“Mama, can I do my school?”
My 3-year-old daughter made her way to me at the kitchen table where I was going over a phonics lesson with her older brother, carrying her grocery store ABC coloring book and crayon set, carefully tripping along in my high heels that she’d pulled over her chubby feet. We looked through a few pages together that she painstakingly marked with her favorite pink and purple crayons, face serious and tongue half out, before she lost interest and scampered away to play dress up with the very tolerant 1-year-old sister.
School for her was fun, a quick few minutes here or there, usually initiated by her. Little did she know I was educating her most of the day through regular life, walks and play outside, and reading picture books.
Preschoolers are smart! And sometimes, we ambitious parents are quick to think that, since our preschooler is constantly learning and growing and changing every day, it’s time to get on with it already and start real school.
Google “how to homeschool preschoolers,” and you’ll be met with lists upon lists of what your preschooler ought to be doing. And sure, there are a few things you’ll want them to pick up at this age, like learning to hold a pencil, basic letter sounds and counting, and writing their name. But dig deeper and you’ll find more suggestions: what I call “busy work curriculum” or even entire preschool programs done wholly on screens. Ugh.
While a worksheet or computer will have an appeal for a time (and actually, more appeal the less you use them, not more!), I can just see the light of wonder leaving your little one’s eyes when faced with such a program. Can’t you?
In my opinion as a mom of four homeschooled graduates, worksheets and busy work are not the best way for kids this age to learn and, more importantly, retain information. I propose two avenues instead: real life and real books.