When it came to writing this post and putting it on the internet, I felt the urge to put a positive spin on this title, but then I remembered I was determined to keep it real, so here it is, why I don’t bother homeschooling preschoolers.
when it comes to homeschooling preschool-aged children I take an extremely minimal approach to formal learning.
and my minimal, I pretty much mean, none.
no books, no numbers, nothing that can’t be taught with conversation.
and you may think that’s crazy!
I have read and listened to many out there, who say that the young years are the most formative and important and you should aim to soak your children in as much knowledge as you can give.
I have 6 kids, which means I have learned what sticks and what doesn’t, and most importantly what is worth my time.
What is the best age to start homeschooling?
the best age is the age at which your child is developmentally ready. As a homeschooler, you don’t have to start at a certain age determined by your state’s schools.
signs that your child is ready to start homeschooling are:
- they are having more informative and engaging conversations.
- they are able to take instructions and learn to do this by learning how to do chores and help in the kitchen.
- They can listen to read-aloud books and recall some information.
- they are keen or at least not opposed to beginning the formal school process, (pencil to paper)
in my experience, preschool-aged children are rarely ready to start formal homeschooling. they are ready for hands-on learning and relaxed learning through reading books and helping out.
but children of the ages 2-6 are almost always more socially inclined when it comes to learning, which means conversation, helping, and step-by-step teaching.
What I don’t teach my preschoolers.
I don’t teach anything from books.
there is no writing, tracing, or spelling.
I don’t use charts, I don’t plan anything.
there is no learning made fun, no particular activities curated to teach geography or science to a 4-year-old.
there is no demand on my time to spend teaching them any kind of schooling that can be found in a book.
How you can teach your preschooler at home
all my preschoolers learn how to clean up after themselves.
from basic hygiene to learning how to clean up their toys, and after they eat, these skills are honed as they get older, by the age of 5 they participate in our household chore routine.
all my children of preschool age get books read to them, and they take part in the family read-aloud, as well as listening to audiobooks in the car or while playing.
all my preschoolers sit at the school table and color or paint while I teach the older children.
all my preschool children take part in the bible lesson, just by listening and drawing.
why I don’t think it is important to home school your preschoolers.
teaching your preschoolers things is important.
- how to talk to others
- how to play with others
- how to share
- how to clean up after themselves
- how to be kind
- how to be helpful.
but it comes to formal learning, I don’t see the need or the reason to take the time to teach my preschooler.
I call it lost time to be brutally honest.
lost time because it takes a lot more time and repetition to teach a very young child basic skills that you can teach an older child in a much shorter period with less fuss.
it is bad to have your preschooler learn things?
does it matter if you do?
but it really does nothing for them.
to be able to say your child knows something at the age of 3 or 4, is that you for them it for you, the parent?
I don’t know any preschoolers who feel the urge to know their letters, how to read, or how to find their country on the globe.
mostly they want to play alone and with others, they want to help out, and they want to create.
a child of this age has this drive to want to know, and we as parents can misunderstand this, we think of learning how we understand it, and we try and start formal education as early as possible.
a preschooler is always curious with million questions this is the natural learning a child will seek out.
It is social as well as educational and this is the way children at a young age really retain what they are told.
How you can create a learning environment for your preschoolers.
there are some things I think all homes with preschool ages children should strive for to help them develop the curiosity and patience needed to learn what surrounds them.
keep your tv off
don’t fill your home with tv, no matter how educational the tv shows.
keep it off, and time how much they are watching tv each day, aim to keep it under an hour.
a preschool child should learn how to sit in the car without needing screen time.
preschool-aged children should be able to run errands with their parents and sit while their siblings are in sports without the need to use their parent’s phones for entertainment.
teach them to sit, to play with simple things, using their imagination.
imagination in the groundwork for all creative thinking in life, don’t squash it by thinking you have to constantly fill their time with activities or screens.
don’t overthink toys.
you don’t need loads of fancy, educational toys in your home to stimulate learning and imagination in your preschool-aged children.
you need to think of your toys as opportunities.
when you think of them this way you can rethink the toys you want in your home.
I keep my toys, basic, building blocks are a go-to, magnetic blocks, train tracks that can be designed into intricate crisis crossing tracks for play, Lego, and anything that can be used for stimulating out of the box thinking when you child is bored.
Your job isn’t to endlessly entertain your preschooler.
while spending time with your little ones is important, it shouldn’t run you ragged.
preschoolers and younger, can learn to spend time on tier own while still being well-behaved and not being babysat by screens.
teaching your preschooler to have time spent every day playing alone, is an important skill for a developing child.
you can create a quiet time period in your home. read this post on quiet time.
you can set timers for play and you can tell your child when you can and cannot play with them.
Encourage play with others.
if you have multiple children this is easier but still needs to be an established part of your lifestyle.
if you don’t have children close enough in age to play together then get together with other mothers who do have children their age, or just take them to the park and watch closely how they interact with other children.
be prepared to teach sharing, waiting turns, letting others go first, and other skills that need to be nurtured in your preschool-aged child so they can be ready to grow and make friends as they get older.
Fill your home with books and read them!
this is something I have made a huge effort with.
you need to encourage reading, looking at pictures in books is such a wonderful way for your preschoolers to pass the time.
by keeping a time limit to tv, and not feeling the need to entertain your children all the time, you are creating time to be bored.
a bored child will pick up a book.
books are so much more fulfilling a past time than almost anything else your child can do, and by having books available as much as possible throughout your home you can encourage the love of reading later in life.
other posts you might like!