I opted out of formal preschool. Instead of thinking, “We’ll start preschool now,” we did things together like reading books, watching beneficial children’s shows, singing songs, and playing games. We spent our days together— learning as we went.
Each of my children learned to count using Richard Scarry’s counting book. We added and subtracted when we cooked, and put things away. Instead of purchasing a preschool program or text book, the kids learned in a Montessori style.
“We need three eggs.”
“There are five stuffed animals in the living room, put three away. How many are left?”
Why rush formal education?
I created structure in the kids’ lives with things like meal times and bed time, but avoided a time for formal preschool. For instance, before going to the grocery store I used an idea from Sesame Street, a color and number of the day. Using a marker in the color of the day, I wrote the number on the back of their hand. At the store, they pointed out the color and number that matched what was on their hand. We also weighed food, talked about dollars and cents, and the kids took turns giving the deli staff our meat and cheese order.
At home, we played a shape matching game that also reinforced colors. They knew their numbers, the alphabet, colors, and shapes without feeling the pressure to learn.
We bought an abacus and toy cash register at a garage sale. I gave them real money to count and they loved using the cash register for several years. Read a variety of books, answer their millions of questions, and take them places with you. The curiosity of kids makes preschool a breeze.
My daughter started reading at four without any instruction from me. Of course, she hung around in the school room with her older brothers and picked up a lot from their lessons. However, no amount of preschool work was going to teach my oldest son to read. He had learning disabilities. When the time was right, he learned with a multi-sensory and sequential reading program. (Wilson Language Program) My other son learned to read at an average age and pace, using a common curriculum.
Homeschool gave us freedom to meet each child’s needs.
If your concerned you won’t hit all the educational markers, purchase a preschool workbook. Complete it along with reading and games, it will be enough. You will not need a lot of money to educate your kids, just time.
I’d love you to leave a comment about your preschool moments. What were your favorite activities?