Are you thinking about homeschooling your child? The preschool years are a great place to start! Before you start researching preschool curriculum or searching out preschool co-ops stop and ask yourself these two questions:
1. What is my philosophy on early education?
2. Where is my child developmentally?
If you are anything like the many moms I have talked to over the years, then you probably have mixed emotions about keeping your preschooler at home with you. You might have already spent hours researching preschool curriculum, looking for co-ops, googling “what a preschooler needs to know”, and panicking at the thought that you might forget to teach your child something. Throw in the opinions of your closest friends and the concerns of your family and you might just give up on the entire idea of homeschooling during the preschool years.
That’s why it is important to know what you believe about early education and to understand where your child is developmentally. With the answers to these two questions, you can homeschool in the preschool years with confidence! So let’s take a look at each of these questions.
What is my philosophy on early education?
There are two differing views on early education. One philosophy urges parents to start formal learning as early as possible believing that early exposure to academics gives the child a head start in a competitive world. The other view takes a “better late than early” stance encouraging parents to let their child spend the first 5 to 8 years of their life exploring the world around them pointing to research that suggests that formal education in the preschool years has no long-term academic effects.
Do you think early education is beneficial or do you lean more towards letting your child learn through play? Do your research and decide which philosophy of education matches up with what you think is best for your child. The preschool curriculum you choose (or don’t choose) and the activities you have your child participate in should be based on your philosophy of education.
Of course, if you find that your educational philosophy isn’t working for your child don’t be afraid to change! Just be confident in whatever decision you make for your child and don’t feel guilty if your chose doesn’t line up with what your friends are doing.
Where is my child developmentally?
It’s important to consider where your child is developmentally before you begin instruction in any new skill or concept. This will help minimize frustration for you and your child. What is your child’s attention span like? Has his fine motor skills developed enough to hold a pencil? Is he emotionally capable of remaining calm when he makes a mistake?
While you don’t want to hold an eager child back from learning you also don’t want to pressure a child to develop a skill or learn a new concept that he isn’t developmentally ready to acquire. If your preschooler is getting frustrated when you try to introduce something new, that might be a good sign that he is not ready for this new information.
Here is a helpful article that outlines the stages of development for children two to four years old and offers some wisdom on how to guide your child through these stages of development.
Once you have determined your view on early education and know where your child is developmentally, you can begin to form a plan for the preschool years!
Want more help with preschool? Check out these posts.
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