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Homeschooling: Preschool

On this page:

Opinion
Research
Marketing preschool to parents
Universal Preschool
Books
Catalogs and Magazines
Websites
Toy Suggestions
Kids and Computers
Department of Astonishment



Opinion

Many mothers on homeschooling email lists ask for advice on preschool homeschooling.  My advice is invariably to let the children play.  Although your child is the oldest he has ever been, and time seems to flying away, there are still years left for him to practice formal schooling, if that is what develops. 

Handwriting can wait.  What do small children know about that needs to be written?   Small motor muscle movements are still developing, and some children haven't even yet learned to run with much coordination.  If running, or throwing, or jumping are still movements needing more control than the child has, why expect him to be able to manipulate a pencil so that the result is 'legible?'  Coloring books may be most useful for the development of small motor control.  The lines of the picture give boundaries, but the area to be colored allows large movements. 

Read-aloud stories are good for young children.  They hear the language spoken grammatically, and they connect the sense of words with the arbitrary marks they see on paper.  To a young child ABCDEFG makes as much sense to them as Chinese would to me.  The stories also feed the imagination, and may give the children inspiration for drawings or for imaginative play.

Physical movement is important for children.  Researchers have connected physical movement to proper physical development.  The traditional 'work' of young children is running, jumping, climbing, crawling, dancing and rolling.  The 'preschool classroom' is a playground.

Get music.  Lots of music.

Buy toys that aren't already 'done.'  Blocks are a good example.  Children can take blocks, and make all sorts of things out of them:  houses, raceways and sailboats are a few of the constructions I've had in my living room.  Cardboard boxes are another good toy, or laundry baskets; both make good ships.  The ships can turn into forts or caves with the addition of a blanket.  Tricycles are useful, as are wagons.  Sidewalks and chalk are good toys for encouraging writing.  Children who balk at pencil and paper may well scribble up an entire driveway.  Trees are handy toys because they are so big the child can't lose them, and Mom doesn't have to put them away.  Trees can be lain under, leaned on, have a swing dangling from a sturdy branch, and they inspire dreams of climbing.  From some you can even get apples.  Definitely get trees.  And bushes:  they make great hideouts.  (Disclaimer:  if you get a tree, keep an eye on the children.  I am not responsible for anyone falling out.)

What to do for 'preschool?'  Let the children play.


Research

Assessing Proposals for Preschool and Kindergarten:  Essential Information for Parents, Taxpayers and Policymakers, Darcy Olsen and Lisa Snell

Much Too Early! by David Elkind, Ph.D.

Brain development, By Bruce Murray, FACSNET Managing Editor

The writings of Dr. Raymond Moore of the Moore Foundation

TV and Our Children's Minds by Susan R. Johnson, MD


Marketing preschool to parents

Focus Group Results Report: Communications Strategies for Advocates of Early Childhood Education
For more information on how education is marketed to parents, read the Caveat Emptor page on this site.


Universal Preschool

Down with U.P. -- The Universe is Our Preschool

"East, West, Home's Best" blog entry with link to UK study looking at the differences between children raised by a parent, and those raised in daycare


Books

Books for very young children
Books for little children

(books from the UK are easily paid for with a credit card)
All Year Round
Festivals, Family and Food
Fundamentals of Homeschooling 
Home Learning Year by Year
Slow and Steady, Get Me Ready
The First Year of Homeschooling Your Child: Your Complete Guide to Getting Off to the Right Start
The Games We Played: A Celebration of Childhood and Imagination
The Ultimate Book of Homeschooling Ideas: 500+ Fun and Creative Learning Activities for Kids Ages 3-12

art books for young children by MaryAnn F. Kohl
art books for young children by Lucy Micklethwait


Catalogs and Magazines

Babybug magazine 
HearthSong
Highlights for Children 
Ladybug magazine 
Magic Cabin
Michael Olaf (Montessori catalogs: Joyful Child and Child of the World)
Nova Natural Toys and Crafts
Toys to Grow On
Waldorf Supplies


Websites

Best of Homeschooling
Preschool and Kindergarten Learning Activities: Articles with suggestions and Links to websites with lots of fun learning activities perfect for young children!
Reading Readiness hints from Mr. Rogers
Children are encouraged to listen carefully and look at things closely – skills they’ll need for distinguishing between sounds and recognizing alphabet letters.
Universal Preschool
"Reading" pictures in a book (talking about the pictures or telling a story from them) draws children into books even before they’re able to read words.

Being able to "read" symbols and sign language give children experience at decoding, which will help them understand that alphabet letters are symbols for sounds and words.

 


Toy suggestions

animals, stuffed and plastic 
balls 
beanbags  (easily made using scrap cloth and dried beans) 
blocks  
blunt scissors 
books
boxes
broom and dustpan  
'button & zipper' cloth books
cards (for playing Memory or Concentration)
crayons and paper
coloring pages from Jan Brett 
dishes for dolls and tea parties 
doll furniture
dollhouse and doll equipment and appropriate accessories 
drawing easel and materials 
hammering toys  (and earplugs for parents) 
homemade paste (scroll down a bit to the recipe for making past to go into big pots for pasting lots of things together)
homemade play dough 
housekeeping implements, such as toy iron, ironing board, wash tub (see Montessori suppliers or the Magic Cabin catalog) 
instruments (try Music for Little People)
Lego/Duplo blocks 
Mr. and Mrs. Potato Head
music by Hap Palmer
playground  
punching bag 
puzzles  
sailboats
sewing boards using yarn 
shopping implements, such as toy cash register, pretend grocery items & food
song lyrics
step-stool 
swingset   
table for a child and child-sized chairs 
toy telephone   
tricycle   
wading pool  (appropriately supervised) 
wagon   
watercolors and paper 
wooden tools and hardware 
wooden train set 
wooden trucks and cars


Kids and computers 
Contrarian finding: Computers are a drag on learning


From England 
Comparison of home- and school-educated children on PIPS baseline assessments

Abstract:
This article reports on the performance of reception-aged, home-educated children. Media reports tend to focus on older home-educated children withdrawing from school
but very little is known about younger children many of whom have never been to school. This research sought insight into the learning experience of these young children. The study involved 35 home-educated children aged between four and five years of age, from diverse socio-economic backgrounds. The children were assessed using the
Performance Indicators in Primary Schools (Start and End of Reception). Whilst the home-educated children outscored their school counterparts, those from lower socio-economic groups outperformed their middle class peers. It appeared that a flexible approach to education, and a high level of parental attention and commitment, regardless of their socioeconomic group and level of education, seemed the most important factors in the children’s development and progress.
 

". . . Very little is known about younger children who have never been to school." 

This researcher merely needs to broaden her scope as to who to ask.  A good friend who was a kindergarten teacher nearing retirement once commented that she could always see the difference between the children in her class who had been in preschool and daycare, and those who had not.  The children who'd been raised at home, meaning they'd not spent their toddler-hoods, and their time before entering kindergarten, in a mass-care situation, looked to the teacher and other adults for leadership and control.  The children who'd been entrusted to mass-care looked to each other.  My friend's observation made an impression on me, and when I was asked to do a workshop for a conference held in Mannheim by the Association of Young Children - Europe, I used her observation as my theme.

The generation of teachers who taught the 'cohort' of children in primary school during the change from mostly-hand-raised-kids to mostly-serially-parented-kids might be a valuable resource for researchers.  And the researchers had better hurry up before those people are lost to us just as the pool of children brought up without television is lost.

Home child?


 

 



 

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The Military Homeschooler is a private web site and is not affiliated with the US government or the DoD.  The opinions stated on the site are those of the site owner and the content is provided for information only. The Military Homeschooler  contains links to other Web sites. These other sites are not under the control of The Military Homeschooler and The Military Homeschooler is not responsible for the contents of any other site. The Military Homeschooler  provides the links only as a convenience to this site's readers, and the inclusion of any link does not imply endorsement by The Military Homeschooler of the site.   You are responsible for your own viewing and any dealings with other sites.

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This site was last updated:  Wednesday, 10 March 2010