Dear Moms of Preschoolers,
I often get asked by moms of young children what they can do to get their child ready for school. I often see questions about the best preschool curriculums on the homeschool forums that I frequent. When I was teaching school, I was a 4K teacher. I had to be very creative in the classroom because the school I worked for had never had a preschool program before. I’ve spent quite a bit of time in preschool and with preschool kids.
My answer to the question of what can I do is to Let them Be Little!!! Read, Read, Read!!! and let them Play, Play Play!!! They are going to have PLENTY of time in school… why rush the process? I promise that there is no where on a college application that says “when did you learn to read?”
I am a firm believer (and this belief is backed up in child psychology and research) that children learn through play. When I was teaching four year olds, I did not focus on “academics” like learning ABCs and 123s. I had a classroom full of centers… art, science, blocks, housekeeping, books, etc. The majority of the day was spent in those centers- exploring, discovering, creating, learning.
How does this translate to homeschooling? Slow your roll… that’s how it translates. Why be in such a hurry to push our children into school? What’s the big rush? When Big Brother was two and three, many of our friends were enrolling their children in preschools… expensive preschools. We had already made the decision to homeschool, but I really started to feel some guilt… like I wasn’t giving him every opportunity… like I was limiting him in some way. My mom even offered to pay for him to go! But I knew this wasn’t right for us.
I went to a school supply store and grabbed some workbooks and file folder games. We tried to “do school”… and he actually liked doing those things, but he was learning so much more by looking at books, building with blocks, recreating the solar system with bouncy balls, exploring the lake around our apartment, going on bike rides with daddy… I abandoned the workbooks and just let him be little. I tried again when he was four… I even purchased an expensive preschool curriculum… that lasted about two months. In my opinion, he was much better off playing with dinosaurs, checking books out from the library, playing with friends and going on nature walks.
Do I still feel like my son is missing out? Do I still feel like I should have done more? Not one bit! He is a well rounded kid… grade levels beyond his age. He’s had opportunities that he wouldn’t have been able to take had he been in preschool. He has a great imagination because instead of doing school when he was three, four and five… he was playing with his sisters, creating in depth, detailed imaginary worlds. He taught himself to read with books about dinosaurs. He learned about all the planets in the solar system and countless ocean animals.
I guess I’m just trying to let some of you off the hook. Please, don’t stress about the preschool years. Enjoy them… the days may be long, but the years sure do go fast. Don’t play the comparison game… wondering how your child measures up to someone else. Let them be little and go at their pace.. let them lead you!
Now… here is where I relent a little… Little Sis is three, but she sees her big brother and big sister doing school and oh so wants to join them… so I would like to share the sites I frequent (curriculum companies won’t appreciate this… but I really don’t think you need to invest in a preschool curriculum).
**UPDATE**… I recently came across this FREE preschool curriculum. It’s really cute and thorough. Thanks to Motherhood on a Dime for God’s Little Explorers!
Pinterest is a treasure trove of preschool ideas. We utilize busy bags with Little Sis. Check out my Pinterest Board filled with busy bag ideas!
A Mom who has been, and still is … there
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