Bubby would be classified as a preschooler by most people. If he were going through the public school system, he would not be considered old enough for Kindergarten, so I usually tell people he is a preschooler. I could use the term "Pre-K," since our local school district has a little two-hour Pre-K program. However, though we homeschool the older children, we have no formal preschool program at our house. No preschool workbooks, no preschool writing lessons, no preschool reading lessons. I do not drill him on his shapes, colors, or letters. I don't coach him daily on his letter sounds, or sit him down to talk about opposites, animals, or community helpers.
So what do we do? How is he going to learn all the things he needs to know for school? Isn't he going to be behind other kids his age? What will he do without the specialized knowledge he would gain from a two-hour-a-day or longer preschool program?
I'm going to share something that might cause some raised eyebrows. A normal child, living in a decent home, supervised and exposed to daily life and not deprived of adult interaction, does not need preschool. Yes, that's the truth. There is nothing that he can learn at preschool that he cannot learn in the safe and more natural home environment.
I do understand that preschool is a good option for child care. If you are not able to be at home with your child during the years from age three to age five, feel free to take them to preschool. But if you can be home with them, they do not need any professional intervention. You can give them a better real-life preschool education and have them completely ready for school by keeping them home and letting them experience life in a more natural, realistic setting. It need not cost money, and you shouldn't need to carve out a lot of additional time for planning and implementing your child's education. If you have time to prepare meals, do household chores, and make trips to the library, you have the time to educate your preschooler.
It is not wrong to send your child to preschool. If you feel like you need to or just want to, that is a decision you must make. You do need to do your research, however.
In the next few posts, I plan to give some ideas for a good preschool education at home, along with some important reasons for skipping the handwriting altogether. Here is a website for some great information on how people are doing without formal preschool, along with some interesting research: Universal Preschool.com.