Try to stop a preschooler learning – you can’t. Everything they do is about exploring, trying things, asking questions, pushing their (and sometimes our) limits. Watching a pre-schooler is seeing home education in action. And seeing how organically and fast they learn is confirmation that home education can work for your child.
The best thing you can do for your child is to continue with what you have done for their whole lives – scaffolding their learning, being there to answer their questions and supporting them as they explore. There’s no need to introduce formal learning, but it’s never too early to expand your child’s world. Learn about faraway places from picture books, experiment with kitchen ingredients or practice rhythm and beat with home-made instruments.
Providing access to writing and art materials, spending time reading together, explaining the world around them, encouraging fine and gross motor skills and playing number games will lay the foundation for academic learning when your child is ready.
Each child progresses at their own rate, and home education works as well for those who are ready to progress speedily as well as for those who need a slower pace. Instead of the expectation to conform to a norm, home educated ‘littles’ have an environment that, like Baby Bear’s bed, is just right.
Some people find that kinder works well with home education, particularly to give parents time to spend with older children or on other important areas. Others find the push towards school readiness makes them uncomfortable. Children don’t need to go to kinder to learn social skills, most things can be learnt at home or at other groups. Music classes, baby sign, library story time and kinder gym are great for activities and making friends, but sometimes mentioning that you intend to home educate can cause friction. That’s one reason why also finding a home ed group to connect with, in real life or online, can be so important. Some local groups encourage preschoolers, but other groups are for school age children (and possibly their siblings). There are specific ‘littles’ groups listed on this website, and it’s also common for parents to join local Facebook pages, introduce themselves and then connect with others who would like to meet for a playdate.
So enjoy this time with your little person, watching them learn and grow because, as everyone tells you, time really will fly. Take lots of photos and videos to help you remember this special time, and be confident in your choice – educate your child, your way.