Thursday, July 19, 2007

What To Do With Preschoolers

I'm doing an easy post today---reprinting an email---because our half-price eBook sale is keeping us so busy! :)

A reader asks what to do with her preschooler, with whom she already does two hours a day of online educational games. She's also thinking of homeschooling him in the future and is having a hard time sorting through the huge amount of info she's finding online. Here's my response:

How much fun you must be having with your little guy! I remember those days very well.....now that my four are 14-23 (only two live at home now), I'm so glad I was home making memories with them for all those years.

Researching homeschooling can be quite overwhelming. There is just so much information out there. I know you're eager to keep his mind challenged, and that's understandable. But I want to caution you to take your time and not think too far ahead. Try to enjoy these years without the pressure of programs, classes and educational activities. God has created our little people to be great learners without those things.

I'm not saying you shouldn't work with him online. That's time the two of you are spending together, and as long as he's having fun, that's good. But make sure he gets ample time to explore the world around him. Lots of fresh air and free play is what he needs most at this age.

There is a wonderful article by Beverly Krueger that I usually recommend to moms of little ones. I think you'll find lots of ideas in it and also food for thought:

http://eho.org/homeschool_prep/article.asp?articleid=33&resourceid=208

The site that it came from, "EHO Lite," is a good one for surfing around if you're just beginning to contemplate homeschooling.

I also recommend books like Home Grown Kids by Dr. Raymond and Dorothy Moore. I have been greatly influenced by their work since I first read that book nearly 25 years ago. Here's an article outlining their theories:

http://www.moorefoundation.com/article.php?id=3

Those links should give you plenty to think about for now. I don't want to pressure you about homeschooling, but I have to tell you that it's been a great blessing for our family, and that we're very grateful that God led us to this lifestyle.

Sincerely,
Barb

PS I have a free homeschooling newsletter you can subscribe to, and a book (currently an eBook, and coming out soon in print) with lots of homeschool how-to's. You can find them here:

http://www.cardamompublishers.com/imperfect-homeschooler.htm

3 comments:

Janet said...

I'm all for pre-schoolers just PLAYING! :-) Especially outside,and games. It's so much fun, and they learn too! Plus, reading to them is the best learning you can give them!

klh said...

I agree that pre-schoolers shouldn't be pushed "academically." But I also think there is a middle ground between absolute nothing but free play and preparing them for the SAT. There are ways to teach toddlers toddler-style things that toddlers are programmed to learn at this stage. Like, you can try to teach your 9 year old Spanish, but she will never learn it as quickly or as well as your 2 year old. That doesn't mean push Spanish text books on your 2 year old and enroll her in a Spanish class and inundate her with store-bought Spanish products. But you can play a Spanish CD you find at the library in the background, learn some Spanish phrases and use them, and things like that. I think we do toddlers a great injustice when we follow the patterns of the world, which say that kids are not ready to learn until they are old enough to sit still and be quiet, and that doesn't happen until they are 5 or so. My 20 month old is EAGER to learn ANYTHING I put in front of her, and she LOVES "school" time.

Barbara Frank said...

I'm with you, Janet :)

KLH, you make a good point. You also sound like you're a lot more relaxed about teaching your little one than some of the moms of preschoolers I meet. For example, I have a feeling you don't park your daughter in front of a computer for hours on end. Am I right?