Nov 2, 2011

Why Homeschool Preschool?

My little guy is three and I think he's ready for preschool.* But I don't send him off to a school; I keep him right at home - and I'm loving every minute of it! I don't enjoy everything about being a mom, but one thing that's been a real blessing for me with both children is homeschool preschool.

It's just plain fun to see my kids grow excited about learning - and I love that they can do it without feeling like only a teacher can teach them, or that they must be separated from me and our home in order to learn. So several days a week, I put my little boy on my lap, and he experiences the safety and love of home while I gain the joy of watching a world of wonder open up before his eyes. 
LinkFor those who are concerned homeschool preschool may hurt children, I urge you to research the facts. For example, the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development conducted a study that concluded the more time children spent outside of their mother's care before they turn 4.5 years old, the more behavioral problems they had. Stanford University found similar results, concluding, "We find that attendance in preschool centers, even for short periods of time each week, hinders the rate at which young children develop social skills and display the motivation to engage classroom tasks, as reported by their kindergarten teachers." The C.D. Howe Institute discovered that children who attended preschool away from home were more likely to be anxious and hyperactive - and that they had worse social skills than children who didn't attend preschool. I could go on and on, but I leave it to you to do your own homework and pray on the matter.

(UPDATE 7/20/14: A new study also finds that it's not best to rush children into schooling.)

And the fact is any mom can do homeschool preschool. In fact, most moms are already homeschooling their children without even thinking about it: They point to different objects and tell the child their color, they teach their child about shapes, and they begin the process of teaching their child to recognize letters and of counting. So why not take it a few steps further?
So as the weeks progress, I'm going to share some of my favorite homeschool preschool ideas. All the activities are simple for mothers, and most are either free or very inexpensive to put together. I won't include things like reading to our kids; play dough, paint, and crayon creations; teaching shapes and colors; or teaching letters and counting. These are all essential things, but are also simple enough pretty much every mom does them already. Instead, I'll focus on ideas you may not have considered, or elaborate on things you might have already heard about.
Do you homeschool preschool? Will you share some of your favorite homeschool preschool tips?

* Not all children are ready for preschool at 3; if he resists preschool learning, or doesn't seem to have the physical or cognitive ability yet, wait a few months and try again. There's no rush!

More Articles in the Homeschool Preschool Series:

Thoughts on Readiness 
How Much Time? 
Scissor Skills
Colors & Shapes
The Balance Beam Game


  1. I never knew those stats, but I have done homeschool preschool with my children from the time they were three, we do arts and crafts, field trips, and just fun things every day!

  2. I am taking a very casual approach to preschool for my 3 year old son (my oldest). He would rather play or color than have structured learning so I am attempting to incorporate "games" that teach and he is responding well. I'm excited about any tips you have to share!

  3. Shari, that's exactly how I'm doing it, too. In fact, I think it's vital to follow your child in this area. At this tender age, we certainly don't want them to associate learning with something negative.

    Mindi, that's great!

  4. I actually homeschool my 8 and 7 year olds, so naturally I homeschool preschool. :) It is fun. My 4 year old is loving learning how to write her letters by finger painting them or gluing scrap paper to the letter that I've drawn for her. I find it best to just think like a kid! I am always open for new ideas and tips, so I'm looking forward to your posts. With my older two.... curriculum, curriculum, curriculum. LOL I'm just too nervous to tackle getting them through school with no guidance. But I love that I can pick and choose what curriculum works for them, so we use a mixture.

  5. I think my oldest might have done better had we homeschooled preschool, although he really lovedschool. My second child I don't think fits the studies, but also each child/person is different anyway.

  6. Did you read my mind or what?!

    Seriously, I was thinking of asking you about this topic. I know I'm teaching my little girl already--she can count sometimes (when she wants to or is highly motivated), knows bunches of words, knows most of her colors and shapes, etc., etc., but I feel like there's more I can be doing.

    Of course, I caught her saying a 10+ word sentence the other day... kind of blew my mind! I want to teach her to read before kindergarten, and I know I need to start soon, and get into the swing of things since my little guy is apt to have learning difficulties (it's one of the common things with the genetic condition he has.) :/ Which is all the more reason to work with him early--maybe we can circumvent any future learning problems with a head-start.

    Looking forward to the future posts!!!

  7. Great, Liberty! I would just caution you a little about the reading. By all means, attempt to teach her before K, but as I have learned the hard way, the time when reading "clicks" for kids varies a GREAT deal. A few click at 4, but most are older. My own daughter has known her phonics since before she could talk. Then she learned the sounds two or more letters make. But only just now, at 6, has reading *really* clicked for her.

  8. Hi Kristina, this is such an important topic and I am so glad you posted about it. Children need their parents... the longer children stay around their parents more secure and confident they are. At their own pace they begin doing things on their own. It's so sad that at 4 weeks old babies are put in day cares to be cared for ALL DAY LONG by complete strangers. I know sometimes the MOM and DAD work BUT I have seen situations where although one parent stays home they put the child in day care because that is just what everybody does. :(

    As for homeschooling your preschooler... I believe we should just do life and forget the classroom concept. School can be very restraining. There are so many ways that children learn their shapes, colors, numbers and letters without ever having to recite them or do worksheets or silly songs (nothing wrong with none of these).

    I homeschool all my children and until they ask to learn to read or ask me to "do school" I don't begin any school work. My children usually begin phonics at 5.5-6 years old and in 6 months they are reading. My son who is 6.5 y.o. began his Kindergarden phonics program last December and he is finishing 2nd grade phonics. He is an independent reader and can read books like Jake Maddox and Hank the Cowdog. He is also starting 2nd grade Singapore math.

    For his preschool, we did lots of play time outside, lots of good and healthy food, we read tons of books and anything else they could want. He learned his numbers, colors and everything else without us realizing he was doing it.

    I know 3 languages fluently and I would like to suggest that learning anything is like learning a language. The more you immerse yourself in it and everything that has to do with it the easier it is. It becomes second nature to you. Think how you learned how to speak when you were a toddler. You heard English all day long, people interacted with you. You went from being a listener to understanding but not being able to respond... after a few more months you began saying words... with everything else I believe that is how it works too.

    Parents need to RELAX and enjoy their kids instead of worrying so much about what they are learning and how fast and who is keeping up with whom. :)

    BTW, my 20 mo. old baby can hold a pencil, crayon and pen and scribble and color. She saw the others doing it and wanted to do the same. My other daughter when she was barely 3 y.o. could use scissors like a pro. Children want to naturally learn... we need to let them be free to do so.

    My $0.02. :)