Want to know more about creating a homeschool preschool experience? This article has information on homeschool preschool, the pros and cons of homeschool preschool, and tips on do-it-yourself preschool in your home.
The Lowdown on Homeschool Preschool
The truth is, we don’t know how many people run a homechool preschool. This is for a couple of reasons. First, preschool is not mandatory, so statistics aren’t kept. If you go to the U.S. Department of Education, Institute of Education Sciences, National Center for Education Statistics website, you can find an analysis of Homeschool in the United States in 2003 and find out what percentage of households homeschooled in the Midwest, what percentage of households with a household income of $50,001-75,000 homeschooled, and what percentage of children in grades 4-5 were homeschooled. But you can’t find out any statistics for preschool homeschooling.
The fact is that many preschoolers are at home, many are in daycare, and some are in a preschool. But even knowing how many are at home wouldn’t give us conclusive data, because with no preschool requirement, they might not be in any kind of planned program.
Benefits and Drawbacks of Homeschool Preschool
There are a number of benefits to a homeschool preschool experience. Importantly, homeschool preschool can help children be well-prepared for kindergarten. It can introduce them to academic areas, such as reading, writing, and math; prepare them for the social give and take of the classroom; prepare them to use the tools and supplies found in typical kindergartens, such as scissors, rulers, chalk, crayons, and glue; and prepare them for the scheduled time that the classroom usually is organized around.
A homeschool preschool may ease the transition for the child from home to a public or private school, if that’s the route he or she will take. For example, all of the elements of classroom experience mentioned in the paragraph above, can be met for the first time in the comfort of home. For some children, this may be extremely beneficial. Besides that, the flexibility of homeschool preschool means that parents do not have to worry about transportation and adapting the rest of the household to a preschool schedule. Depending on other household demands, getting a preschooler up and out to an outside education location may not be practical.
Parents may prefer a homeschool preschool to a daycare situation because daycare often doesn’t have a learning and school orientation, but is more of a social setting in which children can interact with others in a supervised, age-appropriate environment.
Drawbacks of homeschool preschool can be viewed both in contrast to an outside the home preschool and a home experience that does not attempt a preschool atmosphere or curriculum. In the first case, trained educators may be better equipped to handle certain preschool situations, such as the transition to a learning environment of a child with special needs. Whereas the family situation may require the parent in charge of the schooling to multitask, attending to and taking care of younger brothers and sisters, the educators in a preschool can focus completely on the preschool child and his or her needs. Some parents may also prefer to let preschool children be literally pre-school. They may feel that the time for creative and free exploration of the world in the family environment is precious and not worth trading for a preschool experience that has become just another level of school.
Ideas for Homeschool Preschool
If you’d like to create a homeschool preschool, for just one child of your own, for multiple children in your family, or in a group of several families, one good place to start is your local elementary school(s). By talking to the principal where your child will attend school, you can ascertain what the expectations for and content of kindergarten will be, and plan your preschool content and activities accordingly.
Another good place to check is your local library. Story hours, short films and activities are common offerings that are very like classroom experiences and ease children into the wider social gathering found in school. Local park and recreation departments may also be a boon in finding age-appropriate activities that can enhance your homeschool preschool experience.
Looking at the learning possible in your standard family activities is a good way to meld your homeschool preschool with your life. Math is a natural for shopping expeditions and cooking. Children can learn and practice skills having to do with money, measuring, counting, and finding patterns in these situations. Card and board games offer more opportunities for math skills to be practiced. Anything that the child likes to collect - leaves, rocks, ants, toy cars, dolls - can be sorted by color, arranged by size, etc.
Language lessons can be learned in those situations, in bringing signage to children’s attention, and in tieing storytime to literacy learning. Can you have, for example, a “C” day, in which you eat foods starting with C and give points for every C found in the child’s environment?
Just keep thinking, and you’ll come up with loads of fun things to do in your homeschool preschool.