Homeschooling Preschoolers

Mushroom and BalletBoy field tripping to a farm back when we were preschool homeschoolers.

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.

3 thoughts on “Homeschooling Preschoolers

  1. I think part of the reason it’s not well-received is that there’s no legal paperwork requirement, no standards you have to meet, no reporting, etc. You don’t have to register your child as being homeschooled.

    There’s also the tendency for some parents to start referring to their children as being homeschooled at <2. A child of that age wouldn't really be in "preschool," though, if they were out of the home for school — it would just be daycare or a "mom's day out" type of thing.

    I think that once your child is of an age where it's socially expected that he'd be enrolled in a preschool program, there's no reason NOT to consider that child as homeschooled.

  2. In this urban area, the age at which we lost all our extended neighborhood friends was the summer everyone turned 3. After that, other than occasionally running into them at the park, our whole little social playgroup broke up as every single kid except mine started school at age 3. It was not a huge deal, but I suddenly felt like a bit of a dope for having invested a bunch of time in fostering relationships for me and the kids that clearly weren’t meant to be by circumstances. The first time someone joined our preschool homeschool group with an infant I admit I sort of rolled my eyes, but then I realized how smart that actually was. That mom knew that the people who they would most likely maintain their connections with were other homeschoolers – even from infancy. So in that sense, I do think even babies are part of the homeschool community.

  3. Farrar: Your comment above rings so true for me.I belong to a very small home school playgroup that meets once a week for either play dates or field trips. I find that home schooling in general can be placed in so many sub groups. IE: Religious reasons, not a fan of the public school system, etc. That when us home schoolers, find that connection, we hold on to it. I have been in a few play groups where I was the “odd one” because of the choices I make as a parent. I too home school my preschool, if only to make him feel part of the experience. He looks up so much to his big sister, I wouldn’t have it any other way.

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