Sunday, May 29, 2011


As a homeschooler, I'm hardly the person to ask about preschool.  But, I have opinions anyway.

Generally, I'm not one who thinks preschool is all that important.  Yes, the skills learned are important.  Kids need to learn colors, numbers, letters, how to wait their turn, and basic classroom behavior.  Any involved parent can teach these skills at home and by involving the child in church or some other program.  

However, two of my children did attend a formal pre-school.  Both Keegan & Dawnlynn have developmental delays.  After participating in the Birth-to-Three early intervention program in our area, they each attended our local public school district's special education preschool.  I can state with conviction that early intervention works.

At school they received speech and occupational therapy that I couldn't provide at home. Keegan went for approximate two hours a day, five days a week.  

Dawnlynn went for the same until January of this year.  She'd begun begging to stay home and crying about going to preschool.  In addition, her development is at target, with the exception of a few speech sounds.  Finally, she was showing a great interest in the schooling we were doing at home.  Over Winter Break, Dawnlynn was much happier staying home with us.  Now she goes to preschool one day a week to continue speech therapy.  

As for my other children, Kathleen was a bright child who was always ahead.  She would have been bored in preschool.  She joined a public school strings class with no problems in 5th grade.  Due to her developmental delays, Constance would have benefited from the early special-ed program.  Baby Benjamin isn't old enough to make the preschool decision yet.

For a typical child, I wouldn't worry about preschool as long as Mom is playing with and teaching the kiddo.  We count stairs while we are climbing them, talk about colors in the produce section at the grocery store, and read together.  We also attend church weekly where the children learn what's expected when in a group.  

Socialization is always a question.  But, how much socialization does a three, four, or five year old really need?  If s/he's an only child, there's an argument for getting some extra outside socialization.  But, if there's more than one child of somewhat similar ages in the family, playing with each other and with other neighbor kids some is plenty of socialization for that age.  

Finally, I don't think that preschool is bad.  I don't think that parents who put their kids in pre-school are bad.  There are lots of good reasons that families make the choices they do.  I just don't think that a child who doesn't go to preschool is doomed.  


Anonymous said...

I'm interested in this topic as a homeschooling mother, a citizen and a woman who enjoys learning and educational pursuits of all kinds and ages.
The socialization argument is without foundation. Children are socialized in families. And unless we keep them locked up, they are socialized when they go out of the house. Shopping, errands, libraries,
play mates. I think socialization as far as being external and separate from the family is a bit hooky. And, I could make a case against the negative socialization that occurs at school. Sometimes it can become quite Lord of the flies. There are myriad socialization scenarios I don't care for my children to experience before they are prepared.
I'd like to make a case for the innocence of a childhood as well. We're in such a rush in our country to grow our children up faster and faster. Let them be little children, savor their childhoods... protect that remarkable time that fades all too fast.
With a caring parent near by to help navigate social situations and with teaching and positive interactions with others (ie" in the family, or wherever the family goes together), I believe the child can be ready for the time of life children are truly geared for more social interaction outside of family networks... those teen years. :)
You make good points about children who need therapies or special helps. Parents should be able to use all that society offers for the benefit and blessing of each child individually. Yet another boon of homeschooling! :)
This is half baked, and already too long. Interesting topic though!

Dawnette said...

I read an article recently that said that playdates are more important because families are having fewer children. In the past, playdates weren't important because the kids in the family "socialized" each other. I wish I remembered where I found it.

Being a grownup, I get to choose my friends. They aren't my friends just because they are the same people who go to the same school that I do. I like being able to pick my friends. I don't see why my kids can't enjoy that ability too.

Also, I keep thinking, how many of my high school friends do I really keep in contact with? Sure, I enjoy following them on facebook, but I don't get together with them on holidays. I spend that time with my siblings, parents & children - with my family. The family relationship will last forever. That relationship takes precedence over any other.