Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Should I Homeschool Preschool? Part 3: Academics

My son just turned 3, so my husband and I have recently been deciding whether to send our son to preschool or do preschool at home.  In Part 1 and Part 2, I talked about the top two reasons why other moms seem to be sending their kids to preschool:  socialization and time alone for mom.
By now, you might be asking the same question that I am, "What about academics??"  After all, this is the 3rd post in this series, and I haven't once used the words "curriculum" or "literacy". When I first started considering sending my son to preschool, I thought that academics would be the most important thing to consider.  After all, it is pre-school.  I guess I was worried that if he doesn't have the same math and writing curriculum as his peers, he might be behind forever.  But, when I started asking my friends why they send their kids to preschool, it was "socialization and time alone" over and over.  I was really surprised, almost no one mentioned anything that had to do with actual schooling or academic learning.  So I started looking up websites from local preschools, trying to get info on their curriculum.  It seems that kids at preschool are learning literacy, writing skills, critical thinking, math, science, and fine- and gross-motor skills development.  What?!  I thought, it's just as I feared, my son will be behind forever, we don't do any of that! 

But, then I asked some friends what their kids actually do at preschool, as well as thinking more critically about our time at home.  The truth I learned is that kids learn by playing and through hands-on activities, and I am already teaching my boys everyday:
literacy = reading together
writing/fine motor skills = drawing, playdough
critical thinking = pretending, puzzles
math and science = nature walks, cooking together
gross motor skills = playground, running/jumping

I've also had several people ask me if I plan on doing a lot more "preschool activities" if I homeschool.  I'm assuming this means workbooks and formal lessons.  For now, the answer is no.  I see no reason to give worksheets and schoolwork to a three-year-old.  He learns by playing, by doing, and by watching and helping me.  There's no rush for schoolwork.  He has years ahead full of academics and studying, but only a short time to be a little kid :)
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Image courtesy of chokphoto at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

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