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#1 of 10 Old 09-17-2010, 04:53 PM - Thread Starter
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Hi Everybody,
I am new to the idea of homeschooling. My daughter is going to be 3 in October and I was thinking about starting to "lightly" homeschool her. I have a few questions that cover a large area. I mostly would like to start homeschooling because it would give us something to do during our long winters.
1.) How do you respond to people who say preschool- in the traditional setting- is great because of the socialization.
2.) How did preschool come about and why is it so important? How does it affect the bonding period at this age? I always thought it was something that working parents did. But now almost all the SAHM I know place their children in it.
3.) What are some good workbooks?
4.) Any other ideas or advice would be great!!!
Thank your all for any input. I have been finding it very hard to talk to people about this. I have a high energy child who is so much fun to be around but doesn't do very well in an indoor setting or being task oriented for a long period of time- nor do I find it necessary at this age. I am shocked how many people have argued that it would be good for her and me! The typical statement is that she would be getting socialization and I would get a break to spend with my 1 year old. I am getting frustrated and my feelings are hurt. I can't imagine how people would respond if I decide to homeschool her in K or beyond!

Lovin my Hubby , Serena (10/07)::, and Cedar( 07/09)
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#2 of 10 Old 09-17-2010, 05:29 PM
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1) "This is what works best for us." I feel that my ds benefits more from socializing with people of all ages not just his own.

2) Preschool began as a place to put children while their parents worked. It was called Nursery School until the 80s. Remember kindergarten was supposed to be the time when you learned how to be in school it wasn't for academics. For my son it wasn't until he was 3.5 that he had any real want to be with other children. Even now at 4+ two or three times a week is enough for him.

We prescribe to a lot of the Attachment Parenting practices and I can see just how confident in all situations and I think a lot of that comes from the safety he feels knowing that we are always here for him.

The current trend is to believe that the earlier children start academics the stronger they will be at them. However, many studies show that playing is very very important at this age, in a rich environment. This article is great.

3. I wouldn't jump strait into workbooks if I were you. There are so many different ones, you can find loads of printables on-line see what fits with your daughter. If you find yourself wanting to focus on "lessons" you can find plenty of related lessons on line for favorite picture books. If you do want some stand alone books the Kumon series are accessible.

4. Here is my advice, as someone who is only one year ahead of you on the adventure. This is the time to be educating yourself, read books on homeschooling, on learning styles, on various educational theories. See what fits for you. I know it is really exciting to start homeschooling but take advantage of this time to take the long view of where you are going. Get lost in the homeschool blogs (umm this is a seriously dangerous suggestion) daydream your future. Listen in to conversations here, the preschool chat might be helpful.

Don't forget to watch your DD and see what interests her, follow them, show her that there is learning and joy to be had everywhere. Also let her see you learning something for the sheer pleasure of it, you want your home to be a learning environment.

What I noticed from 3-4 was how much DS changed, not physically but mentally. Revel in watching these changes and exploring the world with her as she changes.

Oh and read lots to her, read stories, science-y things on anything she's interested, tell her your own versions of tale, tell her about when you were her age, ask her to tell you stories about real and imagined things.

Sing songs with her, don't limit yourself to children's songs. Don't worry about your voice it's the stories and melodies together that engage children. It's the fact that it's Mama's voice that is so wonderful.

Get outside, get dirty, visit with trees, coffee shops, museums, galleries, farms, gas stations, libraries. Give her a sense of the world she lives in, this will be her vocabulary for life as you go further into learning.

And finally at the end of the day take out a notebook and write what you are thinking down.

This is what I think is the best use of time (although I didn't get to all of it).

Mama, writer, partner, wanderer. Living life with my ds (7/06), married to my best friend and nemesis .
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#3 of 10 Old 09-17-2010, 05:38 PM
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Well, preschool is usually 2-3 days a week for 2-3 hours a day, so it's not exactly compatible with working... for that you need a full time daycare I don't know when it became the norm. I'm not sure I know anyone my age who didn't go to preschool. I'm 31, FWIW. The idea of early childhood education came about in the mid 19th century in Germany, with the invention of the "kindergarten" which was originally for children aged 3-6. It was quickly imported to the US, and initially definitively had regional areas of popularity. Wisconsin, MA, and NY were the real hotbeds: all had lots of German immigrants. By the early 20th century, the kindergarten had morphed in most schools to being a 1 year program before 1st grade, and I don't know how normal it was for there to be other classroom experiences for 3-4 year olds. I doubt they completely fell by the wayside, and there are plenty of preschools out there that boast of being around for 100 years or something like that. But I think popularity probably waned in more austere times and came back with the Baby Boom. I know that my father went to preschool, and my mother doesn't know if she did. Her parents were fairly poor, so I doubt it. So that's my understanding of the history of preschool, since you asked.

I don't think that you owe anyone an explanation about why you're choosing to forgo preschool. I would just say that you've decided that she won't be going this year and leave it at that. It's really none of their business, and I doubt you're going to convince anyone who has already decided on preschool.

For workbooks, I like the Kumon ones. Other preschool "academic" books I've liked are Peak With Books, Science is Simple, Count on Math, and The Survival Guide for the Preschool Teacher. The last three are all designed for preschool classrooms, but have lots of great ideas that can be used at home.

Trying to live a simple life in a messy house in a complicated world with : DH, DD (b. 07/07), DS (b. 02/09), and DD (b. 10/10)
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#4 of 10 Old 09-17-2010, 07:11 PM
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I must confess this is something I have been struggling with as well. My oldest just turned 4, and around here that means he can be enrolled in a free public school preschool program, complete with free busing. Over the last year I have changed from "Of COURSE he's going" to "Uh, I think we'd rather not."

1.) So instead of preschool, my idea was to enroll him in a once-a-week Something, without mom and without his little sister. And he loves it. He's been going to story time once a week on his own for the last year - we live in a small town, so this means between 0 to 2 other kids and a grandmotherly lady who reads to him. He's also doing soccer (once a week. no games - just a bunch of kids running aimlessly on a field.). He loves these activities, and loves to tell us all about his amazing feats of bravery. I also just checked out The Well-Adjusted Child by Rachel Gathercole from the library, and have found it very useful on the idea of socialization and homeschooled children.

2.) My parents are public educators, and in their inner-city districts preschool came about because of the large number of children who were woefully unprepared for school - i.e., their parents didn't read to them, many didn't have regular meals, etc. etc. etc.. And until last year I worked full time, and for the professional set preschool is a way to make you feel like your kid is learning something, and not just in day care. Then these things take on a life of their own, you know?

In our local district they say the kids who went to preschool are far better prepared to the actual getting-used-to-the-school stuff - lunch, standing in line, etc. - than the kids who were at home. If this is important to you, it's something I'm sure you can have your kids practice/expose them to before they get into school.

I also hear the traditionally preschooled kindergartners are much better at knowing lower case letters than the "homeschooled" ones, who generally know only their capital letters. Again, in case this is important!

3.) I agree with Stacey B regarding the workbooks - if your kid loves them, great. But why invest a lot in something that they may not be ready for? My latest favorite site is I have discovered my kid loves dot-to-dot after printing off a couple of these pages, and so I bought a giant dot-to-dot book that he does before dinner or after story time. He also loves sequencing stories, which I wouldn't have thought of doing without looking at that site, so now we've integrated that into our week.

I have a friend that swears by the Kumon books, but I haven't tried them yet myself. She's scanning in all of the pages so that she can reuse the ones her daughter likes best.

4.) And I again second Stacey B, though I am a year behind her. I'm using this year as a fake homeschool. This means I'm trying to have a schedule we stick to (it's loose! and includes laundry!), and I'm reading everything I can about homeschooling. I looked on the MDC forums and found Waldorf, Charlotte Mason and Classical Curriculum resonated with me the most, and so I'm taking time to read about all of these points of view.

So far we have incorporated Waldorf-y stuff into our day/week/month. We have a daily schedule (the time we do things don't matter, but the order does), and in general I'm trying to cut out my bad habits (like computer time during the day) and start better habits (spending an hour a weekend planning for the upcoming week - food, what art stuff we'll do, and what I need to make it happen). In the 3 weeks we've been doing this, I find that if I know what's coming next, everything goes much more smoothly.

I also second writing down what works and what doesn't. And if you get bored or she gets bored (for me, this means my 4 year old starts wreaking havoc on the Whole House), add something else. Music. Finger plays. More walks. More park time.

Oh and the blogs! I find this can lead to a spiral of time sucking. I have limited it now to 3 or 4 that I really like and which I check with frequency - I've found so many people usually link to other blogs that I still find plenty of new inspiration even in only looking at those few.

Anyway, good luck!
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#5 of 10 Old 09-17-2010, 07:52 PM
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I am in a similar boat - currently unschooling my 4.5 year old

1. I read "Hold on to Your Kids" and this is what I got from it - Kids that are preschool age need attachment. It has been documented that if the parent is not there to provide it, they look to the adult caregiver. If that caregiver is looking after 'x' other kids, your child will attach to some kid to help soothe their sense of vulnerability and aloneness. Once they have that attachment, the parents start to lose influence in the kids emotional growth, and that kid starts to take their social education from their immature 4 year old friend. They do not grow well socially by attaching to others in their own age group, all the way up through their teenage years. For the sake of socialization all a child really needs is the parents, extended family, one's collective friends and neighbors in the area, the clerk at the grocery store.... It takes a village, not a co-op.

2. i'm not sure about preschool specifically, but I came across this article on the history of homeschooling and found it very interesting:

3. my son has enjoyed doing some of the Kumon books - especially the mazes

4. i highly recommend joining up with a local homeschooling group - yahoo groups is a good place to start.

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#6 of 10 Old 09-17-2010, 10:23 PM
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I second Stacey B! lots of play play play...reading, following their interests..i have a 3.5 yr old and 1.5 yr old, and am in the process too...of learning and reading about the various possible ways to learn with and teach my children. I have learned a lot from this forum about the different kinds of homeschooling, and also the curriculum review part too... enjoy the journey, I dont have a whole lot to add other than you will find what fits for you!
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#7 of 10 Old 09-20-2010, 11:47 PM
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Hi Everybody,
I am new to the idea of homeschooling. My daughter is going to be 3 in October and I was thinking about starting to "lightly" homeschool her. I have a few questions that cover a large area. I mostly would like to start homeschooling because it would give us something to do during our long winters.
1.) How do you respond to people who say preschool- in the traditional setting- is great because of the socialization.

I am new to the idea as well, at least in terms of actually doing it because our daughter turned 3 in May. We have thought a lot about homeschooling for the last couple years, leaning more and more towards it. We are starting this year in a 'formal' way to figure things out a bit before they 'really matter'. Instead of beginning when we have to teach her to read, we are teaching her art, games, and a general awareness of the world. That way, we both learn together and at the same rate, you know? Also, it's really just a way to provide a 3 year old with something to do, and a way for mom and dad to have some quality, fun times with their little one.

We have a lot of personal convictions on the subject, but as far as other people need to know: We are homeschooling preschool this year, as we 'missed' the date for early enrollment, we don't have the finances for a school we would possibly choose, it doesn't work with our schedule, and, after all, she is only 3. We will be taking the rest of this year to research the subject further to try and present our perspective in a tactful way.

As long as our families see that she is conversing well, learning generally on par with her age group, and pleasant I don't think we'll have issues. So far so good; they think she is kind, bright, and happy; they have seen her play well with other kids, they know she speaks well, etc. I have seen much more, so I am quite pleased with her abilities and can tell all kinds of stories. I suppose for some people the line will have to be drawn with a simple, "This is what we're doing, and that's that."

3.) What are some good workbooks?

The stores around here carry a lot of School Zone stuff, and they some nice workbooks. They also have an alphabet go fish card set that I really like. The game I play with her is here:

Another site is
I also like the

I'm not really doing workbooks with her just yet. I read "Growing a Reader from Birth: Your Child's Path from Language to Literacy", and that totally reassured me. The most important thing is for her to learn conversation and vocabulary right now, and then it will be easier later on to put what she speaks and hears into letters and words.

4.) Any other ideas or advice would be great!!!

I haven't read all the posts yet, but I really love Stacey B's. Search the internet, the library, your local area. Read books, do crafts.

Find guidelines for the general things 3-4 years 'should' know and be able to do, and teach towards them. Then you can say to people that you are aware of what her peers know and what a preschool would otherwise be teaching her, and that she can do x,y,z, and will be learning a,b,c 'in a few months'. The more you know on the subject, the harder it will be for someone to disagree with you.
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#8 of 10 Old 09-21-2010, 05:00 AM
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1.) How do you respond to people who say preschool- in the traditional setting- is great because of the socialization.
at 3 'socialization' is mostly about sharing and making sure they don't hurt each other. it is still parallel play.

2.) How did preschool come about and why is it so important? How does it affect the bonding period at this age? K was created to prep kids for school... the pre-k was created to prep kids for k ehich is for preping them for school..... silly-ness in my book. it's fancy daycare.

3.) What are some good workbooks? some kids love workbooks but many don't. i suggest they have two free sample weeks on their page. it gives you a theme, suggested books to read, songs fingerplays, and an activity everyday. Seasons of joy is less structure but a wonderful resource as well.Best home preschool programs out there IMHO.

transtichel.gifAk Hippie mama  ribbonpb.gifYamia  DSD '03 blahblah.gif  DS '07 ribboncesarean.gif  DS2 '09  hbac.gif & DS3  uc.jpg '12



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#9 of 10 Old 09-21-2010, 09:17 AM
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1.) How do you respond to people who say preschool- in the traditional setting- is great because of the socialization.

short awnserr -- our son has SN and could not cope in a classroom setting which is fine as we do not believe in pre-school or group instruction for your children.

long answer -- I have a whole long spiel about our faith, the PROBLEMS of allowing a peer group to be the main influences of a child's life before they are of the age of accountability and can be trusted to make their own choices, i discuss our philosophy that children as a rule are too rush today, and that asking a child to be in school before 8 or 9 is developmentally silly and incorrect, i talk about morals, values and standards that lwe feel are not being met in the schools, nor in ;'out of momma's reach" care.

2.) How did preschool come about and why is it so important? How does it affect the bonding period at this age? I always thought it was something that working parents did. But now almost all the SAHM I know place their children in it.

3.) What are some good workbooks?
Some are good, it depends on the child's and your's preferences -- but there is soooooooooo much to print out for free on-line.

4.) Any other ideas or advice would be great!!!

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Aimee + Scott = Theodore Roosevelt (11/05) and 23 months later Charles Abraham (10/07)....praying for a little sister; the search starts May 2014
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#10 of 10 Old 09-21-2010, 08:17 PM
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First I'm going to second the recommendation of "Hold on to Your Kids". Amazing book that all parents should read.

Then, I'm going to suggest "Einstein Never Used Flashcards: Why Kids Need to Play more and Memorize Less." That's for your question #3. In other words, I agree with the suggestions to not worry about workbooks yet. "Education" is about SOOOOO much more than written work. Read up on Montessori and Waldorf, especially, to get some idea on what is more truly important at this age (eg, creative play, stories and myths, practical I-can-do-it-by-myself skills).

And yes, if they love the workbooks then of course use them. After a disaster trying to do rigid school-at-home with my older son, I learned soooo much and when my daughter came along I was all set to be free and breezy and unschooly with her... and she ends up demanding workbooks at age 3. Go figure! The message isn't "workbooks are evil" -- the message is "school does not HAVE to just mean workbooks".

Heather, mom to Caileigh 12/06 and aspie ADHD prodigy David 05/98 :intact lact
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