss those days😔), and the same was for learning different Animals, Insects, and the list goes on.
Hands-On Toys | AAP’s New Recommendation is another great resource where to find more ideas for young children’s hands-on learning experiences.
Sure when they started kindergarten they still needed to learn their alphabet, counting numbers, and so on. However, our children had already developed a relationship with learning at home, even if our society wants us to think this process can only happen by sending them to school and/or by following a Formal Early Education program.
EARLY Formal Education sometimes is better if started LATER…
Friedrich Froebel, a German Pedagogue who created the concept of “kindergarten” said: “Children must master the language of things before they master the language of words.” My question is, when did this wisdom get lost? Some kids are not ready to start elementary school at age 5 either socially, emotionally, or intellectually. Just recently a Stanford University Study co-authored by Stanford education professor, Thomas Dee, showed how kids psychologically benefit from a later age school start.
Kids need more time to play to help develop their learning skills.
My eldest child was completely not ready for Pre-School or Pre-K and in all honesty, he was barely ready for Kindergarten when we started at 5 1/2 years old. He was slightly speech delayed (because you know we have a label for everything these days), and I’ll say about 6 months behind his peers. Some might say he would have been the perfect candidate for Pre-School but I fiercely push back like a Lioness. He was simply NOT READY and needed more time. More time to play, and more time to develop his learning skills before starting a formal educational course of study.
He is perfectly on par now and in many areas ahead of the game, wherein others he’s what we call “average” (what a yucky term🙁), but when I look back I realize I should have probably waited and started Kindergarten a year later. Why? Teaching and learning everything for him who was just not mature enough yet, was a struggle. If I had waited until he was naturally ready, our first couple of years of formal education would have been much smoother, without the need to re-learn many concepts on many occasions later on.😫
Kids are different in many ways.
His younger brother, on the other hand, started to show interest in learning a bit earlier compared to his older brother and I began introducing letters and number formation before formally starting our Kindergarten year. Even so, this was still not early enough to be considered Pre-School, but more like a late and relaxed Pre-K learning if I had to put a name on it. It was never on a schedule and his older brother is actually the one who enjoyed and took it upon himself to teach him letter & number formation, it was the cutest and sweetest sight.😍 My middle child is naturally a fast and easy learner, where at times I even wonder if he truly needs me there teaching him! 😲
My third born has been speaking in sentences since he was 2 years old.🙇♀️ Just as his brothers, his pre-school years have been very much informal and he has enjoyed watching some“Preschool Prep Series“ DVDs on occasions (See link for Amazon pricing and description). He will be starting Kindergarten next year.
Sometimes, some kids just need more time before they are ready to begin Formal Education and it’s OK, where others might be ready to “Rock & Roll” at age 5. Kids are different in many ways and being ahead or behind a particular group of other children shouldn’t be our main focus, rather being there to assist them to shine in the best way possible when they are ready.
Whether you decide to buy a Pre-School curriculum or not, follow your motherly instinct because you are the one who knows your child best. If playtime and social skills are what you want to focus on in the early years, don’t allow our society to pressure you into doing something you know isn’t right for your child. Kids need to be kids and we all know they will only be kids once in their lifetime.
So, after all is said and done, which way are you leaning, formal Pre-K curriculum, or not?
“Be strong and courageous, do not be afraid or tremble at them, for the LORD your God is the one who goes with you He will not fail you or forsake you.”
Enjoy these fast passing years,