Homeschool Preschool: Pros and Cons
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What is Preschool??
Before we can get into the nitty-gritty of it we need to address what preschool really is.
Ideally, preschool is a program for children age 3-5 that lays the foundation for kindergarten. They are offering an educational experience, not just childcare. This may mean that they are closed during holidays and they might not work around a parent’s work schedule very well, however, a good daycare (which would stay open for longer hours and during many holidays) would have the same quality of education offered. I have worked in a Reggio Emilia styled daycare and it was definitely more than just a drop off place for children – it was a true learning environment.
So what is homeschool preschool?
Pretty simply, the idea of homeschool preschool is that you would offer the same learning experience but at home with your child. There are a lot of pros and cons to each choice, and what it comes down to is what works for YOUR family. Homeschool Preschool is what works for my family so it’s the route we will take. You might be in an entirely different situation though, so you need to take all these pros and cons into consideration to make the best choice for your child and family.
I always like the bad news first, so let’s look at the cons of homeschool preschool.
#1. You probably won’t be able to work outside the home
In most cases of homeschooling, you will find that one parent works outside the home and the other is with the children. They may work part-time or from home, however. This may not be the best financial situations for some families depending on their circumstances, and some parents really enjoy working outside the home.
#2. You’re not good at teaching
This is a stumbling block for many people, and maybe I should rate this as a myth instead of a con. A few things you should know – teaching children is a lot easier than you think. Pinterest and these (fictional) “Super Moms” can be kind of intimidating, but with the right resources, you can be a wonderful teacher for your child.
I’m an early childhood educator, and one of the reasons I chose to study ECE in college was for the sake of my future children. I also knew it would be a great asset as a missionary, and I really enjoy the work I do with children in Africa.
As for you, you can become a wonderful teacher for your children. I want what’s best for my child, and I know you do too. So this may be a con, but I think it’s something that can change over time if you give it a chance. Children are naturally learners, especially at the preschool age. You might not feel good at teaching but you’re probably a lot better than you think.
#3. You’re not interested in being a stay at home mom
I get it. I’m an introvert so the idea of working from home is delightful to me. Some people really need a social work environment to be able to thrive well. My best friend is also an introverted Christian, but pigs are going to fly before she ever does any kind of homeschooling. And I totally support her decision! Sometimes moms make too many sacrifices and end up being unhappy. I would much rather see a child in a mediocre public school with a happy parent, than doing homeschool with a parent who is unfulfilled and miserable.
Don’t let anyone let you believe that going to work makes you selfish. We all have our own battles and our own journey. I just encourage everyone to make intentional choices for their family’s benefit.
#4. Personal reasons x,y,z
Beyond these few cons I have listed, I am sure you have your other list of cons based on your personal situation. Maybe you live in a small apartment, or you have a disabled child who requires more of your energy, or maybe you are pregnant and just need a break. Don’t worry, I get it. Again, you just need to make the decision that is best for your family, and there is no shame in that.
Trigger goes here
Here are the pros for homeschool preschool. There are more reasons than this I am sure but this can give you a good idea of why homeschool preschool might be right for you.
#1. Control over your child’s education – for the better
This is a pretty standard benefit to homeschooling, not just for homeschool preschool. Choosing to educate at home means you get to choose what they learn – this also means you get to choose the pace. If your child learns one skill quickly but another skill needs more time you will be able to adjust accordingly. The idea here is that your child would be prepared for kindergarten (whether that be homeschool kindergarten or otherwise).
At this age we should be equipping our children with skills, not just trying to fill them up with useless (for their age) education. I’ve seen toddlers ramble off the days of the week perfectly, which impressed parents, but the children weren’t even old enough to understand the passing of time through days or weeks. So was memorizing this information a beneficial use of their time? Definitely not.
At a homeschool preschool you control the curriculum.
#2. Extremely small class size
Forget a room of 30 kids and one tired, and overworked teacher. If you choose to do homeschool preschool your class size will be very small, consisting of your own children and perhaps some others. It is true that small class sizes are a benefit at any age, even in universities! Your child’s needs will not get swept under the rug and you can give them your full attention.
The small class size also makes it easier to implement Gentle Parenting for your child, so their behaviours are addressed with positive discipline strategies.
#3. You get more time with your child
Did you go back to work in tears after having your baby?
One of my early childhood education professors told us how she dropped her baby off at daycare for the first time and sobbed the entire drive to her job. As I mentioned earlier, this is the right decision for some people, and I support that. For others, they know that they will be happier and more fulfilled to have that extra time with their child, and so homeschool preschool is a perfect fit for them.
There are a lot of different parenting strategies out there and for some people it is a better fit to stay at home with their children. Doing homeschool preschool, or any form of homeschooling, really gives a parent the opportunity to understand their child better and to form a special kind of relationship. (However, for some who might find teaching frustrating, having someone else do the teaching so you don’t have to could also be a benefit to the relationship with your child.)
#4. It’s Cheaper
If you’re looking for a quality preschool program you’re going to find that it is very expensive. Even childcare facilities that are very basic can be very expensive. Now depending on your job, it may be cheaper to stay home than to go to work with all the expenses of childcare, an extra car, etc. However, if you live in a place like Quebec, where childcare is much more reasonable, you may be able to place your child in a quality preschool program without it costing you an arm and a leg. Everyone’s situation is different, so if you are on the fence about homeschool preschool I would encourage you to find out the prices in your area.
Now some people may say the cost of a good homeschool preschool would also be very expensive, but I have to disagree on that. Children learn through play and I believe you can set up inexpensive learning environments for your young ones in your own home. If you have a clear understanding of child development, how to use open-ended materials and how to set up the environment to encourage learning, then you will be well on your way for a successful homeschool preschool.
#5. Personal reason x,y,z
There are a lot of other reasons why people choose to homeschool preschool and here is a quick list. Can you relate to any of these reasons?
- You already want to homeschool
- There are no good preschools in your area
- Your child is too young to start preschool but is interested in more learning
- It wouldn’t work with your schedules for drop off and pick up (perhaps especially for a one car family)
- There are no adequate programs for children with special needs in your area
- You enjoy watching children learn and grow
- You want to offer a play based learning experience, instead of your child sitting at desk memorizing information.
You might have already started without realizing it
Once upon a time, there was an awesome woman named My Mom, and she did homeschool preschool before it was even a “thing.” We grew up in a rural area so she wasn’t going to take us to a preschool anyways, although she did take us to a play group at a community center nearby. It just made sense to her that we were ready to learn so she should teach us. She made our time before kindergarten intentional and benefical. She later went on to become a classroom teacher, and now she teaches children with visual imapirments, many who have special needs.
You too might already be doing this, and luckily for you, it’s not the 90s anymore and there are lots of resources online to get you started. If you’re looking for homeschool preschool activities I would recommend the Sandbox Academy.
Are you going to Homeschool Preschool?
So those are the pros and cons of homeschool preschool. I would suggest you can also ask other mommies why they chose to do this and if they like it and what their challenges are.
One thing I like to say about homeschool vs public/private school is that neither will be perfect and as parents we have to choose the battle we know we are capable of. Some families can take on the challenges of debunking information children hear at school that goes against God’s word and their families beliefs, and other families would rather take on the challenge of only one parent working. It’s your choice to make based on your family’s situation, so whatever you choose I hope that it will work for you.
If you’ve decided to do homeschool preschool then you might want some extra tools up your sleeve to give you the confidence you need to offer a high quality program. Grab the free kindergarten readiness checklist to help you on your journey.
The Moving Mama
Lizzy Mash is an experienced early childhood educator now living in Africa as a missionary working with children and families.
She teaches Christian moms how to take a more respectful and Christ-like approach to motherhood by using Gentle Parenting strategies.
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