The preschool years provide the perfect opportunity for parents to try their hand at homeschooling. It may not be for everyone, but short-term preschool home education is definitely feasible and often highly beneficial.
Plenty of parents just assume their children will go off to preschool at a certain age. In many circles, doing so is just expected, but is this expectation unnecessary? Many parents say yes! “Because of differences in personality, some of my children have done better spending their preschool years at home than they would have outside the home,” says Tina Bushman, mother of five and co-author (with her husband John) of Table Talk. “I do think that all children need some preschool experience before entering elementary school, but I believe most parents are capable of providing that experience.”
Homeschooling can definitely be intimidating, but parents are equipped to embrace the challenge. After all, you know your child best. “Preschool sets the stage for the elementary years and is meant to get a child ready for more formal education,” says Bushman. “It's most important for them to learn to sit still and listen when they should. They should learn to get used to a short school-day routine and know what their part in that routine is. The child needs to learn to get along with the other children, learn to share, cooperate and take turns.” Whether you band together with other like-minded moms or go it alone, teaching your child to write his name, learn the alphabet, colors, shapes and numbers just may be the highlight of your parenting experience.
Until you jump into homeschooling, you may not be aware of the immense amount of homeschooling resources available to parents. Truly, the options can be overwhelming. Parents with a clear understanding of what they hope to get out of preschool and the discipline to follow a schedule may not need an official curriculum at all, but those who need a bit of guidance can certainly find it... and then some. There are countless blogs dedicated to free preschool material as well as quite comprehensive online resources. Boxed curricula are also widely available and ideal for a neighborhood co-op.
Of course, there are two sides to every coin, and many people feel that a brick and mortar preschool is the only way to go. “There are two primary goals for preschool that can only be experienced outside of the home and in a group setting,” says Dr. Fran Walfish, Psy.D., a Beverly Hills-based child, couple and family psychotherapist. “The objectives are separation and socialization. Preschool facilitates gentle and healthy separation from mommy and daddy while teaching children reciprocity, delayed gratification, frustration tolerance, coping skills to deal with disappointments — you can't always be first — and social skills to initiate playing and friendships.”
It seems arguments for both decisions have valid points so it’s really a personal choice that must be carefully examined and thoughtfully considered.
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