As we’ve started to ease out of our beloved preschool homeschool group because the kids are getting too old now, the whole idea of preschool homeschooling has been on my mind. Then a week or so ago, over at Smrt Lernins, there was another blog entry about what makes homeschooling a preschooler any different from just parenting a preschooler.
This year has been dubbed “kindergarten” and as such has been far and away more organized than anything we did during “preschool.” That’s not to say that we didn’t do anything for preschool though. The lads took classes and we did all kinds of projects and took full advantage of life in our great city with all its excellently free stuff. But mostly we just lived life. I think the homeschool element was simply that we were intentional in being together and seeking out learning opportunities, trying to capitalize on teachable moments and appreciate the world.
One of the reasons it was so special for us to find our preschool homeschool group was that by doing so, we found a network of support for going through with homeschooling. Mind you, I’m so stubborn when I make up my mind to do something, that it’s likely we would have proceeded with homeschooling even if we hadn’t met a single other homeschooled kid in the area close to my kids’ age. However, I think that for many parents who were just feeling out the idea of homeschooling, it was essential that they found our group and made connections within the homeschooling community. Practically every single homeschooling family we hang out with now (and homeschooling families comprise a huge percentage of my social life, honestly) we found through our preschool group.
I don’t know why preschool homeschooling isn’t quite welcome in some of the larger homeschooling groups I’ve seen, but I’ve certainly seen a sort of hesitation in dealing with parents of preschool kids by parents of older homeschoolers. I feel like there’s a sense that we’re not “really” homeschooling yet, as if we can’t really be counted as homeschooling until we’ve filed paperwork and endured government bureaucracy. That’s an amusing attitude since the vast majority of homeschoolers would agree that the government doesn’t really have the right to determine how we educate our kids and the government’s stamp of approval is a hassle, not a point of pride. But enduring reviews, testing or paperwork is a shared experience that preschool parents thankfully get to avoid. I think there’s also a fear that parents of preschoolers won’t actually follow through and homeschool for the school years. As if the preschool parents are just passing through so they’d better not get too close.
That’s really too bad though. Preschool homeschoolers are a growing bunch and they need support to find resources and community as much as any other homeschoolers.