Most of my public-school friends send their kids to preschool without second thought. At least in my area, it’s thought of as a necessary step of education. For sure, all the kids go to four-year-old preschool, and most three-year-olds do as well. We actually sent C to a church preschool last year for three months and then pulled her out. Yes, we were preschool drop-outs.
Most homeschool families I know, roll their eyes when you talk about preschool. Actually, they are probably nicer than that. Without a doubt, most of the vendors I’ve talked to a homeschool conventions roll their eyes when I ask them about preschool.
Here’s the thing I’ve come to realize… preschool is not necessary. I truly believe that an “outside” (at a church or school) preschool is just fine for your child to do, but it is not really for them, it’s for the mom! I don’t think that’s good or bad, it just is what it is. Kids at three and four mainly learn by playing. Their brain will keep growing, and they will keep discovering things, just by growing older and having lots of time to play and explore. They can do this anywhere… at preschool or at home! I think the benefit of “going” to preschool is that mom either gets a chance to have a break, focus on school with older kids, or spend some bonding time with a younger sibling. It isn’t for your kid, it’s for the mom!
As for homeschooling, the more blogs I read, the more I made an observation. The moms that said “don’t worry about homeschooling preschool… just let them play while they are little!” Well, those moms are already home, maintaining a daily school routine and schedule with their older kids, and it’s easy for the young one to play or do age-appropriate activities side-by-side with the rest of the family.
But, C is my oldest. For the first child, it’s hard (to me anyway) to get into a homeschooling routine. Doing formal “school time” with her has really been much more about me than her! (So again, it’s about the mom, not the kid.) I didn’t have a routine before. The kids had a lot of free play time, and if they drove me a bit too crazy, we’d go out and do errands or shopping or something. C had lots of workbooks and other fun things I got to do during the preschool years, but I often found myself not pulling them out because we’d go shopping instead. I needed to get us into a habit of being home, and doing constructive things. I try to still offer lots of independent, free-play time, but it’s within a structure and routine.
Also, C LOVES “schoolwork”. She loves any sort of worksheets. She adores crafts and special things I’ve planned like that. She really wants to learn her letters and numbers. So, I felt I may as well take advantage of her interest!
While it isn’t necessary, it has been good for ME, C is having fun, E is having fun, and I think it’s been a good decision for us!