“When did you start homeschooling?”
“Well, my daughter’s only three, so I’m not sure it really counts yet.”
I’ve heard this conversation many times since I began the homeschooling journey a few years ago.
In fact, I even attended my first homeschooling conference when my boys were both two-years-old–somehow I felt like it wasn’t completely legitimate for me to be there. But I couldn’t wait to learn and I felt I had the perfect opportunity–a couple of years before my kids reached school age to devote to reading and research.
Looking back, I believe those years of research made all the difference to my confidence as a home educator.
So what exactly is your preschooler learning at home, whether or not you’re formally schooling?
Consider these three foundational areas.
Many educational philosophies agree that secure family relationships provide the support system for further education and academic advancement.
The Thomas Jefferson Education method refers to this period as “Core Phase,” which occurs from birth until around age eight. The curriculum for core phase is nothing more than learning right and wrong, true and false, work and play–all within the security of the family unit.
It’s been proven that children with multiple family risk factors struggle more when trying to develop reading and math skills than children from a secure family background.
So the years we spend investing in our little ones matter.
2. The Natural World
Photo by Tiffany Washko
So much world is out there to explore that very little “schooling” needs to happen during the preschool years. Letting the outdoors be the bulk of a preschooler’s curriculum gives him the necessary hours to enjoy his natural curiosity.
In his bestselling book Last Child in the Woods, Richard Louv states that time spent outdoors leads to lower rates of attention deficit disorder in children, and higher levels of creative, healthy development.
This week presents a perfect time to renew your focus on nature–as both TV Turnoff Week and Earth Day approach. Tune into Simple Organic for ideas to celebrate the outdoors with the little people you love.
3. Academic Foundations
Photo by kaylhew
We can’t underestimate the wealth of natural learning our preschoolers acquire all day long. It may seem basic to us, but it sets them much further ahead of the game than children who don’t have those basics covered.
A multitude of scientific research confirms this fact. In The Read-Aloud Handbook, author Jim Trelease states that there’s a high correlation between the amount of printed reading material in a child’s home and the child’s scores in reading and math.
And consider these statistics–the Early Childhood Longitudinal Study found that of kindergarten-aged children who were read to at least three times a week:
76% had mastered the letter-sound relationship at the beginning of words, compared to 64% of children who were read to fewer than 3 times a week,
57% had mastered the letter-sound relationship at the end of words, compared to 43% who were read to fewer than 3 times a week,
15% had sight-word recognition skills, compared to 8% who were read to fewer than 3 times a week, and
5% could understand words in context, compared to 2% who were read to fewer than 3 times a week.
It also found that children who were read to at least three times a week by a family member were almost twice as likely to score in the top 25% in reading than children who were read to less than 3 times a week.
So here’s what I’m trying to say to you parents who feel as though you’re not quite legitimate homeschoolers yet–
And the next time someone asks when you started homeschooling, maybe you’ll choose to answer as I do.
What’s the most amazing thing your preschooler has learned recently?