|photo by mmolinari|
I just want to discuss a few more things in answer to more questions I received. I am really excited that so many of you are considering preschooling your kids at home.
You might be wondering what the big deal is, and why preschool is so important. As I mentioned in this article, the main reason for preschool is to prepare your child for Kindergarten. Children who are preschooled have "better pre-reading skills, richer vocabularies, and stronger basic math skills," according to W. Steven Barnett, PhD, director of the National Institute for Early Education Research.
If you are planning to enroll your child in a public/private school for Kindergarten, or a dual immersion program, then preschool also helps children develop their social skills. This can be harder to do with homeschooled children, unless you are teaching more than one child, or your child is involved in additional classes or activities outside the home. If you are planning to send your preschooler to a classroom setting for Kindergarten, then work on things like raising your hand to ask or answer a question, taking turns, and talking in front of others (show-and-tell).
Perhaps if you know other moms in the area, you can create a weekly or bi-weekly get together where the kids work on a craft or other activity together to learn some of the "social graces." This will also help them begin to learn to share the teacher's attention, wait patiently, and not interrupting when others are speaking.
Sometimes homeschooled kids can be very self-centered (sorry!), so it is important for parents to carefully navigate their role as educator so that they are there to help their children when they need it, but also encourage them towards self-sufficiency and to think of others.
Preschool also provides the child with structure. Up to this point, many children may not adhere to a specific schedule - with the possible exception of a sleep routine. When you become a parent for the first time, all the experts are shouting "Get them on a schedule!!" Easier said than done, no?
Preschool is your opportunity to finally establish a set routine with your child, if you haven't already. Lots of homeschool experts will tell you that children learn better when they are on a schedule. There are no surprises (or very few) and a child knows what to expect, what is expected of him or her, and in turn develops a greater sense of security.
This is also a great time for your child to begin to learn responsibility. I like to emphasize that now they are crossing the line and becoming a "big" kid. Big kids get jobs. They have to put away toys, get dressed, brush their teeth, comb/brush their hair. Sometimes they can help set the table, and maybe help prepare snacks or meals. They can feed a pet, water plants, or wash some windows.
This is such a fabulous time for all of you. As parents, we have the bittersweet experience of planting the seeds of responsibility and self-reliance. Our children have the wonderful opportunity to nurture their sense of curiosity and explore their world.
Con mucho cariño...