As I wrote a comment on her blog, it occurred to me what a privilege it is to be homeschool our preschoolers. Many women are not even at home during these special years; and of those who are, many don't take seriously the process of teaching, loving, and guiding these precious little people. Here's what I wrote to her, and what I'd recommend to any mom at home with preschoolers:
I remember being in a similar situation to yours. There are so many
questions when you are beginning to think about homeschooling. Fortunately, you
don’t have to decide right away. The best place for your son right now -
regardless of what some may say about how he needs preschool - is at home with
you, as you love him, care for him, and teach him. You have several more years
before you even have to begin the formal process of education, whether you
choose homeschooling or private school or some other option.
By the time my daughter was ready to begin kindergarten (and few states
even require that), I knew I could homeschool her - I had already taught her
more than she would have learned in preschool, just by remaining involved in her
life. She learned her shapes, colors, numbers, and letters - she learned to
count and to help cook and to figure out how many would be at the table if we
had our family and two guests. She learned to take care of a baby (by watching
me, not playing with baby dolls!), to enjoy an excellent story (by cuddling on
the couch, not sitting on a story carpet), to button and zip and snap her
clothes (by doing it, not having Mom finish in a rush and then imitating it on a
doll), to choose healthy foods (by going to the grocery store, not looking at a
food pyramid), to draw a pretty picture, and so many other things that would
have had to be simulated in preschool but could be done in real life at home
At this point, rather than answer all your questions about
homeschooling (which would make for a REALLY long post!), let me encourage you -
read about it, mix with other homeschoolers, and experiment with home
preschooling for a few years. Check out some homeschooling curricula so you
begin to get a feel for what you do and don’t like. Don’t get too formal about
it - just have fun and get to know your little guy, and guide him as you would
anyway. Go to the library together - and consider checking out books on a
particular subject each time (baby animals, firemen, the circus, sharks, the
mail, poetry, etc.). Play games and do fingerplays and read stories and bake
cookies and take care of a pet and do all the other things you can think of to
keep his life (and yours!) interesting and fun. And by the time you’re ready to
decide whether to homeschool or not, you’ll be so hooked on your little fellow
(and any future siblings) that you won’t be able to imagine sending him off to
school all day!
Here’s a really excellent homeschooling curriculum I used for many
years: http://www.sonlight.com. They have just put out a new, younger
preschool curriculum that’s perfect for beginning the process - in a year or so
when your son is ready, or even now if you think it’s time.
Have fun - you have a wonderful adventure ahead of you!
I forgot to add - take them for walks, especially to parks or other wild places if you have any available. Let them try "science experiments" - my younger daughter delighted in mixing soap and water or sand and water and seeing what happened. Let them play with bubbles and see what happens. Pray with them.
In the midst of the pressures of living with preschool children, hopefully this will be an encouragement. You don't have to do it all or know it all, and you don't have to decide on a schooling option today. All you have to do is be the best mom to preschoolers you know how to be. That way, whether you homeschool your kids all the way through high school, or send them to school at some point, you've given them a solid foundation for life.