Sunday, April 25, 2010

Homeschooling Preschoolers--A Soapbox

I may offend some people with this post. But every year around this time on a certain forum I visit, gain and share much information on there are a lot of questions popping up about people who are wanting to get curriculum for their 2 to 5 year olds.

What to know a secret?

You don't need a curriculum for preschool. You really don't need one for kindergarten. You don't. You really, really don't.

There is no reason to worry about having a set curriculum that teaches numbers, letter and shapes. Because you know what? You are better off just spending time with your child every day and playing with them and talking while you play. They will learn all that is contained in that boxed preschool curriculum and more by just interacting with mom or dad.

You want to know another good activity to do with your preschooler?

Read books. Read silly books, funny books, serious books, stupid books, concept books, books about characters on TV, books where the kids/animals act really naughty, books that are just pretty to look at. Just read to them and enjoy the story. Don't ask them about the story. Just enjoy the cuddle time and the story itself.

Some other things to do with your preschooler are:

painting--bring out the watercolors and paper and just put paint on paper. It doesn't have to look like anything. Mix colors and create. Listen to music while you paint too.

listen to music, sing and dance together--listen to silly songs, folk songs, crazy songs, worship songs, classical music, and have fun.

cook--have your preschooler help you make cookies, bread, soup or anything where they can measure, pour or stir ingredients.

go outside--you can take a walk, lay in the grass, find shapes in the clouds, watch ants, try catching butterflies, ride bikes, run, make daisy chains, let ladybugs crawl all over you, collect leaves, rocks or stick just to have them, just experience the life around you.

water play--get containers of different shapes and sizes, dish soap, an egg beater and play in the sink or bathtub.

sand, rice or corn play--again get containers, shovels, sifters and dig.

When your child is 2, 3, 4 and even 5, this is a great time to explore the world and life with your child. This is a time when you can build bonds with your child that will last a lifetime. Don't push academics at an early age, push play time and discovery time. And make sure to give your little one lots of hugs and kisses because this time is so short. It is gone in the blink of an eye and you can't have that time back.

9 comments:

Wendy said...

Oh, how I loved the preschool years! We played many games. That was basically it. We played games, and my son learned his colors, letters, how to count and more.

Just because we spent time snuggling, reading together, and playing games.

That is all anybody with a child under the age of 5 needs. I totally agree with you. :)

Luke said...

Totally agree... except that if you're looking for books and games, Sonlight has boxed them all up for you [smile].

You certainly don't need a boxed curriculum. You should absolutely just focus on the fun of learning together through stories and play and address concepts as they come up. But if you'd like tools to help you do that--like a giant pile of great books, fun music and a handful of games--then a boxed early curriculum may be perfect for you.

But I totally agree with your post: You don't need a boxed curriculum and you shouldn't push academics in the preschool years. Begin with the joy of learning together!

~Luke

CloseAcademy said...

Sonlight does have great books for preschool. If you don't have a good library or don't know what books you might enjoy the books Sonlight has for preschool are a great place to start and find all sorts of wonderful authors and stories.

My children are beyond preschool now but I have kept several of the books from the preschool program just because they are so good.

jennybell said...

You had me until you said books about TV characters and books where the characters act naughty. Other than that, absolutely agree. The only thing I would add is if the child, and child only, wants to learn to read, a book like Ordinary Parents Guide can be a good reference, although I definitely wouldn't go the lesson route.

And yes, Sonlight has some great book choices if you don't know what to choose.

Amanda, the Head Nut said...

I know what you are talking about. I've seen those types of requests in forums, with people wanting curriculum for their toddlers and preschoolers. Everyone responds in the forum to do exactly what you said...then the requester gets all huffy and says that no one understands and they'll just ask another forum to get the answer.

I think that some people are convinced that they have a child genius, or that if they start extra early then their child will develop into one.

CloseAcademy said...

I did a lot of academic work with my oldest at a young age. To finish Amanda's story--when you do a lot of academics early on the child usually gets burned out and starts to hate school work.

So many people I talk to wish they would have started formal work later rather than earlier.

Amanda, the Head Nut said...

Christy, I was referring to people who think their child is a genius because they made a poo poo in the potty all by themselves at age 2, so they are obviously superior to all the forums' children. I wasn't referring to people who try to introduce concepts and see if their children will enjoy the work at an early age.

I tried some academics at an early age. Sometimes it works, but I know mine do better by learning through play. I've got a pile of unused workbooks to prove it! :) Even though my kids are bright, they never fail to let me know that they aren't ready (MELTDOWN!!!).

Cindie said...

Christy,

Thank you for posting this. It is so true! We have enjoyed Sonlight's P3/4 books for cuddle time, but you don't need anything other than a library card, outside time and maybe some cups for water/sand play. I pushed my oldest when she was 4 because she could. I backed off last year when we did Oak Meadow's K and I am so grateful to just watch her bloom.

This is great advice. I posted a link from my blog to here.

Thanks again!
~Cindie

CloseAcademy said...

It makes me happy to know that others are learning from my mistakes.

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