Preschoolers: First Things First

I heartily endorse the message found here…an article titled Doctors urge more playtime for children. (Thanks go to MInTheGap for the link.)

We’re bombarded everywhere with programs for our preschoolers. Driven almost by fear that our children won’t measure up with their peers, we enroll them in all kinds of structured enrichment activities…bombarding them with academics before they’re even school age. And we homeschoolers are no different.

What skills do children need before Kindergarten? Honestly, I wonder which teachers would find more helpful…children who know their numbers, abc’s and the basics of reading, or children who have good listening skills, fine motor skills, and respect for authority?

It’s kind of like the philosophy: Spread the gospel in India and you’ll solve their hunger problems. (no more sacred cows=plenty of meat for all).

It’s SO important to teach your littles about God their Father, and His plan for their lives. It’s not just about reading Bible stories, it’s about applying them in real time…talking about the heroes of the Bible and how we can apply God’s truth in our everyday lives. Go for their hearts, not just their heads.

Attitude is key to getting a good education.  And teaching your children about God while they’re young, is key to them following Him all their lives. (Look at the Catholic church and how they take the first and most formative 7 years and with their religion classes produce lifelong commitment) As a homeschooling mother, believe me, you will be way ahead of the game if you spend the preschool years working on obedience, cheerfulness, and cooperation…

Well, you say, my 3&4’s are ready, they get whiney and bored without fun workbooks to accomplish, etc.  Excuse me? Whiney and bored? These are character issues that need to be dealt with, and not by thwacking another worksheet down on the table!

Let “kindergarten” be your “school readiness program”. Don’t get me wrong, I’m all for stimulating learning through environment and activities, just don’t steal that joy of childhood by starting too early on the regimentation of requiring this kind of “success” from your 3 and 4 year olds. (I’m picturing a parent sitting with a child for two hours at the table, trying to complete a ‘curriculum’ and getting frustrated with their squirming child. Please don’t make them feel stupid before they’re even six years old!)

Let them stress when they’re old enough to handle it. For now, let them play. Let them learn what they were created for. Teach the important stuff.

There’s plenty of time for the other.

P.S. For all you moms/dads who’ve made the decision to homeschool and are raring to jump in with both feet…wanting structure and achievement, why not spend this “waiting period” on enriching your own education? Your love of learning will spill over, and everyone will benefit from it.