Saturday, June 16, 2007

Should I homeschool at 4.

"I pledge allegiance... to the band... of Mr. Schneebly... and will not fight him... for creative control... and will defer to him on all issues related to the musical direction of the band."  

“How’s your stomach?  It’s a little better.  [starts pacing] If you’re going to float an air biscuit, let me know, okay? ”-Weird Science

For all of you sahm I have a question.  Sweet Pea is 4 and we won't be sending her to pre-school because it costs a lot, so my question is do any of you school your children who are home with you at this age?  I have found a lot of websites that you give you great ideas for teaching your toddlers at home and even links to print out pages.   

If I do this it does not mean I will be homeschooling her forever because I don't have to many problems public schools, plus I honestly don't think I have the patience for it-which is probably why I haven't had a school atmosphere at home.  But with the way the public school system is if something doesn't change we may have to cough money for a private school or just teach them at home.  But ultimatetly I think children should go to school and learn how to socially adapt to others.  I guess what I'm wondering is how behind will she be if I don't have school time here at home.  Hopefully I make sense to all of you-and I will really, really, really appreciate your input on this subject.  Thanks again!


MGM said...

I homeschool my daughter. We're through with pre-school and she has started kindergarten curriculum. She would have absolutely no academic challenge if she were to attend public shool. She's just always been advanced like that. I teach her at her own pace and let her lead at this stage. I don't push it, but she LOVES to learn and loves to do "school." She will be 4 in August and in our school district she would not even make cut off for kindergarten in another year. That means she would be 6 before starting kindergarten. I can't waste her love of learning for that long. She will be ready for 1st grade for sure and maybe beyond by the time she is 6--unless she slows down a bit.

I am not going to push the homeschool thing if she hits an age where she really wants to go to public school. We have good public schools here, but I also don't want her to have a bunch of c-r-a-p indoctrinated into her head that I don't agree with, or at minimum not be allowed to believe consistent with our faith and find herself in a hostile environment in public school.

I am sooooo not worried about the socialization thing. Truth is, studies show homeschooled kids are better socialized because they interact with a lot more adults and learn to socialize appropriate to what you want her to learn...not to hit, shove, call names, and those kinds of things. I am not at all a believer that kids should go to school and learn how to socially adapt to a typically unhealthy environment where kids are not provided enough individual attention and their social and emotional needs tend to be neglected rather than nurtured. I don't need my daughter to be learning those things.

We will join a co-op by next year where one day a week we will get together with lots of other kids and parents for fine arts, science, and field trips. There are many community opportunities for getting involved in sports and stuff.

I'm not saying public school or formal schooling is wrong. It's the right choice for many, and may be the right choice for us some day. For now, I know I can better provide for my daughter's needs.

You can also "teach" her in so many natural and informal ways in the meantime, which I am sure you are already doing without realizing it. All it may take for the present is putting more intention behind it. For example, we just recently did a 20 minute science lesson about how seeds sprout and become plants. We had some reading and pictures about it, then a worksheet and then planted a bean in a jar and watched it root and sprout. She had a blast and it was no more work than any kind of "play." In fact, at our houses, learning looks a whole lot like playing, and we just have fun. I do read alouds with daughter all the time as we read together naturally. If I can't make time during the day, I do the reading at night before bed with her just like bedtime stories, which we've done since Daughter was about 6 weeks old.

You really could probably do a lot more than you think. I do all this while working part time outside the home. We did a 32 week preschool curriculum in 25 weeks (I was following the pace of my daughter's lead, not pushing her at all). We have slowed down a bit with kindergarten as some of it is more challenging for her.

Good luck as you work through your decision on this!

Jesse said...

MGM-Thank you for leaving me a comment and you're right I don't want her to adapt to poor behaviors. You left me a lot of great points and I was wondering what type of pre-school curriculum you used.

chris said...

Alex went to preschool for 2 years before Kindergarten. At that point I did not have the patience to teach him and because he was an only child I wanted him to have the extra friends and socialization. He attended our local YMCA and we qualified for a discounted rate. They had a GREAT system.

Liberty did attend one year of pre-school and 2 months of this past fall. But I pulled her after that simply due to the cost combined with what she was learning. She missed kindergarten last fall by 4 days. Seriously. 4 days. And I was paying $95/month so that 3 days a week she spent 2.5 hours singing songs, washing her hands, making a craft, and having snack time. It wasn't worth it.

I did start homeschooling her then (I was home schooled through 7th grade) and it's been a great experience. She does miss her friends and the socialization (we live in the country so no neighbor kids) but we put her in soccer, t-ball, and library reading hour to help combat that. I do not use any strict curriculum. There are MANY great and VERY affordable books out there. Barnes and Nobles and Borders are FILLED with books for teaching kids different skills. At 4 Sweet Pea should be learning her name, uppercase and lowercase letters, address, shapes, numbers, scissor skills, etc. Usually letter sounds and so on are taught the 2nd year.

The best thing advice I have is to remember this is all about fun right now. They don't HAVE to have preschool to be successful in school. Some days she won't feel like doing a work book page, but she will want to do a craft..this obviously building her scissor skills. Let her set her own pace, encourage her but don't be frustrated if she doesn't seem interested. Games as simple as 'Hi Ho Cherry O' teaching counting and math.

Liberty is 5 and can (in all honestly) complete any addition or subtraction problem that has an answer below 15. This means she could do most of Alex's addition and subtraction problem homework from 2nd grade!!

I have a couple of great sites I use to print out worksheets and themes and I will send them to ya if you'd like.

Liberty also LOVES the different Jump Start games for the computer and they have taught her a lot. Both my kids learned sooo much from them.

mamabright said...

first...I could kick myself for not knowing that quote...that used to be one of my favorite movies...and I could quote every line in the movie...

on to your homeschooling question...

I wasn't technically homeschooling my kids when they were preschool age...but as a mom...especially a have already been homeschooling your children since birth...

you've probably already taught sweet pea her colors...and you help her learn things like big/small, up/down, in/out...and counting and numbers and letters...

as she gets just means expanding on these things she has already learned...and preschool won't teach her anything you can't/won't...but sometimes it can provide some kids with more social exposure than they've had previously...but there are activities other than preschool that get kids involved with other kids...

if you want to "homeschool" your preschooler...find some fun games and toys that will help her learn more in a fun learn so much when they learn through play...and there are also tons of resources available online and through libraries...

blessings, mamabright :-)

Burg said...

We did the pre-school thing at home. There are loads and loads of resources on the internet from worksheets to craft ideas. We were blessed in that we won a transfer into a smaller rural school where words like "prayer" are encouraged as opposed to being treated like a curse word. She had a few problems knowing what to do when it was time to line up, or where to go on the playground, or things that any first time student would have problems with, but no trouble with school work at all.

Now, by the time my youngest becomes this age, pre-K might be a requirement, so I may not get to do the same thing. Of course, there's also the possibility I'll be begging to put her in school earlier!

MGM said...

I've been using Sonlight with my daughter and plan to use it with my son. You can Google it and fine their website easy. The preschool stuff was really mainly a whole bunch of read alouds, but most of them were great classics. They also include a great set of books called Developing the Early Learner, which you can buy separately or directly from the publisher or other places. It's a 4 book series thats helps develop a whole lot of skills that are claimed to help boost intelligence. My daughter loved them. Also was a shapes and opposite workbook, but Daughter already had all that covered. She did learn spheres and cuboids, though, which was beyond the shapes she'd already learned (she could identify and correctly label a pentagon and an octagon by 22 months).

The Sonlight website breaks down the whole curriculum so you know exactly what's in it. I pieced the whole thing together through ebay and and a local used store and spent about half the cost. I just did the same thing with the kindergarten curriculum and saved about half again. I love their literature based structure and the research they've done to put together the program, but it is expensive, and you can get a similar program of learning for less money. I just wanted a program to follow until I get better at knowing how to piece together curriculum on my own.

Tracy said...

Here's my two cents. I sent my girls to a pre-school like Chris had described where they went at 9am and I picked them up again at noon. During that time, they sang songs, ate a snack, learned to wash their hands and their snack dishes. On occasion they would do a craft or read a book. The rest of the time they spent playing. I figured they could do that at home so After the first year, I took them out. I found this website, I'll have to find it, where for $12 a month, you got a box in the mail that had a craft, a music tape, a reading book, and a workbook all age appropriate for each kid. After that we did everything from home.
We had considered homeschooling, private schools, and Catholic schools, but when we found out that they were so expensive (a year of Catholic school here is $3100 !) we decided to give the public system a try. I absolutely loved their kindergarten teacher and Carolines first. The only thing that you have to accept is that no matter what kind of discipline and values you teach them at home, for those 7 hours a day, they are hanging out with kids who may not have been taught those things. In Caroline's class this year, they had a little girl who threw 1-2 tantrums a day, where she would throw things, yell, scream, cry, hit other children, and run off down the hallways. She also brought a binky to school, sucked on her hair and her thumb. The first time Caroline threw a tantrum on me was this year and I went in to the schol Turns out there is not really anything they can do about it.
There was also a kid in her class who's father was a tattoo artist and he had given her two real tattoos. So you have to really enforce your values for the few hours in the evening when they're home. But as far as education goes, they both are excelling in the public system.
I used to think that when your kid turned a certain age, you had to do what the government said but it turns out you have a lot of choice. I request my kids teachers so that I know that their teacher will be the one who fits their personalities (if Caroline gets yelled at, she shuts down) and I volunteer at the school so that I know what's going on there.
My friend's mom is a school teacher and she told me "Your kids education will be as good as you make it." and it's true!

myminivanisfasterthanyours said...

I know a lot of people feel the general goal of preschool is to prepare your kids to start learning in kindergarten, more than it is about academics. Both of my kids are in a developmental preschool, meaning the focus is not on academics. So, like you, when it comes to the academic side of things we'll be doing a lot of that at home.

I'm going to try and find that program you speak of and those print outs. Good luck!

christine said...

I recently posted on preschool and the hype (or "freak out" factor, as I like to call it).

I have done it a little differently with all three of my kids. Usually, it involves some workbooks (we might do a few pages a day - other days, we don't touch them). I just found a big Going-Out-Of-Business sale at a BookStop and stocked up on a BUNCH of Kumon workbooks. I LOVE them, but this is my first time to buy, as they were more than I wanted to spend. In fact, my daughter is doing her first page in the "puzzle" book for 3's, 4's and 5's right now.

A great video that I utilize occasionally is The Letter Factory. It teaches phonics.

I also like to provide her with lots of free time to play and be creative!

Check out the Sonlight catalog for a list of great Read-Aloud books for preschoolers. Try to read something to your child on a fairly daily basis.j

Otherwise, just hang out, laugh, talk and answer your child's questions!