The Brown Family Preschool, which has now closed its doors perhaps forever (wah!), had one governing rule: pay attention to the student! If he wanted to learn to read, we read. If he wanted to "do math" we did something with numbers. There were no requirements, no lists, no workbooks that had to be finished. You might say we unschool for preschool.
I am admittedly not a fan of early education in the sit-in-your-seat-and-write-stuff way. Being forced to sit still seems so counter to the design of a preschooler. If you have to use all of your resources to stay seated, what's left for learning new things?
I am however a huge advocate of child-led education in the formative years. If they expressed an interest I jumped on it.
This approach has worked well for us. Our daughter was reading fluently on her own at four. Our oldest was not really that interested in reading, and didn't read well independently until he was seven. At age twelve he read The Odyssey and Aeneid. Unabridged.
When they are ready, they are ready.
When I talk to new homeschoolers the number one anxious cry I hear is
What if we miss something?!
If this is your cry too, then let me set your mind at rest. You will miss something. Just like the public school down the road from you will, and the fancy private school in the nice part of town will.
And I'm not just talking about you missing the opportunity for your child to be terrorized by a bully, or them missing the sweetness of snuggling on the couch reading (though these losses are pretty likely too).
From a purely academic standpoint, in every environment, something will be missed. It's impossible to avoid. There just isn't enough time. I mean, you read Plato and you run out of time for Dante. It can happen! ;-) Seriously though, in God's amazing world we will never, never run out of things to learn. You will miss teaching your students something.
This is true no matter how old they are, but before kindergarten, it just seems downright silly to worry about missing something academically. So take a deep breath and let them play!
Here's the thing... God designed little brains to learn. To learn like crazy! The amount a child learns from birth to five boggles the mind. Just take language acquisition alone. No two year old goes to school to become proficient in their native language. They simply learn because that is what they were created to do.
Young children have no stigma associated with learning. They are excited about their world and they absorb new information and experiences like sponges. Surround them with books and an engaging life, with a healthy dose of outside time, and you may just end up with a child eager to sit down and figure out how to spell words all on his own...
|Do you think he drew a violin or a viola? :-)|