Deciding to homeschool your preschooler can be a huge decision. If you’re on the fence, consider these benefits.
Preschool Is Expensive
This is probably the biggest reason I see families decide to preschool their littlest members. Depending on your area, preschool tuition can be upwards of $9,000 per year! And if you have more than one child, as soon as the first one graduates, you’re bound to have another one right behind.
There are lots of free preschool initiatives around the country and many are doing great things, especially for low-income and poverty-level families. In our area, there is a program for families who can’t afford a traditional preschool, but the income band is so minimal that of all the families I know who have at least one employed parent, they actually make too much to qualify. And yet there is no way to afford that $800 per month price tag. And there is no in between option out there.
Preschools Can Be Overly Rigorous
“Preschool is the new Kindergarten!” I keep hearing this epithet and cringe. As more pressure is placed on our youngest students to excel, the expectation to read and add and get along earlier and earlier becomes more accepted. Often to the detriment of the child and in developmentally inappropriate ways.
Expecting a four year-old to demonstrate concept of word and letter naming goes beyond what is necessary at this age. One thing parents and scholars do seem to understand is that reading aloud to your young children is of utmost importance and should be the primary focus before entering kindergarten.
Your Child Has Different Needs
Perhaps your child is dealing with certain delays, or conversely, is more advanced than peers of their own age. Either end of the spectrum can be challenging for attending a traditional preschool, either emotionally or physically.
When Venti was a wee one, he quickly gained a phonemic awareness I had not expected. “Help! I wasn’t ready! He needs easy readers NOW!” I remember posting on various facebook groups and reddit boards. He shocked me with his ability to grasp number concepts and piece together words with almost no guidance from me. By the time he hit preschool age, Venti was what I would consider a solid early reader and likely would have been frustrated with the “baby games” his classmates were playing to just begin learning letter sounds.
At the same time, he was born right on the cusp of the school year – he would have been one of the youngest students in his class and less mature. An introvert at heart, it hasn’t been hard for Venti to make friends, but he has tended towards keeping only one or two close friends. Sending him to preschool at 49 months old would have been much more challenging for him than perhaps for his 54 months old friends. (I know, I know, we’re talking a handful of months here, but a LOT happens in that time span!)
You Aren’t In Love With The Whole “School” Brand
Many people choose to homeschool for religious reasons. Some prefer homeschool because they feel they are better able to handle the complex moral and ethical lessons implicitly being taught in schools. Tragically, some parents don’t feel sending their child out into the world is safe. (I was both terrified and relieved the day I learned Venti had his first active shooter drill in public kindergarten.) Many families feel the government’s hand has too strong a grip on schools systems, both public and private.
Perhaps all or none of these reasons are justified, but if given the choice, I think we would all like to ensure our children are getting a valuable education, regardless of who is leading it. In many cases, parents feel it’s just easier / safer / better this way.
You’d Like to Actually Spend Time Together
It isn’t long before the kids are grown and on to their own lives, and while parenting doesn’t just end at 18 years and one day, the window of time we have to shape them, to help them grow into functioning humans, seems incredibly short. Homeschooling is another way to coax your children into who they were meant to become without interruption. School days are incredibly time consuming- they come home and are off to bed in four short hours. How do you pack a day’s worth of quality time into those brief evenings?
Of course, none of this is to say that parents who choose not to homeschool their preschooler (or who don’t have the option) are missing out. Your child can receive a valuable education in any number of ways, but if given the opportunity to do what you feel is best for your child, in this moment of his life, wouldn’t you like to take it?
Ready to get started? Come on over to see everything you need to get started homeschooling the early years.