If it's an option for one of the parental units to stay home with the kids, you should consider skipping sending your younger kids to preschool.
We had a few reasons for doing this:
- He was sick far more than he was healthy. He'd get better for a week and then be sick again.
- It was heartbreaking to get him up and ready for school so early in the mornings. Both my husband I worked full time and we had to rush to get him to preschool. It was a fight and added so much stress to our lives. We felt he was missing out on his childhood a lot and just getting to play.
- He was having some behavioural issues so we felt he needed more attention from a parent.
- I was missing out on so much of my kids' lives being away from them so much.
When I told people that I was quitting my job and that we were doing this, they were all either in awe or thought I was crazy. But the one thing they could all agree on was that spending this time with my kids would not be something I would regret.
There are 6 milestones that I need to make sure he reaches to be ready for school:
- Pencil grip: This doesn't need to be perfect as it's only established properly at 10 years old.
- Shape recognition: It's the basis for a lot of mathematical concepts as well as helping your children read.
- Auditory analysis and synthesis: How the brain perceives what it hears. This comes in to play when putting sounds together when learning to read.
- Emotional readiness: Being responsible enough to do work if he's not interested in it, can he tell the teacher when something is wrong, rather than sit with it, can your child tell when something is a big deal or not and conflict resolution.
- Classification: The ability to group things, for example, that dogs, cats, fish and hamsters are all pets.
- Bilateral integration: Simply meaning, is your child able to cross over his midline.
To be honest I felt pretty confident that I could teach him all of these things given the time and opportunity.
There are tons of preschool curricula available online but I knew that I wanted the curriculum I chose to be play-based, not have a lot of preparation and most of all, be fun! I did a lot of research and explored so many curricula before settling on one that was good for us and not too expensive. All in all, getting the curriculum and buying the supplies we needed came to about 1 month's worth of his preschool fees.
You don't need a lot to teach your preschooler because they're still learning really basic concepts and all of these things can be taught just doing everyday chores and using things you probably already have at home.
I'm also able to teach him life skills that seem simple to us but are pretty important like cutting apples, cleaning himself after using the toilet, making himself a sandwich, making his bed etc. It's also fun to find lessons in everything we do keeping in mind the six milestones I want him to achieve.
What about socialisation?
A big thing I was worried about was socialisation and him missing out on playing and interacting with other kids. So there are a few things I make sure we do every week.
I use the Adventure Clubs app to sign him up for fun activities and sports. Gymnastics is a favourite for him so we go to that often. This helps with his gross motor skills as well as his bilateral integration.
I also join my sister-in-law some days a week. She is also homeschooling her kids so it's good for him to sit and do things with other kids. This also helps with his emotional development.
We are also signing up for a few extra murals in the new year so that he can develop some friendships because I feel like this is an important building block in his development.
Obviously it's not all sunshine and roses. We all have to get used to our new normal and we're adjusting to new routines. But it's the best thing we could have done.
Are you teaching your preschoolers at home? Send your tips and stories to firstname.lastname@example.org and we could publish them.
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